Mohja Kahf was born in 1967, in Damascus, Syria. Kahf's family had strong anti-regime ties. Her grandfather, a member of the Syrian parliament, was exiled from Syria in the late 1960s. Her father was a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Her mother had learned nonviolent social change and personal spiritual transformation with Laila Said, an influential speaker and peace activist from Damascus. Her young parents opted to leave Syria to continue their studies abroad and immigrated to the United States in 1971.