Malek Bendelhoum was born and raised in Southern California in a multicultural home with his father from Algeria and his mother an African American from Alabama. Malek holds degrees in Political Science and Forensic Psychology from the University of California Riverside. He has also traveled overseas to Mecca, Saudi Arabia for Islamic Studies.
Malek regularly lectures throughout California and the country speaking at conferences, Mosques, and institutions of higher learning such as UCR, CSUSB, UCLA, USC, Stanford, NYU, SDSU, UCSB, UCSD, University of Chicago, and others. Topics range from Islam and Muslims, Social Change, Nonprofit growth, Social Entrepreneurship, and more.
In college, Malek Co-founded Sahaba Initiative, an organization that serves underserved communities in the Inland Empire. Currently, he serves as the organization’s Executive Director. In 2018 Sahaba Initiative was voted Nonprofit of the year in California and has been recognized by numerous publications such as Press-Enterprise, LA Times, The Washington Post, New York Post, and Spectrum News.
Malek Is a current board member of USCMO (United States Council of Muslim Organizations) and an Interfaith Board Member at Chapman University. Malek was also named among the 30 most influential people under 30 by the California state assembly and served as the youngest director of a Shura council in the nation gaining the position at 26 years old. The Islamic Shura Council of Southern California is the voice and umbrella of Muslims in Southern California with over 75 members representing over 500,000 Muslims.