Meet Community Outreach Fellow Marwa Abdelghani

July 19, 2014

My aspirations for making the dreams of our future Muslim generations come true plays a large role in my field of work, community outreach. I hope to bring MPAC to different communities outside of Los Angeles in order to help them get involved in the kind of work that we do. I strongly believe that American Muslims must be at the table, lest they will be on the menu. In order to relieve the U.S. from the stereotypes and Islamophobia targeting Muslims, we must put ourselves in the nerve centers that make the major decisions for our communities. We must emulate the character of our Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings be upon him, of reaching out and engaging with his fellow human beings.

As a teenager living in Los Angeles, I grew up thinking that I had a very limited Muslim community that I can really connect with and turn to for a religious space. Being raised in a very culturally Egyptian household, I would spend many of my summers in Egypt with close family. Every time I would return home from the motherland, I would always feel lost and lonely, with no cousins to turn to. My kin in Egypt was my only community. I never felt like I was able to really immerse myself in the local mosques around L.A. I never even gave them a chance, to begin with. All I really cared about was Egypt.

Not until several years later did I realize that there was a space for me to grow and connect with others. After visiting the youth group at the Islamic Center of Southern California, I met people who I found were just like me. The relationships that I developed in that one youth group room with my fellow Muslims is what led me to become the person that I am today.

Instead of feeling the need to return to Egypt every summer in order to find some sort of religious connection, I had my own family here. I built my own community that now envelops my entire heart and mind. And MPAC is a critical part of that community.

I started out as a volunteer at MPAC's events every year. Then I became an intern last summer, and I am now honored to be working with the staff as the Community Outreach Fellow. My coworkers have become my second family. They are now my kin. And I could only wish for many more successful years in which we benefit from one another, and allow for a space for young people to find a family of their own, just like I was able to do. I dedicate my life to providing for a happy future for the Muslim generations that are yet to come.

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