By Badees Nouiouat
From Setif, Algeria, Nordean is the youngest of seven children. He grew up playing soccer in the streets and reading books in Arabic and French.
After high school, he studied computer science at the national institute of computer science in Algeria. Upon graduation, he worked for two years before moving to Paris, France as things back home in Algeria became violent.
The military had overthrown a newly elected government and threw thousands of innocent people in isolated camps in the desert to the south. Nordean raised awareness about what was happening in his home country by giving lectures and writing articles in local newspapers.
Soon after his move to France, he found out that the military stopped at his parents house seeking his whereabouts. It was not a surprise to him however, as some of his friends who were also speaking out had already been thrown in jail.
While in France, he studied political science at Paris Huit University. He was active in the Muslim Student Association and also wrote for the newspaper.
While on break from school, he got an opportunity to visit his older brother near San Jose, California. While he got involved with the community at the Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara, he crossed paths with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Shaykh Hatem Bazian.
Nordean started out working in a pizza restaurant while taking English and Java Programming classes in the evenings. Eventually, he got a programming job with NeoPost in Hayward, California.
After a few years in Santa Clara, Nordean got married in 1997 and got an offer with Verizon in Irving. He moved to Irving in April, 1998. At this time, Irving Masjid was located in a strip mall on Grauwyler Rd. He volunteered with different programs and organized family events. Eventually, he became involved in leadership and was elected to the shura council in 2004.
Since 2015, he has been working full time as the Community Organizer at ICI.
Badees: What motivates you to work hard?
Nordean: I see my work as a mission that we inherited from the Prophet Muhammad (saw). Everything we have today has been prepared for us by the early generation of Muslims, and we have to take what they have done and propel it further.
Badees: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Nordean: My older brother was my role model growing up and I wanted to be like him. He pursued excellence academically and so I studied to do well in school. At the same time, I grew up being active in the masjid and found a passion in being involved at the masjid and enriching the lives of those around me.
Badees: Where is your favorite place you have visited?
Nordean: My favorite place would have to be Mecca and Madina because they bring memories of stories of the Prophet and his companions. Secondly, I love my hometown and my country.
Badees: What language do you think in?
Nordean: I am very fluent in Arabic and I write poetry in Arabic as well so I think in Arabic and then translate it to English or French.
Badees: What was the happiest moment of your life?
Nordean: The happiest moments in my life are when I see my kids in the Masjid.
Badees: What is a goal you have for yourself?
Nordean: My most urgent objective is to get my PhD in Islamic Studies so I can write books for the next generation where I can share my perspective as someone who has lived and practiced Islam in communities around the world.
Badees: Tell me a problem the Muslims in the west are facing and how we can fix it.
Nordean: In the west I see that the communities are very active, especially in the big cities, we are active politically, we have Islamic schools, but what is missing is having a cause. Back in our Muslim countries, the youth have causes that stem from living under dictatorial regimes and being suppressed. In the west there is liberty and freedom but there is not as much of a drive to achieve big things for Islam.
Badees: Who is your favorite son?
Nordean: I can’t tell you who my favorite son is, but I believe the right answer is the one given by Umar RA who said “The little one until he grows, the absent until he comes back, and the sick until he recovers.”
Badees: Tell me a joke.
Nordean: When my youngest son Taqy was 7 years old, he asked me, “How come I was never invited to your wedding?”