Al-Khatahtbeh wears a hijab. She is 24 years recent and grew up in New Jersey.
The queries, she writes in her new book “Muslim Girl,” demonstrate “terribly deeply entrenched preconceptions that American society harbors toward its minority communities.”
The timing of her book, printed by Simon & Schuster, is not any accident.
Al-Khatahtbeh is the brains behind MuslimGirl.com, which aims to be the primary mainstream media network by and for Muslim ladies. She has seventy contributing writers and employs five girls on workers.
MuslimGirl.com has had viral hits. One piece addressed the political implications of a Lebanese porn star wearing a hijab. Another created light of how offensive it’s to ask folks to draw Muhammad cartoons.
Al-Khatahtbeh’s company seeks to destigmatize what it means to be a Muslim girl — create a counter narrative. She was nine at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Her family moved to Jordan briefly in 2005 to escape post 9/11 Islamophobia. Al-Khatahtbeh writes concerning her personal choice to wear a hijab (her mother, who is Palestinian, will not.)
The origin of MuslimGirl.com goes back to Live Journal, a social network she discovered as a teenager. She started her web site as a LiveJournal community to be a secure space for girls to ask queries about Islam, share inspiration, or discuss “random problems or girly topics.”
Additional and more individuals asked to join her on-line community, thus Al-Khatahtbeh launched a web site. She kept up the location throughout her faculty years at Rutgers. When graduating in 2014, she started working on it a lot of intensively, mostly throughout the early morning and after work. She designed a network of freelancers and created a publication schedule and brainstorming topics for coverage.
Mainstream media fails the Muslim community, she argues, by reinforcing stereotypes. Too many stories portray Muslim ladies as oppressed, or as terrorists responsible for violent crimes, she said.
One example she offers in her book is that the New York Post’s cover regarding the San Bernardino shooting: “Muslim Killers,” the paper said. By focusing on religion, the headline helped validate anti-Muslim sentiment, Al-Khatahtbeh argued. Faith, and the word “terrorism,” is referred to within the context of Muslims, but largely not otherwise, she writes.
“It’s mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting to have to say your humanity time and time once more,” she writes.
The book comes at a time of heightened racial tensions within the U.S. with a rise of Islamophobia, in explicit. According to preliminary data from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, 2016 is not off course to be the second-worst year on record when it involves mosque attacks.
“Life has gotten so abundant more durable in recent months,” said Al-Khatahtbeh, who dedicated her book “to all the limited women who ever cried within the dark.”
That’s a result of recent “hateful” political rhetoric. Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims from entering the U.S. was a turning purpose for her. After that, MuslimGirl.com stopped giving Trump coverage.
“He didn’t deserve it, and we deserved higher,” she writes.
She writes that a lot of Muslim millennials have adopted “microdefences,” such as not using the slang word “bomb” or not standing close to the edge of subway platforms. “This book is meant to be a snapshot into what life is like.”