Why Amani Al-Khatahtbeh created Muslim Women's Day

Story highlights

  • March 27 is Muslim Women's Day -- a day to celebrate Muslim women
  • Amani Al-Khatahtbeh says it is a day to "change the culture around how we talk about Muslim women"

(CNN)As a young girl growing up in New Jersey in the wake of 9/11, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh concealed the fact that she was Muslim to avoid negative judgment from her peers.

When she was 13, her family relocated to Jordan -- her father's homeland -- because they were concerned about rising violence against Muslim communities in the United States.
    Living in Jordan proved to be a transformative experience -- Al-Khatahtbeh grew to love her religion, and began slowly reclaiming her identity. But the family returned to the US when her mother was taken ill and wanted to be with her relatives in New Jersey.
      Amani Al-Khatahtbeh.
      Back home, Al-Khatahtbeh found that Jordan had changed her attitude to her country of birth and she chose to wear the hijab as a mark of defiance against Islamophobia. She felt angered to see how the Middle East -- and particularly Muslim women -- were misrepresented in the news.
      So, at 17, Al-Khatahtbeh started a blog in her bedroom. She paid $7 for a domain name -- MuslimGirl.com -- to carve out a space for young Muslim women to take back the narrative.
      Now, eight years later, MuslimGirl has tens of thousands of followers across its social networks.