Blogger and media personality Amani Al-Khatahtbeh created Muslim Women’s Day last year to celebrate aspects of contemporary Muslim women’s identities that Islamophobic rhetoric ignores. In anticipation of the second Muslim Women’s Day today (March 27), Al-Khatahtbeh spoke with CNN yesterday (March 26) about the creation and evolution of her annual celebration.
“We wanted to create a day where we just celebrate Muslim women, and engineer a new precedent for Muslim women’s representation in mainstream media,” Al-Khatahtbeh explained to CNN. “Muslim Women’s Day is a call to action, to center Muslim women’s voices for the day, to empower us, to flood the internet with new, diverse, positive stories and Muslim women’s voices, and basically just pass the mic.”
The “we” in her explanation refers to her collaborators on MuslimGirl.com. Al-Khatahtbeh founded the website as a teenager as a platform to center the voices of Muslim women writers. Today, the website features articles and essays on topics ranging from Islamophobic violence to Muslim women-owned businesses. Al-Khatahtbeh told CNN that the website, like Muslim Women’s Day, aims to fight Islamophobia with a diversity of perspectives.
“Growing up [in the United States], by the time I was leaving elementary school, we were already embroiled in two wars in the Middle East,” she recounted. “And even today, we elected a president largely based on assumptions of the Muslim community. A lot of these policies impacting Muslims worldwide are largely based on a lot of misinformation. One of the reasons why MuslimGirl.com became such a necessary space is, first of all, to cultivate a presence for our voices in the media in the hope that it will make it more difficult for that misinformation to lead to those policies.”
This year’s Muslim Women’s Day centers the theme, “Muslim Women Talk Back to Violence.” MuslimGirl.com packed today with a line-up of Facebook Live events featuring representatives from the Women’s March, Planned Parenthood and various media outlets.
In addition, #MuslimWomensDay trended on Twitter as Muslim women celebrate one another:
During #MuslimWomensDay remember nonhijabis exist, Black Muslim women exist, Latina Muslim women exist, Queer Muslim women exist, Shiite Muslim women exist, Disabled Muslim women exist. We are not a monolith.— Hijabi Sha (@thischick1997) March 27, 2018