Layali Team


Omama Altaleb, Editor-in-Chief

Omama Altaleb is a student journalist pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Communication at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.  In 2012, Omama was recognized by the American News Women’s Club as an aspiring female journalist. She interned and wrote for, a local radio news station in Washington D.C. in 2014. Currently, she is a digital intern at Gannett/USA TODAY in McLean, Va. Omama is the youngest of three older brothers and resides with her family in Northern Virginia. She is an active community member with a deep passion for writing, photography, news, travel and fitness. You can keep up with her writings and journey at and follow her on Twitter @omama_altaleb.

Rawan Elbaba, Executive Editor

Rawan Elbaba is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Communication, with a focus on Media Production and Criticism at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. She is also double minoring in Electronic Journalism and Graphic Design. In addition to being the Copy Chief of Fourth Estate, her university’s student-run news outlet, she has interned with Al Jazeera and is also a current production intern with BBC in Washington D.C. In her free time, Rawan loves to free write, explore YouTube, and keep up with her fashion and health magazine subscriptions. To read more about her thoughts and ideas as a student journalist, you can visit her blog at​ and follow her on Twitter @roelbaba.


Samia Mubarak, Layali Deen & Spirituality Blogger

Samia Mubarak is from Panama City, Fla. and currently resides in Charlotte, N.C. She has a bachelor’s degree in Professional Communication with a minor in Psychology from Florida State University. She recently completed the memorization of the Quran and writes personal Quranic Reflections on her blog She is a wife, and mother of one.

Reem Faruqi, Layali Motherhood Blogger

Reem Faruqi is a doodler any chance she gets, a children’s book writer in the nights, a photographer on weekends, and a stay-at-home mom during the week to a preschooler and a toddler. Originally a second grade teacher, she is taking a break from the teaching world to mother her two daughters. Check out her blog, Doodling Through Life at You can follow her on Twitter: @ReemFaruqi or on Facebook at

Yasmeen Hantuli, Layali Health & Fitness Blogger

Yasmeen Hantuli graduated from California State University, San Bernardino with a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Nutrition and a minor in Arabic. She received her master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Loma Linda University in June 2014 after completing an accredited internship to become a Registered Dietitian. She currently resides in San Francisco, Calif. with her supportive husband. Yasmeen has a love for Islam, food, health, culture and helping others.

Abeer Najjar, Layali Food Blogger

Abeer Najjar is an amateur cook and food lover by way of her mother, imagination, and old-school cooking shows. She is an Arab-American/south-side Chicagoan hybrid, a sucker for fried foods, and a fiend for good coffee accompanied by great conversation.

Hira Mirza, Layali Advice Blogger

Hira Mirza graduated with a degree in Psychology and Biology from the University of Houston. She currently attends New York University for graduate school and hopes to serve in the healthcare field in the future. She is one of four sisters and resides in New York City.

Yousra Medhkour, Layali Review Blogger

Yousra Medhkour is a senior at the University of Toledo. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of English, with a concentration in creative writing, and a minor in Studio Art. She spends her free time reading countless books, a hobby that nurtured her love for words. With this passion of hers, Yousra aspires to become a published author.



Hallima Ibrahim, Layali Deen & Spirituality Columnist

Hallima Ibrahim is a student at University of Massachusetts Boston, currently studying Psychology, Women and Gender Studies. Hallima is the founder of the Beacon Support Sisters Against Violence and Abuse, an organization that encourages discussions on campus about gender-based violence, the empowerment of women and mental health. Hallima resides in the Boston area with family and friends and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Public Health and Community Service at Georgetown University in D.C.  You can follow Hallima on Twitter @Quirky_Afro.

Mahvish Danka, Layali Advice Columnist

Mahvish Danka is an aspiring philanthropist pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Finance at the University of Houston. When she’s not busy obsessing over her cat or food, she loves to read, write and sing.  You can follow her thoughts on her blog,

Sharmin Shanur, Layali InSchool Columnist

Sharmin Shanur is a student at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, Calif. She is currently a member of her school’s speech and debate team and dedicates much of her time volunteering in transitional homes as a tutor for the young children. At her leisure, Sharmin writes blogs for WriteGirl,, and composes articles for her school newspaper. Now with a few years of writing under her belt, she has become the editor-in-chief of The Bamboo, her school newspaper.

Zohra Alnoor, Layali Career Columnist

Zohra Alnoor is an Afghan-American living in Virginia with her family and pet bird, Tootie. In 2012 she received her bachelor’s degree in Communication with a concentration in Journalism from George Mason University and currently works as a Promotions Producer at Fox 5 and My20 in D.C. When she’s not busy working, Zohra is usually reading, watching movies or searching for animals to pet. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @MotherOfTootie.

Samirah Nabbus, Layali Wife Life Columnist

Samirah Khan has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a master’s in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education for Diverse Learners. She teaches second grade and loves her job. She is half American, half Pakistani. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband. Samirah enjoys reading, fashion, photography and DIY projects. She especially loves to shop at J. Crew, Lilly Pulitzer and Nordstrom. You can check out Samirah’s fashion and lifestyle blog, List of Loves, at

Sumayya Sahin, Layali Motherhood Columnist

Sumayya Sahin is a Turkish-American stay-at-home-mother and wife. She is currently working on completing her bachelor’s degree in Community Health and aspires to become a doula — homeopath and master of Alternative Medicine. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, learning about the deen, traveling and crocheting. She asks that you make duaa [supplication] for the success of her and her family in this world and the next.

Somayyah Ghariani, Layali Fashion Columnist

Somayyah Ghariani studied Communication and Psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. She is currently working at a local nonprofit organization — The Foundation for Appropriate and Immediate Temporary Help —  as its fundraising coordinator. Somayyah is passionate about fashion being a form of self expression. She has always believed that as a Muslim woman, fashion is an ideal outlet to be expressive and challenge stereotypes. Somayyah enjoys spending some of her free time shopping at department stores like Zara, H&M, Mango and many other venues.

Leena Asad, Layali Health Columnist

Leena Asad is a nursing student living in Texas. Her passions include religion, healthy living and modest fashion. She shares her passions with the world through her blog Leena hopes to inspire Muslim women to be the best versions of themselves as she strives to become the best version of herself.

Nada Ibrahim, Layali Food Columnist

Nada Ibrahim is currently pursuing her master’s of Elementary Education at the University of Maryland. She received her BBA in Marketing from The College of William & Mary and went on to work as a healthcare consultant. She spent most of her life in Virginia and currently resides in Maryland while she completes her studies.

Noori Ali, Layali Food Columnist

Noori Ali is a graduate of George Mason University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is currently living and working in the Washington, D.C. area. Noori has been cooking for her friends and family since she was a child, and has shared many of her recipes through her blog Searching for Noori.  She is excited to share her recipes and food tips with Layali readers.

Masouna Kochaji, Layali Exploration Columnist

Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Masouna Kochaji has a passion for humanitarian work and photography. Currently studying social sciences and communications, she hopes to use photography as a means of sharing and communicating with the world around her. In working at Islamic Relief USA and serving as an Associate Producer at RidzDesign, she hopes to gain experience and further develop skills essential to make change for a better tomorrow through the humanities and the arts.

Noha Hamid, Layali Travel Columnist

Noha Hamid is a 20-year-old Egyptian-American born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. She’s majoring in Public Relations. Her passion is fashion, photography and traveling. During her free time, she’ll either snap a quick photo shoot or plan a weekend trip getaway with some friends. “I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met” is her motto.

Lena Nour, Layali Linked In — Politics and Community Columnist

Lena Nour is a junior at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. majoring in Government and International Politics with a minor in Nonprofit Management. She has interned with nonprofit organizations including MakeSpace, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and most recently, the Partnership for Public Service. Lena has found her passion at the cross section of civic engagement and grassroots advocacy.

Lina Khatib, Layali Film Reviews Columnist

Lina Khatib is a recent graduate from The Ohio State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Art. In her time at Ohio State, she was involved with many student organizations including MSA where she was  the Marketing Chair on the Executive Board for two years. Lina is an aspiring Writer/Director. When she’s not off having adventures and exploring in her free time, she likes to read books and watch movies. Besides filmmaking, Lina is very passionate about photography and likes to draw and paint. She loves visiting art museums and loitering in bookstores.

Anwar Omeish, Layali Book Reviews Columnist

Anwar Omeish is an 18-year-old Libyan-American residing in Northern Virginia. In her free time (and all the time), she is a voracious and passionate reader, writer, blogger, poet and activist. Currently visiting various countries on a gap year, she will be joining the Harvard Class of 2019 in the fall of 2015, where she hopes to major in government and statistics.

Dhefaf Alwazir, Layali Beauty Columnist

Dhefaf Alwazir is a Yemeni-American makeup artist. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She works as an English tutor for the English Language Program at VCU and as a Peer Educator at the Global Education Office at VCU.  In addition to makeup artistry, Dhefaf has a passion for Middle Eastern politics. She served as president of the Arab Student Association at VCU and remains an active member. To check out her makeup photos, you can follow her on Instagram @makeupbydoof or on Facebook at Makeup By Doof.

Najma Khorrami, Layali General Columnist

Najma Khorrami is a current student at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, studying Global Health. She earned a master’s of Public Health in Health Policy from The George Washington University in 2012, and a Bachelors degree in Biophysics also from GWU.  She has supported her family’s clinic for many years. Aside from health policy and her aspiration to create new programs for the underserved in developed and developing countries, Najma enjoys cooking, exercising and spending time with friends.  Passionate about health and fitness, Najma recently ran her first 10k and enjoys playing tennis.  She is very happy to write for women who can benefit from her experiences.

Sameen Bozai, Layali General Columnist

Sameen Bozai is a student at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. where she is studying Community Health. She has always had a passion for writing about topics she feels strongly about. Not too long ago, she launched her own blog, Mindspirational Awakenings, to share her own journey of finding herself within the boundaries of Islam, as well as share personal insight on various topics. Sameen hopes to inspire others through her writing as others have inspired her.



Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Salaam, this is a wonderful effort put by you guys. I would like to be involved in your magazine and wanted to know how I could help. Please let me know! JAK

  2. Salam Seema, that is wonderful to hear! Please email us at if you are interested in getting involved. Thanks!


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