Our Stories

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.

Browse the collection of individuals’ stories below. If you would like to participate in “Muslim American Journeys,” here is information on how to submit your story and apply to participate in a recording session.

 
Muna Khalif: Designing to Empower

“As a First-generation Somali-American designer and activist, my goal was to usher in a new era of women’s fashion. It became quite apparent to me that it was difficult to find clothes that were seasonally on trend and that met religious and cultural requirements in an industry that already lacked representation.”

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Amal Hagisufi: Shattering Traditional Norms

“My upbringing as a Muslim woman in a western country meant that I was going to have to come to terms with the duality of my identity.”

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Ameer Khan: I Can Be Holy and Queer

“Upon introspection, my own identity was intersectional, having an immigrant family, being from the LGBT community, and being Muslim.”

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Al-Husein Madhany: What’s in a Name?

“That familiar exchange had been a fixture in my life from the time of the first Gulf War until Election Day 2008. Muslims had become the scary “other” for most Americans, but we existed in the popular imagination as inhabitants of that gray part of the globe beyond, say, France.”

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Narimon Safavi: To Chicago, From Tehran

“I was born in Tehran, Iran, 57 years ago, but my family had already resided in Chicago, Illinois. Early memories … I ended up coming from Tehran to Chicago directly, and was very very much impressed with the city and the way that the infrastructure was well built.”

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Onaba Payab: From a War-Torn Country to Dialogues with Former First Ladies

“Growing up in a war-torn country, I never realized that one day my passion would take me to the US to moderate a discussion between former First Lady Laura Bush and then-First Lady Michelle Obama; or that I would be part of a delegation of Afghan women at the US Capitol to promote women’s inclusion in peace-building.”

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Makiz Nasirahmad: A Balance of Eastern and Western Values

“I was born in Balkh a historical province in northern Afghanistan home to the first proto-urban civilization in the area which arose during the 2nd millennium BC. I grew up in Moscow, Russia. I went to high school in Boston.”

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Tamer Abousoud: Exploring Opportunities Beyond Borders

“When I was in Egypt I just could no longer re-assimilate, and I felt like there was so much that was wrong with so many things there that I just couldn’t accept. There’s always a chance to course correct and try something else. That’s the beauty of America. No one’s going to get upset with you if you try something and it doesn’t work out. That’s a very unique thing.”

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Daniela Ramsey: Serving Through Belief

“My best friend growing up, my neighbor, she was Muslim. My childhood best friend. That’s what I knew and I said, you know what if I feel this way, you know I should be in this religion. So I started actually converting and practicing during college.”

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Amal Amaskane: From Paris, to Chicago- Letting Things Come Into Place

“I was born in one of the suburbs of Paris. I need to specify that, in France, “suburb” doesn’t have the same meaning that it has here in the US. It doesn’t have the affluence, and wealthy vibes that you guys associate with it here. So I grew up in a house project in the suburbs of Paris in France. Both of my parents are Moroccan, and they are proud to remain Moroccan with French resident cards.”

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