Amani Al-Khatahtbeh: She’s Voicing the Muslim Experience in America

April 6 - On The Dot
 
FIRST THOUGHT: Different Strokes for Different Folks

Today, we’re celebrating our differences, championing an all-inclusive world and welcoming with open arms perspectives that may be dissimilar from our own. Let’s allow ourselves to gain a fresh perspective and expand our minds by learning about the stories, challenges and successes of others.

The heart of our mission at On The Dot is to feature different women because they’re some of the most hardworking and inspiring gals we know. In December, we highlighted Niloofar Rahmani’s journey to becoming the first female fixed-wing Afghan Air Force pilot. She’s a great example that regardless of religion, ethnicity or culture, women are changing the world for the better every single day.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 674 Percent

There are about 1 million Muslim women living in the U.S., and according to the ACLU, between 2000 and 2006, civil-rights complaints filed with just one Muslim advocacy group rose an astounding 674 percent. The group reported that the cases of discrimination or harassment were specifically regarding Muslim women’s head coverings, despite the fact that several federal civil-rights laws prohibit this kind of discrimination.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of MuslimGirl.com

In light of the discrimination many Muslim women and girls face on a daily basis, we applaud today’s Woman to Watch, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh. This trailblazer is empowering Muslim women and girls the world over as the founder and editor-in-chief of online magazine MuslimGirl.com.

As you know, when girls don’t see women like them represented online or in the media, they often feel isolation, separation and even fear. Finding one’s community in this big, wide world is instrumental to creating women leaders. Through MuslimGirl, Amani has thankfully carved out a welcoming space for Muslim women in the West.

One of Amani’s goals is to normalize the word “Muslim” because—hello—it’s about dang time an entire classification of people is recognized with positivity and acceptance! MuslimGirl provides a platform for Muslim women’s voices to be heard, highlighting the values of peace and gender equality. Amani started the website when she was still in high school because she says she was fed up with the misleading misconceptions surrounding Islam and the way news coverage often skewed the image of Muslims into a less than flattering one. The mistrust, racism and blatant hatred these inaccuracies flamed, along with the muting of young Muslim voices from mainstream society, resulted in the disillusionment young Muslims suffer about their religion in the chaos of it all.

MuslimGirl presents both thought-provoking and fun topics, which is essentially what every woman wants from an engaging online publication. One article highlights Muslim storytellers who received grants to write and produce films, and another gives readers a look at what it’s like to be both punk and Muslim. (Spoiler alert: Rad mohawk hijabs are a must! Yep, it’s a thing!)

Amani also regularly contributes columns and other media to Fortune, Teen Vogue and The Huffington Post. And MuslimGirl was the first Muslim organization to make Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. This groundbreaker, who’s only in her mid-20s, recently published her first book, Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age, which narrates her life experiences as an American Muslim woman, from watching the 9/11 attacks from her New Jersey home as a 9-year-old girl, to learning firsthand about a culture built on religion, not Islamic stereotypes, to the biases she still faces today.

We are so thankful for women like Amani. She is fierce and fearless and paving the way to a world in which every woman can raise her head without fear of being attacked for her gender or her beliefs.

QUITE THE QUOTE

Today’s inspiring quote comes from Queen Rania of Jordan. She said:

“Muslim women must stand up and speak out about who we are, what we believe and where we are going. I think we need to know that our counterparts in the West are also willing to listen and reciprocate.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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