Saturday, April 1, 2017

I Was a Stranger, Day 32: Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is an outspoken activist, writer, and Youtube video host. She grew up in New Jersey and was she nine when 9/11 happened. Her family temporarily relocated to Jordan in 2005 because of the severe Islamaphobia they were experiencing.

At age 17, Al-Khatahtbeh founded Muslim Girl, a fantastic website that shows the U.S. through the eyes of young Muslim women. Muslim Girl, together with Getty, just launched the first stock photo collection of Muslim girls and women. This is what Muslim Girl is about, in Al-Khatahtbeh's words:
When you first heard our name “MuslimGirl,” one of two things probably happened.
If you’re a Muslim, you were like, “Yes, finally — that’s me!”
If you’re not a Muslim, you might have flinched and thought something along the lines of, “Ugh, not these people…”
And that’s why we’re here. We’re normalizing the word “Muslim” for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. was launched from the bedroom of a high school girl that was fed up with the misleading misconceptions surrounding Islam — the way the news coverage and media outlets kept skewing the image of Muslims into a nasty one; the mistrust, racism, and flat-out hatred that the inaccuracies flamed; the muting of young Muslim voices from mainstream society; and the resulting disillusionment that young Muslims suffer about their religion in the tornado of it all.
We at MuslimGirl are taking back the narrative. We use our own voices to speak up for ourselves. We are raising the place of Muslim women in mainstream society. We are drawing awareness to the Qur’an’s message of gender equality and Islam’s principle of peace. We are paving the way towards a world in which every woman can raise her head without fear of being attacked for her gender or beliefs.
We write articles that relate to young modern women all over the globe and kickstart an open honest dialogue about Islam in today’s society. Here at MuslimGirl we like to talk about things that might be a little too embarrassing for mom, to bridge the gap between different religions through the spirit of sisterhood, and to host interfaith discussion to combat growing stereotypes within our society and tackle social issues that may otherwise be shied away from.
We are pioneering our own paths as Muslim women living in today’s modern society, and this is our story.
Watch Amani Al-Khatahtbeh's TED talk for insights into what it's like being a Muslim woman in the United States in this day and age and how they are like salmon swimming against the current:

Her first book, Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age, was published in October. I'm putting it on my to-do list immediately. She rocks!

Read more of my "I Was a Stranger" entries here.

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