School: University of California, Los Angeles
Sponsor: Muslim Community Association of the Bay Area (MCA)
Maryam Amirebrahimi received her master’s in Education from UCLA, where her research focused on the effects of mentorship rooted in Critical Race Theory for urban high school students of color. She holds a bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Development from San Jose State University, where she served as the President of the Muslim Student Association for two consecutive years. Currently, she is pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies through Al Azhar University’s distance learning program. Maryam spent a year studying the Arabic language and Qur’an in Cairo, Egypt,and has memorized the Qur’an. She has been presented the Student of the Year award by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Maryam frequently travels to work with different communities to address a variety of social issues and writes about topics related to social realities, women’s studies and spiritual connections on www.suhaibwebb.com.
Maryam’s Message to Sponsors:
Ibn Khaldoon, in his famous Muqaddimah, is attributed as the first to describe the rise and fall of nations in great detail. In our Islamic heritage, the peak was with the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), followed by a time of stability, and it has been up and down ever since. Arguably, we reached one of our lowest points in the early nineteenth century and, just when many of us thought it was getting better, 9-11 happened. The responsibility and onus on young, American Muslims, such as myself, to step up to the challenge of demonstrating Islam for what it truly is and to bring positive social change has likely never been greater. By Allah’s blessings, it is with the tremendous financial investment and multifaceted support of people like those in the ISF community, that we can transform our acute awareness of the responsibility before us to tangible actions, to building of institutions, to transforming our society for the very best, inshaAllah. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your immense contributions. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reward you all and accept you all as the starters of good so that it’ll be a sadaqa jariya until the end of time.
It has been an incredible honor to be an ISF recipient through your generous donation. By God’s mercy and through the financial support of ISF, I have completed my Master’s in Social Justice Education and graduated with a 4.0. I conducted my almost one hundred page thesis on the role of transformative mentorship rooted in Critical Race Studies for urban youth of color and I was amongst the few asked by my department to conduct a workshop during the annual education conference on the impact of using the arts to help students of color develop strong identities of self. Through it all, my professors, mentors and students continually told me, “Thank you for your presence. We need more Muslims here.”
Creating a strong sense of identity is a subject area in which I find great urgency, especially for young, American Muslim women. Because of the need for female scholarship within our community, and more especially for the need of born and raised American scholars, I have begun a full-time Islamic Studies bachelor’s distance learning program through Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
With the knowledge I am gaining of Islamic sciences and through the skills I have learned within the school of Education, I regularly speak at events hosted by universities, mosques and other organizations with the hopes of effectively empowering our community to feel strongly connected with our Islamic identities and deeply invested in our efforts to positively benefit the fabric of our American society.
I share my experiences with you to demonstrate what I hope you will consider the beginning fruits of your investment. With your continued support, young American Muslims can continue to strive for our collective progress as a greater community, God willing.