This is an Instagram account that most people from the young Muslim community are probably familiar with. The account is called @Muslim, featuring all content related to what is happening in the Muslim world, what it means to be Muslim, while sharing funny memes and various other types of content. We sat down with Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh, the founder and the face behind the Instagram account to get to know him better and see what inspired him to create his brand on Instagram. Today, @Muslim has over 800,000 followers and is constantly growing and working on new and exciting projects. We had the pleasure of interviewing the 22-year-old Forbes 30 Under 30, Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh, and asking him a few questions.
1. What is Ameer’s story and the inspiration that drove you to create @Muslim?
I grew up in Jersey, with immigrant parents. I went to a high school where there were primarily white people and Zionists. I was known as the Palestinian Muslim Arab of the school that was very vocal and passionate about who I was and my identity. I never let anyone say anything wrong about what I identified with. With that being said, I did experience a lot of racism at the time in high school. I remember one time I did a whole presentation of what was happening in Palestine and if it was considered a genocide, and my teacher at the time gave me a 0 on the project. This did not sit well with me, and of course I took some drastic measures to get a good grade on the report. Side note, I have even managed to have a teacher get fired from my school because they were plain racist.
These continuous occurrences within my own community gave me the push to start my Instagram account. I wanted to change the way people viewed Muslims within my community. I wanted the world to know the things that they had been through. The Instagram that I created called @Muslim allowed me to do that, and soon enough now it has allowed me to do so much more.
2. What does it mean for you to have such a big influence on social media?
I don’t like to call myself an influencer. The best way I can answer this, is back in 2016, when Trump was first elected. It was the same time I declared my major in college. I was going to be a journalist, and I had to write something for all of my classes. While people in the previous years were able to write about celebrities and music, I kept gravitating towards topics that affected my identity like the Muslim travel ban, and Trump’s nonsense rules. It was when I got into a class about investigative reporting that I fell in love with just writing more and more about Muslim content that was happening in the world. To influence people for me is just spreading the word to people everywhere about what it means to be Muslim, and the things that are happening in Muslim countries.
3. Any tips for young Arabs trying to make a platform or brand for themselves on social media?
As cliche as it sounds, I would say just do it. For me, if I hadn’t just gone and created my Instagram account, I would have never been where I am right now. At the end of the day what has led me to accomplishing so much, these blessings, and just putting myself out there is just creating the account in the first place.
4. What was one of your most surreal moments throughout your journey?
I can actually think of a few that really stand out to me. One of them being the fact that we were the ones that started the online protesting for the Uyghurs Muslim genocide that is currently happening in China. Everyone was staying quiet, and there was not a lot of buzz around that. We created the graphic with two hands that are bleeding, and soon enough it started trending everywhere. So many people were reposting, even celebrities like Gigi and Bella Hadid, Halsey, and more.
Another one that speaks out to me was when we confronted Rihanna and her brand Fenty for playing a controverisal song that featured the Muslim Hadiths in it. This was very crazy for me, because the people that were following our account were able to ‘cancel’ Rihanna; who is someone that is known to do no wrong. I mean she did reach out and apologize, and just that was surreal in itself. Alongside that we’ve had various celebrities reach out like Khloe Kardashian, and Halsey that wanted to give in charitable donations.
5. What some future plans Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh has for @Muslim?
I can’t really say a lot because it is confidential at the moment. What I can say is that Ramadan is coming up, and for that we have a lot of cool collaborations in mind and I just can’t wait to share it on my platform with my supporters.
With that note, we can’t help but share a fun fact that Ameer recently got featured on Business Insider. We cannot wait to see the next ventures that @Muslim will be taking on. Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh ’s journey with @Muslim is a prime success story that many young Arabs are looking for to help motivate them even more to create change and impact they’re most passionate about. As Mahatma Gandhi put it, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
by Mariam Asif – YLT Staff