Our Stories

Click portraits below to follow each individual’s journey.

Tamim Majeed
Tamim Majeed: Hunger to Succeed

Tamim Majeed survived war and refugee camps; he pursued his education and nurtured his entrepreneurial spirit to move forward and find safety and opportunity for his family.   I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, once called “the Garden of Asia,” surrounded by small mountainous valleys on all sides. Kabul is lively city, where you don’t […]

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Murriam Hamid: Distorted Identity
Murriam Hamid: Distorted Identity

“My mother giving up her life and revolving it around mine set the expectation that I would one day do the same for my husband and children.” Murriam Hamid shares her journey to grasping her self-worth in “Distorted Identity: A difference between Religion and Culture.” They sat in despair as the doctor confirmed what they […]

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Mahjabeen Malik
Mahjabeen Malik: On Being a Single Muslim Woman

“I found Americans to be very supportive, very kind and very helpful. But discrimination exists no matter where you are.”

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Rohan D'Abreo
Rohan D’Abreo: Envisioning Success and Striving for Meaning

"I celebrated Ramadan, my Muslim friends would celebrate Christmas or Easter, someone else would celebrate Diwali. That was life. No one ever said oh you're different, or we're different, or oh we can't come to your house because you do things differently."

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Michelle Mekky
Michelle Mekky: Fear is What Holds Us Back

"We have two kids, they're named Adam and Hannah (both Biblical names that can be in Hebrew and Arabic) because we wanted them to obviously be cross-cultural names."

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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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News Updates


MALA Presents at the Oral History Association

On Oct. 13, MALA co-founder Zainab Zeb Khan will present at the Oral History Association’s Annual Conference. This year, the conference is convened in Montreal, Canada. Khan will discuss MALA’s project, Muslim American Journeys: In, Out, and Through., as part of a panel about “Oral Histories of Muslim Americans.” This groundbreaking project is building a unique collection […]

Oct 12, 2018

Meet the MC: Nazhah Khawaja

Nazhah Khawaja is the Women’s Editor for The Demureist, a digital magazine focused on lifestyle and culture. She will be MC for MALA’s Open Mic party in Chicago on September 29 – join us! We sat down with Nazhah and chatted with her ahead of the event to get to know her better.   Nazhah, what […]

Sep 27, 2018

MALA Launches Islamic Art series

Art Events in New York and Chicago Explore Cultural Traditions and Drive Meaningful Conversations In July 2018, MALA launched an ongoing series of seminars and other events centered around Islamic art. These events continue MALA’s exploration of the Muslim American journey. MALA’s inaugural event, conceptualized and led by MALA community members, was held in Chicago […]

Sep 13, 2018
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