Personal stories can be a powerful catalyst for change – challenging stereotypes, building bridges, and inspiring action. In a country as diverse and complex as the United States, the identities of Muslim Americans remain layered and contested. We all have stories to tell: stories that deserve to be collected, conserved, and celebrated.
“Muslim American Journeys” is a MALA program produced in partnership with NPR’s StoryCorps and the Library of Congress, providing a platform for Americans of Muslim heritage to share their individual stories. By sharing a diverse range of narratives and experiences, “Journeys” aims to document oral history, inspire pride, and celebrate individuality. Every story recorded is officially archived in the Library of Congress, and outstanding stories are featured on National Public Radio.
“My coming to America was actually by chance: I met a guy and then I married him. My husband is an immigrant himself; he survived the war in Bosnia. I think that even within certain nationalities, interracial relationships are not highly regarded.”
“I come from an Ethiopian background;both of my parents are from Ethiopia, so growing up, our identity was shaped as Ethiopian Americans. My dad is Orthodox and my mom is Muslim, so I grew up in an ethnic/religious mix as well.”
“I grew up in Queens with an Egyptian Muslim family. Growing up, they were not that strict on me learning Arabic, nor did they put me in an Arabic school. My mom actually wanted me to grow up fully in the American culture.”
“What most people didn’t know is that I had a ferocity about me that only came out when someone I cared about needed me. I found myself spending many of my days thinking about what I should have said, regretting my silence especially when it affected the people around me.”
“Growing up as a brown girl, it’s like there are two different wars going on at the same time. As you grow up you’re told you are too conservative for America, but you’re too liberal for the people back home.”
“I came to Chicago simply because as you already know Somalia is a failed state. In its civil war, so many people were displaced, a lot of persecution was occurring, and I actually came to America to seek asylum here, as a refugee.”
“But more importantly, and more strongly, I’ve been surrounded by many allies from different ethnic and racial backgrounds who have shown me more love than I have ever experienced before. A kind of love I wasn’t used to.”
“What has also been difficult is convincing my conservative parents that I was no longer just an Egyptian, or just a Muslim, but I was now also part of this new world. My parents and I are beginning to learn that we are no longer isolated between two worlds, but we are now truly in the best of both worlds.”