A familiar doll for children in conservative Muslim societies, the new Barbie doll in Hijab has turned into a hit. It has gone into mass production and is on sale in many Gulf Arab countries. What makes this Barbie doll, named Jenna, different from the others in the global markets is that the ‘Muslim’ Barbie also fluently recities verses from the Quran.
The Jenna doll is the brainchild of French businesswoman and mother Samira Amarir. According to her, she was struggling to teach her kid proper Islamic values in a non Islamic nation. Samira began hunting for appropriate toys that would teach her 2-year-old daughter basic Islamic values, but her efforts were in vain.
It was after this futile search session that she decided to create such a doll all by herself.
In Samira words:
The idea was to come up with a toy that would enable her to learn the ‘Quran’ fast and easily while she plays.
Developed specifically for children, the Jenna Barbie recites four shorter chapters of the holy ‘Quran’ that are easy for children to memorize.
Unlike other Barbie dolls, Jenna has a darker skin tone and she wears a purple robe along with a hijab or headscarf.
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For me it was important that the doll would show something my daughter can recognise herself in, or recognise her mother at least.
Jenna dolls are up for sale in the markets of the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.