CAIRO –The featuring of a veiled doll with a message equating Muslims with terrorists and extremists is inviting the outrage of the Muslim community in the United States, in the latest sign of rising Islamophobia in the country.
“Nothing identifies this doll as a terrorist in the minds of the card designers other than that she wears a Hijab,” Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), wrote in an article published by the Chicago Monitor on Friday, May 3.
“Moreover, she is a smiling, non-threatening normal-looking female wearing a pink Hijab and a flower-patterned dress.
The issue started after the Muslim activist spotted a greeting card in a local store in Chicago.“The unmistakable message behind the “humor” is that even the most peaceful looking Muslims are synonymous and exchangeable with terrorists.”
Featuring a photo of a Muslim doll with a Hijab, the talking bubbles placed on top of the doll’s photo read, “The Talking Doll, Pull string for message, if you dare,” and “She’ll Love You To Death! She’ll Blow Your Brains Out!”
The inside of the card reads “Hope your birthday is a BLOW OUT!”
The troubling card is based on an actual doll designed by Desi Doll Company called “Aamina, the Muslim Doll.”
The doll teaches kids religious greetings and sayings in Arabic with messages like “Assalamu Alaikum is the Muslim greeting, and it means peace be upon you” and “Let’s play together insha’Allah, insha’Allah means if God wills it.”
The doll was the brainchild of an entrepreneurial mother of three in the hopes of better teaching her kids Urdu and Arabic
“Islamophobic generalizations and negative stereotypes often hit those who are most visibly perceived as Muslim, and women wearing the Hijab are often the group hit the hardest,” Rehab wrote.
Islam sees Hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
Targeting a small doll for young children, the greeting card was particularly repulsive to Muslims.
“My daughter loves the Aamina doll, she takes it with her everywhere,” Rehab said citing a mother of an 8 year old who was offended by the greeting card.
“You press its hands and feet and it says the sweetest things. I am appalled.”
Producing the card, NobleWorks Inc. became the first company to profit from this blatant stereotyping, Rehab wrote.
“There are those who will claim Muslims do not have a sense of humor,” he said.
“But one would like to think humor comes with (even a minimal degree of) intelligence.
“The notion that a doll, that looks like any other doll that any little girl in the world would play with, can be presented as a terrorist doll simply and only because it is a “Muslim” doll or because it has a “Muslim scarf” on its head is not what defines “funny” for a lot of people, but bigoted, ugly, idiotic, moronic, etc,” he added.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.
An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.
Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.
A recent report by the umbrella Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.