- 22-year-old Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh based Muslim, a publication and model for Muslim youth.
- In two years, @Muslim on Instagram has gained greater than 750K followers.
- The publication now has a large viewers on all social media platforms and a Snapchat partnership.
- Al-Khatahtbeh was featured on Forbes 30 Underneath 30 for his work on Muslim.
We’re within the midst of a media reckoning, the place digital publications and platforms are all of the sudden scrambling to rectify homogeneous newsrooms. On this time, it could really feel like American media firms are lastly starting to create space for minority voices.
However 22-year-old Palestinian and Jordanian Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh isn’t ready round for his flip. Al-Khatahtbeh is creating a brand new path altogether for his group because the founder and editor-in-chief of Muslim, a digital platform for Gen-Z and millennial Muslims.
Whereas spiritual publications up to now have centered on offering religious steering for his or her audiences, Muslim focuses on being a novel house the place younger Muslims can get information, relate to different Muslim youth, and achieve a way of belonging.
So far as mainstream media goes, Muslim is slowly making a reputation for itself. Even for those who do not instantly acknowledge the platform’s #MuslimTikTokMonday or “Muslims React To” YouTube movies, there’s an opportunity you will have seen its viral infographics of the Yemen disaster, which had been shared by celebrities together with Gigi Hadid and Halsey, or the location’s protection of Rihanna’s controversial use of an Islamic prayer throughout her Savage x Fenty Vogue Present.
Muslim is a digital model rising on a number of platforms
The Muslim model consists of its primary web site, Muslim.co, the place articles on information, opinions, life-style, and tradition are posted; its Instagram web page, the place enjoyable infographics and movies are shared; and its TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter. The model is supposed to current Islamic matters via the lens of Gen-Z and Millennial Muslims.
In simply two years since its inception, Muslim’s Instagram web page, @Muslim, has garnered greater than 750K followers. Its TikTok, which launched in September 2020 is now approaching 200K followers, and its YouTube, which was launched in February of this yr is about to hit 10K subscribers. Apart from some assist with graphics and modifying from gifted Muslim pals, Al-Khatahtbeh grew the platform all on his personal.
“I could not discover a Muslim group on Instagram so I created it,” Al-Khatahtbeh informed Insider. “For me, the content material is for Gen Z Muslims, and who is aware of one of the simplest ways to cater to them than a Gen Z Muslim themselves?”
The concept for Muslim grew throughout Al-Khatahtbeh’s time as a scholar
Al-Khatahtbeh first acquired the concept for Muslim throughout his time as an undergraduate scholar at Rutgers College. Donald Trump had develop into president throughout Al-Khatahtbeh’s freshman yr of faculty, which contributed to a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric. Al-Khatahtbeh usually discovered himself the one Muslim particular person in his lecture rooms. He usually felt like he needed to be the spokesperson and defendent for the Muslim group in class. He needed to vary that.
His probability got here when he was forwarded a flyer concerning the Asian American Journalist Affiliation’s Catalyst program, an intensive boot camp for individuals of coloration within the media serious about creating their very own media merchandise. Through the three-day workshop, Al-Khatahtbeh needed to provide you with a pitch deck and current his concept to media buyers.
When Al-Khatahtbeh offered his publication as a media platform for Gen Z and millennial Muslims, he appeared to pique the curiosity of the advisors. And when he informed them he owned the title @Muslim on Instagram, they had been hooked.
“They had been similar to, ‘Oh my God, sure. You could have one thing massive.'”
Al-Khatahtbeh felt extra decided than ever to make one thing of his concept. On February 15, 2019 he launched a e-newsletter known as “The Put up Up” and created his first submit on the @Muslim Instagram web page. Al-Khatahtbeh used each the e-newsletter and Instagram web page to combination and clarify Muslim information from all around the globe. He gathered the information by setting Apple Information alerts on his telephone for phrases like “Muslim” and “Islam,” and would rush to launch content material any time any breaking information occurred.
He established a base following by selling the e-newsletter and Instagram at Rutgers Muslim Pupil Affiliation conferences and plugging them at native mosques. Ultimately, the location grew via phrase of mouth and completely different college students sharing his posts.
Aysha Khan, a former Islam beat reporter at Faith Information Service and a present freelance journalist in Boston overlaying American Muslim points, tells Insider, “This newer era of Muslim retailers has been tapping into an viewers of Gen Z Muslims on Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat and aren’t solely overlaying digital tradition for Muslims however truly turning into part of it. So I am hopeful that as these newer publications come of age, they’re going to be capable of help full-time editors and newsrooms to supply the skilled reporting our communities deserve.”
Whereas different publications catered to older Muslims, or understanding Islamic scripture, Muslim served as a spot for youthful Muslims to achieve an appreciation for his or her religion whereas maintaining updated with present occasions.
How Muslim grew its following
In its first yr, Muslim gained 70K followers on Instagram. Al-Khatahtbeh attributes a few of this progress to his tenacious posting throughout the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, from recommendations on easy methods to have a good time Ramadan whereas quarantining, to Islamic reminders and quotes from the Quran. At one level throughout the month, he was posting 5 occasions a day on his Instagram and publishing three articles a day to his web site, with the assistance of scholar volunteers and contributors.
“I simply thought, ‘We simply have to spew a lot content material,’ as a result of we simply have to be there for our group throughout its most susceptible time,” he stated.
Muslim desires to dismantle stereotypes and creat a group
Although he acknowledged the dimensions and potential power of the group he needed to deal with, some of the troublesome elements of constructing Muslim was determining the way it ought to be used to serve the group. Al-Khatahtbeh knew he needed to create an area the place he was not instructing anybody on easy methods to be the “proper sort of Muslim.”
“Who’s to say what apply of Islam is the precise apply of Islam? Nobody,” Al-Khatahtbeh stated. “So after we’re representing Muslims, after all there are such a lot of Muslims to signify. My job was to determine: How can we cater to all of them?”
Al-Khatahtbeh needed to create a group and ship them information. And that is precisely what he did, all whereas ending up his undergraduate profession.
Whereas Muslim has exponentially grown in its brief existence, Al-Khatahtbeh sees it as just the start. Already, Al-Khatahtbeh has been featured in Forbes 30 Underneath 30 listing and secured a Snapchat Uncover Channel for the upcoming Ramadan. He has excessive hopes for what the publication can obtain within the long-term.
“I actually hope that we will hit all our objectives with our mission of dismantling the stereotypes and creating the group for Muslims, particularly younger Muslims,” Al-Khatahbeh says. “I additionally simply hope that individuals are as excited to be part of Muslim or be related by Muslim as they’re with any mainstream media.”
Al-Khatahtbeh is assured that he might help different younger Muslim individuals embrace their religion the way in which the publication does.
“For Muslim, the mission assertion has all the time been no matter who you might be, the way you apply, the way you current, no matter any of that, on the finish of the day, for those who outline your self as a Muslim, the house is there for you.”