Muslim Congressional Candidate in the United States Receives Death Threats01 May 2020
The founder of the Muslim Girl Magazine, Amani al-Khatahtbeh, announced on Saturday that she would run as the congressional candidate for the state of New Jersey in the United States. Shortly after launching her digital campaign, with a focus on the public health sector due to the on-going coronavirus outbreak, al-Khatahtbeh was targeted by a phone caller who shouted racial slurs and threatened to kill her and her family.
Since going public about the threats, al-Khatahtbeh has received widespread support from activists, leaders, and lawmakers who denounced the threats directed at her. Al-Khatahtbeh said that she is in contact with the local law enforcement authorities and urged supporters to not encourage such attacks with fearful reactions.
“This is what it feels like.”
Al-Khatahtbeh received the threatening call on Tuesday evening during which the unknown man on the line called her “ugly Arab Muslim” and “terrorist”, threatened to force-feed her pork and vodka and accurately stated her parents’ address during a rant that lasted for more than two minutes. She has since uploaded the call on Twitter.
She said that she hesitated to share the call at first but said that she decided to do so to display the adversity Muslims face just because of their religion. She said that she was “running to be a public servant for the benefit of all Americans” but faces Islamophobia, racist vitriol and threats to her life because she is a Muslim woman. She also mentioned that this is not the first time she has received death threats.
“We condemn this event and firmly resolve to stand with Amani”
Since she went to public with the threats, al-Khatahtbeh has received an outpouring of support from politicians, activists, lawmakers and supporters. A coalition of over 200 women’s leaders, activists and representatives signed an open letter, condemning the attack. In the letter, the signatories vowed to refuse the normalisation of hate speech and Islamophobia, criticising the Trump presidency for “daily attacks” on Muslim women. Among those who signed the letter were Congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, as well as the Black Lives Matter co-founder, Alicia Garza.
Commenting on the attack, al-Khatahtbeh said that she was unnerved but did not wish to show her attacker that she was scared, as this would encourage the attacker even more. She also said that she is in contact with law enforcement authorities.
Amani is the first Muslim woman to run for federal office in New Jersey
At the time she launched her campaign on Saturday, Amani al-Khatahtbeh was already known among younger US Muslims due to her activism. She is the founder of MuslimGirl.com, a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle magazine aimed at young Muslim women. She was also involved with a number of campaigns aimed at empowering Muslim Women, including the #MuslimWomensDay campaign which she founded. Oftentimes, she spoke about and for marginalised communities.
She has been a frequent and leading critic of the US President, Donald Trump and the culture of Islamophobia he encouraged.