In December 2018, the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) launched an initiative to spotlight Muslim Americans as part of “The Greatest Generation.” Publishing these memories on the MALA website elevates public dialogue on Muslim-American identity in the twenty-first century while preserving the history that is our common American legacy.
MALA is a 501(c)3 civic and community organization committed to promoting individual freedom and diversity, and to celebrating Muslim American heritage. MALA is dedicated to leadership through integrity, and as such provides a platform for people to share their individual stories and to speak for themselves. MALA nurtures emerging community leaders, and unites Americans of all backgrounds to advance constructive solutions to extremism and human rights abuses. MALA is open to choice and creed, and embraces free expression, gender equality, and pluralism as cherished universal ideals. Learn more at www.MALAnational.org.
Since the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Muslim Americans have proudly served in the United States military. The Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) is privileged to launch two new initiatives to collect, spotlight, and archive the voices of men and women who have served. There are so many Muslim American veterans living today, each with a unique story to tell: we want to hear them all.
The purpose of the Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress is to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of America’s wartime veterans, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand their selfless service. MALA is working to expand the stories of Muslim American veterans in this collection, and we invite you to share your story as a veteran, or nominate a veteran you love for this project.
In collaboration with Washington College and its Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, MALA is partnering with the National Home Front Project to record, preserve, and share audio interviews with Muslim Americans born in or before 1940. Histories of World War II too often omit the experiences of “home front heroes:”: the men, women, and children who bought bonds, built planes, endured sacrifices, and kept families together while loved ones served on the front lines. MALA is honored to spotlight Muslim American civilians who contributed to the war effort or whose family members served in World War II as part of “The Greatest Generation.”
All of us at Washington College are delighted to embark on this new partnership with the Muslim American Leadership Alliance, building together on the impressive oral history work that MALA has already done in other spheres. Oral history connects generations, amplifies voices that were at risk of going unheard, and ensures that future historians will portray the American experience in all its diversity and complexity. Muslim voices and Muslim memories have often been omitted from depictions of World War II. By including them in the National Home Front Project archive, we hope to broaden our understanding of the ‘Greatest Generation,” including its home front heroes. We can’t wait to hear those stories. — Adam Goodheart, Director of the Starr Center