The Khaleejesque team continually ponders with the barrage of research, commercial trends, and click bait articles that have called ‘time of death’ on our respective field of publishing. With our collected knowledge, network, and experience in what is seemingly a “dying field,” we set to formulate our own research more focused on the MENA publishing scene on a global scale—namely, niche and independent publishing platforms, whether print or online, founded and staffed by young Arabs and Muslims from around the world. 

As a platform that strives to amplify the voices of creatives and activists alike, we are dedicated to sharing our findings on a burgeoning field amongst creatives of the MENA region and beyond. As traditional publishing houses increasingly diminish, these independent platforms are paving the way for a new movement—heralding a cultural paradigm shift towards an egalitarian voice in publishing far from the constraints of traditional print and online media.

As a result, we’ve published a MENA Indie Zines and Platforms feature which can be accessed here.

In addition we’ve reached out to individual Zines who have shared with us their intricate workings and their missions and visions for their platform.  

On behalf of Deen Journal, Aya Saed (founder), has answered below. 

Artwork by: Mohamed Altoum (left and right)
  • About the Platform:

The platform has been launched for a few years thus far and has been rewarding both internally with team members, but also has proven to be externally impactful. We have reached over 1,000 users and followers in our short amount of time, worked alongside 10 various artists across different mediums, and shared the work of over 100 Muslim artists on our virtual platform. Our most successful collaborations have been with the 5pillars brand, and TUNIQ, a North African design label and clothing brand. Both collaborations have been impactful both in their reach, but also in their impact in merging visual arts with physical garments. 

  • Content: what is your publication concerned with and what kind of content does it feature?

Deen Journal is a platform and incubator for contemporary Muslim artists seeking spiritual ascension through art. The platform features photographers, musicians, authors, painters and other creatives in the upliftment of Muslim allegorical symbols, folklore and artistic expression. It has thus far reached approximately 1,000 followers, and has published and released Deen cards during the month of Ramadan which curated art work and storytelling to support and inspire those fasting during the month of Ramadan. 

Artwork by: Abbas Habiballa (left), Abbas Habiballa (middle), Shirin Neshat (right)
  • The team behind the platform: 

Our founder, Aya Saed, leads the curation and execution of the work in a volunteer capacity. Aya is an attorney by training, and creative writer interested in the ways in which art can shift and interrogate public consciousness. She has curated physical arts exhibits in New York, and Washington, D.C. to uplift the work of spiritually layered art and creative work.   

The organization has collaborated with over ten artists thus far in launching physical exhibits, Instagram story takeovers, and collaborations. All artists have done so in a volunteer capacity. 

Aya Saed curates and creates a majority of the exclusive art. The platform has also partnered with various funds to purchase and acquire art.

Who We Are by Deen Journal
  • Work Space:

All members of the team work remotely.

Images courtesy of the Deen Journal.

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