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.

Nasheyah Dubaishi: Surviving Domestic Abuse in Buffalo

“All the time I was being suffocated all I could think of was… my five-year old son is watching this.”

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Arzo Ansary: To The Lighthouse Of Learning

“There are some details too disturbing to share – maybe one day I find the strength to tell them. For now though, it is enough to say I am free.”

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Saliha Rashid: Disability and Honor Abuse Didn’t Stop Me

“Having control over the basic aspects of my life is still something I find difficult to accept and believe. But at last the world is my oyster and I can follow my dreams.”

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Maher Gabra: The Demand for Freedom and Democracy

“In Egypt I regularly spoke about liberalism, human rights, equality, child rights, LGBT rights, and more. Since arriving in America, I have been able to continuously witness the living, breathing applications of these values.”

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Humaira Ghilzai: A Secular Muslim in Mecca

“In my two-week journey I met pilgrims who were dogmatically going through the motions and others who were busy finding mistakes in what others were doing and going out of their way to educate everyone on the “right way” of being a Muslim.”

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Javed Nasiri: A Memoir of Childhood

“It was really difficult to grow up as a refugee, in addition to being fatherless. I keenly remember Parents Day, which was celebrated in my elementary school. I remained standing alone and lost. It was a cruel holiday.”

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Nadia Oweidat: A Hunger Strike Just To Get To College

“As a young, single tribal woman, I was pretty low in that pecking order, virtually invisible, and disenfranchised. Like most women, I was at the mercy and whims of the patriarchs who are, by law, responsible for me and my welfare.”

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Saadia Faruqi: There, Here, and Now

“Thus I grew up amidst this clash of modernization versus conservatism, old versus new, religion verses ego. My presentations taught me much about my fellow Americans, much about myself, and much about the world we live in today.”

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Mehmet Ali Sanlikol: Grammy-Nominated Composer

“My musical journey is also, in a way, my American journey. Perhaps it is a story that is not possible in any other place but here.”

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Raza Rizvi: Visiting the WTC in August of 2001

“The morning of September 11th, my bell rang and a fellow foreign student came over to tell me about the unthinkable. American society, the perception of Muslims living within America and elsewhere… everything changed that day.”

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