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.

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: 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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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