Muslim Girl

Muslim Girl


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Amani Al-Khatahtbeh wears jacket by Calvin Klein JeansPhotography Fumi Nagasaka, stylist Emma Wyman

Sick of media stereotyping of Muslim women, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh did what any millennial girl would do: go online and start her own space

LocationNew York, United States

Chipping away at regressive stereotypes of Muslim women, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is considered, well-spoken, but mostly just a tough-as-nails, laugh-a-minute Jersey girl. Frustrated with the way Muslim women were misrepresented in the media, Al-Khatahtbeh took matters into her own hands when she launched the Muslim Girl website in 2009 with a few friends from her local mosque. “One of our first blog posts was about what to do when you’re on your period,” she says matter-of-factly. “For us it was just so taboo to talk about stuff like that publicly. Some of the girls were actually shy about it and were like, ‘Don’t include my name.’ Now, it’s normal for us to talk about it so openly.”

Muslim Girl was a direct response to Al-Khatahtbeh’s own upbringing. “I grew up enduring extreme bullying and alienation from my peers,” she says. “I never fit in, so I did what any millennial girl that’s pissed would do: I went on the internet and started my own space.”

It didn’t take long for her bedroom operation to take off, racking up clicks and amassing a network of contributors on topics like religion, TV and fitness. In October 2016, she released her first book, Muslim Girl: Coming of Age, about grappling with her identity and religion in post-9/11 America. Al-Khatahtbeh’s schedule is now jam-packed with speaking engagements, including a talk at SXSW in 2017 “It was pretty dope. It was basically about my journey, and how we built Muslim Girl into this booming brand out of my bedroom when we were high-school students. We grew up together; Muslim Girl grew up with us.”

Her next task: realigning Google search results to reflect a more diverse representation of Muslims. She has teamed up with Getty Images to help kickstart a database of Muslim women of all shapes, sizes and headwear. “Some of the photos are girls taking selfies with each other, getting ready for a night out or working out. There are pictures of girls who wear headscarves, and girls who don't. They weren't models dressed up in hijab. It was like real Muslim women.”

Al-Khatahtbeh is all about inclusivity, and she’s doing the utmost to get us there in one piece. “We’re not gonna stop until we become the first mainstream media network by and for Muslim women,” she smiles. “It’s about time, right?”

Trey Taylor