Muslim Girls Get Teen Magazine

There are about 400,000 teenage Muslim girls in the United States--but so far, no magazines catering to their interests and worldview, according to Ausma Khan, the editor in chief of Muslim Girl, a new title targeting that demographic that launched this month. The lack is even more curious because the audience is desirable from an economic perspective, Khan adds.

The magazine, available by subscription ($19.99) and on newsstands, anticipates a nationwide circulation of 50,000.

"Research shows they're affluent, well-educated and consume like other Americans," Khan says. Dianna Hightower, publisher and director of business development and advertising, compared teen Muslim girls to the burgeoning Hispanic market targeted by new publications like Quincenera.

Muslim Girl snagged two major advertisers for its first issue--Fox Broadcasting and Oxford University Press--and Khan said it's a good fit for clothing, sportswear, makeup, and personal products. The publishers can help advertisers choose culturally appropriate images for the audience, which is underserved by fashion advertisers. "They're always looking for fashions they can wear," adds Khan, "so that's something new and unique that our magazine can provide to clothing brands."

She claims the Muslim market is where the Hispanic market was five years ago--on the verge of a major breakout. "Households of Muslim girls comprise a valuable commercial profile with higher-than-average scores on income, education, occupation and size."

Likewise, Muslim girls' areas of interest parallel the American mainstream--relationships and accessories are universal concerns--but that doesn't mean Muslim Girl will adopt the same tone or content as its peers. The bimonthly publication will deliver culturally appropriate advice on dating, marriage and fashion to an audience that generally embraces conservative or traditional values. That means no photo spreads of shirtless heartthrobs--a staple of hormone-heavy mags like Seventeen and Cosmogirl.

Indeed, Khan said, the magazine aspires to a higher intellectual caliber. "Overall, we hope our content is going to be more substantive than other magazines targeting teen girls." For example, a feature in the first issue follows the stories of Muslim girls who joined the Peace Corps to work in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami. But there are also reviews of shows like the CW's "Gilmore Girls."

The magazine is open about its religious bent; according to proprietary research commissioned by the magazine's publishers at execuGo Media, Q'uran study is a popular pursuit of teenage Muslim girls. So the magazine includes a section called Q'uran notes to encourage and guide religious study.

A 2004 survey by Zogby International found that U.S. Muslims were better-educated and had a higher income than the average American. Ninety-five percent are high-school graduates, 60% have a bachelor's degree, and one-third of adults earn more than $75,000 a year. The Pew Global Attitudes Project released in June 2006 found higher rates of assimilation and political participation among American Muslims compared to Muslim immigrant communities in Europe, which tend to be lower-income and live in physically separate enclaves.

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