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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”