Armed with a tote, laptop coated with anti-Zionist stickers, and cheap coffee, Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh disrupted social media when he launched Muslim* early this year across all social media platforms. Working closely with the well-known Muslim women’s media site MuslimGirl on The Post-Up newsletter, Muslim* is ready to start the discussion on subjects too often considered taboo within the Muslim community.
The vision sprang from a series of issues that affected the younger Muslim community surviving in a post-Trump America. The 21-year-old soon realized that Muslims tend to migrate toward sub-communities which lead to feelings of “otherness.” Al-Khatahtbeh himself struggled finding his own community, which led him to take it upon himself to build a space for all Muslims so they didn’t have to feel left out. Muslim* became a place for everyone, where all types of Muslim communities and outcasts could unite and share their own unique perspectives.
If you head to the Muslim* Instagram page, you’ll be greeted with news affecting the Muslim community, hilarious tweets that only millennials and Gen-Z kids can really appreciate, inspiring hadith, useful information from Muslim scholars, and featured #MuslimSpotlight stories. But there’s way more to this sky blue, aesthetically pleasing news source than even these noteworthy attributes. What truly makes Muslim* an account worth messing up your follower-following ratio is Muslim*’s weekly newsletter and Line-Up IGTV video series.
Line-Up offers a Q&A-style discussion in which young Muslims answer questions considered taboo within the community. A small team of volunteers contribute to the production of the series. One, Shayma Alshiri, met Ameer from an open casting call on the Muslim* Instagram page and has since been a part of the video-editing team for the IGTV series.
Contrary to what many may think, the Muslim community is full of diverse groups and connected by core beliefs, despite ranging in the ways they practice their faith. There are all sorts of conservative, progressive, and liberal Muslims, from different sects like Shii, Sunni, Sufi, and so on.
The way the Line-Up series works is that Muslim* posts a date, time, and place for all types of Muslims to come and engage in conversation on particular issues. The discussions include not looking “Muslim,” discussing the women’s prayer space at mosques, and even gun control and climate change. The people in these videos are members of all different social groups, look completely different from one another, and are complete strangers—but they’re all inspired by their faith to talk about issues affecting their communities. This creates videos filled with raw answers that can seriously spark movements across Muslim communities, and change others’ perception of the Muslim narrative.
The newsletter, curated by yours truly, is a post-Friday prayer digest for Muslims who want to be in the know about the events that have recently affected the community. Working closely with MuslimGirl, it’s a perfect resource to understand Muslims living within this tense political climate.
Outside of the content that Muslim* produces, Al-Khatahtbeh uses the best of his abilities to promote young Muslim creators. The first time I met Al-Khatahtbeh was at a club for Muslims on our college campus. I thought nothing of the fact that he was grossly fixated on his phone. Perhaps I stored this image with every other portrait of a young individual on their phone. How could I have known he was silently building an empire of thousands of followers? Soon, we became fast friends, and after he discovered I was a Journalism major, he encouraged me to join the team of young Muslims he envisioned to help run this important platform.
Almost 30,000 followers after the dream that sprang from the mind of a trailblazing Gen Zer, Muslim* is continuing to grow, and the team can’t wait for the work we do to help impact the lives of more people across the world.