I am proud to present the first interview to be hosted on the Guide to Muslim Children’s Books and Media. Last month I posted a review of the Muslim American Girls MAGazine, a magazine for Muslim girls 8-16. Today I share my interview with its Editor.
Assalamu ‘alaykum Shabnam. I have been reading about your dedication and focus in preparing a magazine for Muslim girls and young women like yourself. I must say it is very impressive. Masha’Allah. I would like you to share some of your thoughts with us today as I ask you some questions.
Cover of March/April 2010 issue of the Muslim American Girls Magazine
Why did you start the Muslim American Girls MAGazine?
I started the MAGazine because there was nothing to read that was particularly for Muslim girls at the time. I loved reading magazines, and I wanted one that I could relate to. So I made my own!
What are three words you can use to describe yourself?
Smart, kind, and friendly. I am a straight-A student, I am nice to people, and I love to make friends!
What are some of the challenges you have faced in starting and publishing this magazine? How did you deal with them?
The biggest challenge was getting the word spread about my magazine. In the first year or so, it felt like no one was reading my magazine, and I was just putting random articles on the Internet. Then I started emailing Muslim businesses and telling them my story. Today, there are a few articles published in magazines and websites about MAG.
Another challenge was getting people to contribute. Once I almost quit making the magazine because I felt no one was reading and no one was contributing. But now I have an editorial board and lots of eager Muslim girls who are helping create the magazine!
What has the response to the online version of the magazine been like? How is it different to what you were producing before?
The response has been great! Subscription inquiries are received every day. Readers have really liked it. Before, an issue had around six articles, all on the same web page. The articles had few pictures and sometimes were hard to read. Now, since MAG is in a “magazine” format, it is easier to read and enjoy!
Can readers access past issues of the magazine? How?
If readers would like to access past issues, they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send them links to the past issues. I am also planning on making an online booklet with all of the past issues put into one.
Contents Page of March/April 2010 Issue of the MAGazine
What are some of the topics to be covered in your magazine in the upcoming months?
I can only say what will be coming in the May/June issue right now. Topics will include: stress management, animal testing, writing opportunities, and an interview with an influential Muslimah!
What are some of the ways in which girls and young women make a contribution to the magazine?
Anyone can contribute anything to MAG! They can submit fiction and true stories, informational articles, poetry, artwork, photography, reviews, interviews, and much more! To see all of the things that you can contribute, please visit our website, muslimamericangirls.com.
What advice can you give to any young person trying to do something like you have been doing?
Stick with it! Don’t give up! I actually did for a few months in 2007-2008. Now I realize how much I would have lost if I had stopped publishing issues right then. Also, don’t let anything hold you back. Some have said that I am too young and I can’t handle all of the work. But I ignored them and kept going. Look where I am now! You can have your dream come true, too!
Thank you for your time Shabnam. May Allah reward you for your excellent work and efforts.