Finding cultural diversity in trending social media can be a challenge. To help, this is a list of seven Islamic Youtubers who defied the norms and earned their fame vlogging.
Karim Metwaly – Karim Jovian
Karim is an Egyptian-American living in New York City raised by Sunni Muslim parents. He uses his Youtube channel to bring attention to the challenges facing Muslims as the result of racism. His hidden-camera social experiment videos highlight how people often react differently towards Muslims than the rest of the population. Some of these videos have gone viral, including “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman in Hijab.”
Karim’s channels also feature sketch comedy, pranks, and music videos parodying trending pop songs. He has several channels, including a gaming channel and vlog in addition to his main channel.
Kassem was born in Jordan and spent the early years of his life in Saudi Arabia before his family moved to Florida. He was raised in a Muslim household but does not practice the Islamic faith. He currently lives in California, where he films interviews with people on Venice Beach for his channel “California On.” His other channel “Going Deep” features interviews with adult film stars.
Before starting his Youtube channels in 2006, Kassem performed stand-up comedy at restaurants on weekends. He has since co-founded Maker Studios, which sold to Disney for $500 Million. His Youtube channels have amassed almost 2.5 million subscribers and his channel “California On” won the Streamy award for Best Host in 2013.
Dina Torkia – Dina Tokio Vlogs
This beauty and fashion vlogger stands out from the rest of Youtube’s beauty community by wearing a hijab. Dina is a half-Egyptian, half-British Islamic Youtuber living in the UK. Instead of seeing her devout dress style as a hindrance to her fashion channel, she highlights it. Dina has posted several videos on turban-wrapping styles, hijab fashion advice, and halal nail polish reviews.
Dina is very outspoken about women’s rights and racism in Europe through her social media platforms. In a recent interview, she discussed how misunderstood the choice to wear a hijab is among Westerners and is firm that she wears it for her religion rather than as a submission to men. Still, she has anxiety over wearing her hijab in less-discrete styles for fear of being targeted for her Islamic faith.
Adam Saleh – Adam Saleh Vlogs
Adam was born and raised in New York City to Yemeni parents. He is a successful vlogger and rapper with an estimated net worth of $2.5 million. Along with being an Islamic Youtuber, he actively promotes Islam across other social media platforms. While most of his channel focuses on comedy and prank videos, he also posts videos about challenges facing Islamic Americas. A recent video documents him and a friend being kicked off of a Delta flight supposedly for speaking Arabic.
Some of Adam’s social experiment videos have come under fire for being staged. After the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) helped publicize one of these videos as an example of Islamophobia, it was later revealed to be a re-creation of alleged events. CAIR since issued a harsh statement about the fake videos causing more distrust against Islamic Americans.
Yousef Erakat – FouseyTube
Yousef, better known as “Fousey,” is a Palestinian-American raised in California. His success as a Youtube performer was no accident. Yousef studied theater arts in college before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He since started his youtube channel FouseyTube in 2011 featuring himself playing the energetic, mischief-minded character “Fousey.” While his later videos mostly feature pranks, his earlier sketch comedy videos focus on Islamic and Muslim stereotypes.
Yousef has been open in his videos and interviews about his struggles with religious and cultural identity. He has also talked about how this affects his mood disorders and addiction, and how he is working to improve his life. In 2015, his channel won the Streamy Award for Show of the Year.
Huda Kattan – Huda Beauty
Huda is an Islamic beauty vlogger. She was raised in Oklahoma by Iraqi parents and now lives in Dubai. When Huda was in grade school, she started wearing heavy make-up as a coping mechanism against being bullied for her ethnicity. She later turned those skills into a career by studying cosmetology in Los Angeles. While looking for work in the industry, she started her beauty vlog on Youtube, which now has over 2 million subscribers.
Huda’s make-up skills earned her a place working at Revlon and led her to start making her own eyelash extensions and other beauty products. In 2016, she launched her own make-up brand, Huda Beauty, with her sisters Alya and Mona.
Salman Khan – Khan Academy
Chances are high that if you took a higher-level math or science class in the past fifteen years, you know the channel “Khan Academy.” Salman Khan started the channel in 2006 to share tutoring videos with his Bangladeshi family and it has grown to over 4 million subscribers. He was raised in New Orleans and now lives in the Bay Area after earning his education in the Northeast. He studied at MIT and Harvard and has two Master’s degrees.
Most Kahn Academy videos focus on math and science, but Sal and his team post on a variety of subjects including exam preparation, history, and economics. A 2017 video even covered a short explanation of the Muslim faith and the 5 Pillars of Islam. Salman is currently developing software to aid classroom learning and was given $16.5 million dollars by Bill Gates and others to advance the project.
Are there any Islamic Youtubers that you follow? If you are of Islamic heritage, are there any Youtube channels that you relate to or go to for support when faced with prejudices? We’d love to hear from you!