You know a book is going to be good when the author dedicates it to "all the little girls who have cried alone in the dark". Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age is no different.
Written by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, this autobiography explores the ups and, more specifically, the downs of growing up as a Muslim girl in the wake of 9/11 and waves of Islamophobia following. After realizing there was not yet a platform specifically connecting young millennial Muslim women looking to share their stories, Al-Khatahtbeh started MuslimGirl, an online lifestyle website geared toward Muslim women living in America. The website gained traction in 2015, seeing more than 100 million visitors and putting it on the map as a premiere space for conversation among young Muslim women.
The mission statement of MuslimGirl is as follows (so you can get a better idea of Al-Khatahtbeh's purpose):
We write articles that relate to young modern women all over the globe and kickstart an open honest dialogue about Islam in today’s society. Here at MuslimGirl we like to talk about things that might be a little too embarrassing for mom, to bridge the gap between different religions through the spirit of sisterhood, and to host interfaith discussion to combat growing stereotypes within our society and tackle social issues that may otherwise be shied away from.
Inspiring a sense of empowerment among readers, Al-Khatahtbeh details her journey from college student starting a community forum online for Muslim women struggling with modern questions about their faith to her turning down an Al Jazeera internship to monetize the blog. Her story of entrepreneurship and hard-earned success will make you feel like you have the means to go start your own business venture to better the world.
Deep familiarity with Islam isn't necessary when reading this book, but an open mind is essential. Al-Khatahtbeh does a fantastic job of including facts and insight about everything from the foundations of Islam to current events and occurrences, but will occasionally throw in some Arabic or religious phrases. If you aren't familiar with Islam or the Arabic language, don't fret -- it's all a part of the story and should be enjoyed as-is.
I would recommend Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age to my friends wanting a more accurate depiction of what life in America is like for Muslim Millennials, to my friends who hold preconceived notions about Islam itself and to those simply wanting to read about the experiences of someone with a different culture. It's a small book that reads with a strong voice and leaves you feeling a little more inspired than before you picked it up.
Ready to read? Buy it here!