Our Stories

Click portraits below to follow each individual’s journey.

Fereshteh Forough
Fereshteh Forough: Code to Inspire

Fereshteh Forough founded Code to Inspire to empower Afghan women with skills in technology and entrepreneurship — all from her laptop in New York City. Fereshteh Forough: “I was born in a small town at the border of Iran and Afghanistan. My greatest inspiration has been my mother, who would make dresses to support our […]

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Hailai Arghandiwal soccer player
Hailai Arghandiwal: Soccer Champion

Hailai Arghandiwal is the former captain of the Santa Clara Women’s Soccer Team, and current member of the Afghan Women’s National Team. I was born in Alameda, a nice town in the Bay Area in California. I am a first generation Afghan-American born to former refugee parents. My journey to finding my “why” in life […]

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Zara Raza
Zara Raza: My American Dream

Zara Raza is a 2018 MALA scholarship applicant. In her essay, she shares her vision of The American Dream, and what it has meant for her family of strong women.   In my opinion, I do not believe that the “American Dream” is simply about freedom and independence. There is a lot more to it […]

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Hanif Sufizada
Hanif Sufizada: Finding Stability Against the Odds

Hanif Sufizada shares his journey from poverty, war, and loss to earning a degree from Cornell — and then discovering that even an elite education is no guarantee of stability or employment. But through it all, he finds resilience in his Afghan heritage. I was born in Charbargh, a village in Laghman province in Afghanistan. […]

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Mohammad Hashim Pashtun
Mohammad Hashim Pashtun: Finding True Leadership

Mohammad Hashim Pashtun describes his journey from displacement to belonging — and back to displacement, and finally belonging again.   I was born in Kandahar city, but only 6 months later, our family migrated to Quetta, Pakistan, a small town with a substantial minority of Afghan refugees. As a refugees in Pakistan, my father made […]

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Ahmad Shah Mobariz passion for education
Ahmad Shah Mobariz: Harder than a Stone

In this story, Ahmad Shah Mobraiz shares his story of a childhood scarred by the Taliban, followed by a journey of resilience and a passion for education in the face of deep hardship and tragedy — a journey that was illuminated by his grandmother’s proverb. My grandmother would always tell us one proverb: “A man […]

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Amina Khan shares her journey to defining her Islamic identity in modern America.
Amina Khan: Finding Contentment in My Religious Identity

To spotlight and amplify Muslim American voices, join MALA’s campaign to elevate public dialogue on Muslim-American identity in the 21st Century. In the spirit of this inspiring episode and series, we asked you to share your story with us: what is it really like to be Muslim in America? Selected stories are shared by MALA and […]

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Izdihar Bailey
Izdihar Bailey: I Found the Best For Me

"I am a U.S. citizen, a registered voter, and an American Muslim. I’m a convert to Islam, from a military family, who now works in politics as a lobbyist - probably not what most people expect."

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Masoud Juya
Masoud Juya: A Life in Service to Humanity

"I think undertaking the Ph.D. program at this time in my life is the most significant strategic goal I am pursuing to serve human and humanity in the long run. Service to humanity is the only path that if you die on, you would never regret, regardless of what religion you believe in."

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Afrina Khan
Afrina Khan: Journey to Wholeness

Afrina Khan found her passion as a certified holistic health counselor. She trained in more than 100 different dietary theories, from all the new-age, raw food, and vegan movements to ancient traditions like Ayurveda and the work of Dr. Weston Price. She also trained in a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods such as stress […]

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Kiran Rasul on Ramadan
Kiran Ansari: Life Comes Full Circle with a Cyclical Ramadan

  Kiran Ansari shares her love for the varying Ramadan calendar.   I love how Ramadan comes at a different time each year. As Muslims follow the lunar calendar, Ramadan starts around ten days earlier every year. It may sound weird how this month-long holiday does not have a fixed date in our conventional Gregorian […]

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Vareesha Khan
Vareesha Khan: Bringing Different Worlds Together

"But really, being someone who moved around a lot, you had to be flexible, adaptable, and observant of the world around you and the things that change from one place to the next. Coming from that experience at a young age really defined my next steps in life."

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Hibaq Hassan
Hibaq Hassan: My American Journey

"My parents would remind me everyday about the significance of education and how fortunate I was to have the have the chance to explore educational opportunities."

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Aamir Hussain
Aamir Hussain: Shanti and Salaam

"I realized that my identity as an Indian Muslim made me a “cultural bridge” of sorts between the majority of Indians who are Hindu and American Muslims, who consist of a wide array of ethnic groups. I credit my parents for refusing to give into tribalism and religious paternalism, and encouraging me to respect and learn about other religions."

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Lina Mohammed
Lina Mohammed: A Muslim Ethiopian American’s Journey to Success

"I want to change the global perception on the media that Muslim and African American are oppressed, depressed, and repressed in society when it comes to having a voice."

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Somann Irani
Somann Irani: Giving it One Hundred and Ten Percent

"I am very happy and lucky to be able to find a career or a calling that is going to be able to give me financial success, but also that I really enjoy."

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News Updates


MALA Launches “Muslims in Tech” series

Chicago Tech Networking Events Will Connect Muslim American Professionals and Drive Meaningful Conversations In March 2018, MALA launched its “Muslims in Tech” conversation series in Chicago. Now, it’s a series, with the next conversation planned for July 31. Every quarter, MALA will convene a panel of leading Muslim American professionals in Chicago to share their […]

Jul 12, 2018

MALA Hosts Multi-City Series of Iftar Dinners

Ramadan 2018 was a busy time for MALA! We loved breaking fast with so many friends at so many Iftar tables. We kicked off our MALA Iftar series with a festive dinner meet-up on May 23 in Chicago. MALA friends and newcomers converged at the popular fast-casual destination I Dream of Falafel. Since Ramadan is a […]

Jun 15, 2018

Iftar Memories

This Ramadan, MALA hosted a series of Iftar parties in Chicago, Washington, DC, and New York City. We loved making new friends and breaking fast with old ones! MALA intern Farah Harb participated in our May 23 Iftar meet-up in Chicago and chatted with attendees about their favorite Iftar memories and traditions. As we finish the […]

Jun 12, 2018
twitttersMALA@MALANational