Al-Khatahtbeh was featured on Forbes’ 2021 “30 Under 30” list and has received a Knight Foundation grant. He made waves on social media when he got celebs to talk about the crisis in Yemen and again when Muslim.co broke the story that Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty culturally appropriated an Islamic hadith, sparking her to apologize.
“Islam is not a monolith. I think that’s the biggest misconception about our faith,” Al-Khatahtbeh told In The Know. “That we have one set way of practice when that’s not the case whatsoever.”
Muslim.co reports on pop culture and relevant news stories with an arsenal of 30 writers, a team of video editors, illustrators and TikTok users.
“We are an all-inclusive platform,” he said. “So regardless of how you practice your faith, regardless of how you present, regardless of who you are and what you believe in as long as you are there to learn, Muslim.co is a platform for you.”
Al-Khatahtbeh was only two years old on Sep. 11, 2001, when the extremist group Al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center. The tragedy was the catalyst for dark period in the U.S. Islamophobia became widespread and the Iraq War became what most historians would call a failure and a disaster.
“I had to bear the brunt of this hate rhetoric towards the Muslim community and it really affected me growing up,” Al-Khatahtbeh said. “At school it was not a fun time, being the only Muslim. It constantly felt like everyone was against you, when you personally feel like you’ve always belonged.”
He started college in 2016, when Donald Trump was elected. With anti-Muslim sentiment ramping up again, Al-Khatahtbeh found himself defending his faith at school. He wondered why Muslims were always fending off harmful narratives in the media.
“I realized it’s because there was no concrete Muslim publication that was on top of Muslim news,” he said. “Especially to appeal to the younger generation like Gen Z and millennials.”
He knew he had to get Muslim news out there. It started with a word-of-mouth newsletter. Then Muslim.co blew up and became a bonafide magazine.
“Representation is so important to dismantle the negative stereotypes that are already out there,” said Al-Khatahtbeh. “If we have more representation at least we are the ones speaking on our behalf. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your faith. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for how you practice your faith and I hope Mulism.co makes you more confident.”
In The Know is now available on Apple News — follow us here!
If you enjoyed reading this article, check out In The Know’s other profiles on up-and-coming Gen Z changemakers here.
More from In The Know: