| 1. Tell me about yourself and your background
I’m 23 years old, a Belgian Muslim, with roots in Morocco since my parents were born there. I recently graduated with a Master in Communication Sciences at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. I’m the co-founder of MVSLIM, a website dedicated to providing a positive image of Muslims. I also write and I have been active as a freelance journalist for a few years now.
| 2. How did the idea for MVSLIM come about?
I met Taha Riani, the co-founder of MVSLIM about a year ago. We started talking about the needs of today’s society and realized there was no platform where we could actually recognize ourselves in. Websites for Muslims are mostly focused on our religion, more than our identity over all. And in mainstream media, Muslims are mostly mentioned in topics such as terrorism or inequality between men and women. We were tired of these stereotypical images and we wanted to change that.
| 3. How have you been able to grow the platform?
I’m proud to say that MVSLIM has immediately attracted many people’s attention. I guess many people agreed with us. We keep growing because we share the stories that are not likely to be shared by other media–inspiring, positive stories about young Muslims who are making things happen. We break stereotypes and try to unite Muslims and non-Muslims by showing what Muslims actually care about in life. We have a lot more in common than most people realize.
| 4. How many contributors do you have now?
When we launched on April 15th, we had a team of 35 contributors. Right now, we have a team of more than 200 contributors worldwide, being represented in over 30 countries.
| 5. What makes MVSLIM different from other websites similar to it?
Our inspiring content and our modern design, which many people are attracted to. Other websites also focus a lot more on religion solely, which we don’t do. We’re not an Islamic website, we’re an online, creative platform and that’s how it’s perceived by our audience.
| 6. What should people know before they submit an article to be featured?
We welcome strong opinion pieces about topics that matter to you and inspiring stories that haven’t been told yet. What we don’t publish are strictly religious articles, explaining why some things are haram or halal for example.
| 7. What role do you see MVSLIM play in today’s world, taking in current events?
I get a lot of messages from non-Muslims, saying that MVSLIM truly opened their eyes, that they’ve learned a lot about the Muslim community and that it’s not at all what they thought it was. Those messages really motivate me to keep going, because it means that we are really make a difference. On the other hand, I also see how MVSLIM actually influences other Muslims to do something, to fight for their goals and to keep going until they’ve achieved them. I love spreading the stories of role models, hoping that this generation of young, creative Muslims can inspire the next one.
| 8. What is one thing that you learned from starting this platform that you could give as advice to someone starting something similar?
Ask advice from others, but don’t let them decide for you. A lot of people gave me some great advice, which has helped me a lot. But at the end of the day, it’s you who needs to decide which direction is the right one.
| 9. What does MVSLIM stand for?
It stands for a platform that will hopefully keep inspiring the world. If you’re referring to the V, we keep that to ourselves for now 😉