Greeting card turns children’s “Muslim” doll into “Terrorist” doll

By Ahmed Rehab

We missed the humor:  CAIR-Chicago spotted this troubling greeting card (pictured below) in a local store.

The card features a photo of a Muslim doll with a Hijab (headscarf) that many Muslim women wear out of religious observance. The 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 card is produced by NobleWorks Inc. with credit for its design given to “Ron Kanfi” according to the company’s website, www.nobleworkcards.com. The motto of the company printed under their logo on the back of the card is “modern cards for modern people.”

Notice that nothing identifies this doll as a terrorist in the minds of the card designers other than that she wears a Hijab. Moreover, she – like many Muslim girl who choose to wear the Hijab – is a smiling, non-threatening normal-looking female wearing a pink Hijab and a flower-patterned dress. The unmistakable message behind the “humor” is that even the most peaceful looking Muslims are synonymous and exchangeable with terrorists.

To make matters more disturbing, the card is based on an actual doll designed by Desi Doll Company (www.desidollcompany.com) 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 entrepreneurial mother of three who left a cushy job to found this company in the hopes of better teaching her kids Urdu and Arabic probably could not have fathomed that a benign and even laudable endeavor could be twisted into such a bigoted excuse from humor to by another entrepreneur who does not seem as concerned with the message he would be conveying to his own children, let alone hers.

From the company website:

My name is Farzana Rahman and I am the founder of The Desi Doll Company. I am mother to our daughter Zahrah and twin boys, Sami and Zain; my inspiration. It all started when my daughter was 2 ½ years old and I was trying to find toys that would help her to speak her mother tongue, Urdu. Failing to find anything, I embarked upon designing a talking Urdu doll myself.

It wasn’t long before I realized that there was a lack of language toys for the “Desi “ languages, ie. Languages spoken in the Indian sub continent – and so the project became to design a doll that was able to speak several languages. This was a huge project! And after 2 years working on and off the project I realized I couldn’t focus on this whilst working as well.

It was only after I had my twin boys in November 2006, that I decided to swap the world of Investment banking for Toy Design and manufacturing.

Realizing that the language dolls was technically a very complex project and would take some time; I decided, in the mean time, to launch our Arabic/English talking dolls, Aamina and Yousuf , which went from design concept to shops in just 5 months, just in time for Eid 2008.


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.

Many Muslim women around the world, certainly in the US, choose to wear the Hijab as a free-willed expression of modesty and self-respect. For them, it is a message that men should address their minds and not their bodies.

And yet all too often, they have to watch themselves being portrayed as oppressed and submissive on cable network talk shows, movies, and documentaries. While on the street, they have to deal with dirty looks, jeering, or in extreme cases, even physical assault, as has been documented by several cases reported to CAIR.

Most recently, conservative right wing commentator Ann Coulter claimed on FOX News that wearing the Hijab ought to be an imprisonable offense.

I recall walking in the mall with my younger sister who chose to wear the Hijab at 18 (my older sister has not of yet); not so used to the attention, I asked her, “why are people looking at you like that?” She said “what people, I don’t even notice it anymore.”

The case of the greeting card is particularly repulsive given the sobering realization that even the  innocence of our young girls and their toys are not spared. After posting an image of the card on a social network, a mother of an 8 year old contacted me telling me how upset she is. “My daughter loves the Aamina doll, she takes it with her everywhere. You press its hands and feet and it says the sweetest things. I am appalled.”

The greeting card is not the first time the pink-scarf clad, smiling doll has been used to represent terrorism. Act For America, cited by the SPLC, CAIR, and the ADL as a hate group, posted the below image on its wordpress blog with the message, “The latest toy has hit the shops… A talking Muslim doll. Nobody knows what the hell it says, because no one has the guts to pull the cord.” NobleWorks Cards is however the first company that is profiting from this blatant stereotyping.

 There are those who will claim Muslims do not have a sense of humor. 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.

Contact the makers of the greetings card and let them know that you do NOT think that stereotyping Muslim women and girls is OK. Ask them if they would get a chuckle out of their daughters growing up exposed to messaging that criminalizes their basic identity for profit. (CAIR-Chicago has written an official letter to the company sharing its concerns.)

As always, be firm and polite.

NobleWorks Cards: 1-855-267-3163

He Who Eats Mud (local Chicago store that is selling the card): (773) 525-0616

You can contact CAIR-Chicago at 312-212-1520 or at info@cairchicago.org

Update: NobleWorks Card company also sells the “Shiite Pet Funny Greeting Card.” It pictures a scruffy bearded parody of a Chia Pet with the captions “This gift is the Bomb” and “Thrives in the Dark.” Shiism is a sect of Islam practiced peacefully by tens of millions of people around the world.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Chicago Monitor’s editorial policy.

 

21 Responses to Greeting card turns children’s “Muslim” doll into “Terrorist” doll

  1. Amin says:

    Shame on those who keep flaming the fire of hatred, and want to demonize the religion of one Billion followers.

  2. Shawn Orvis says:

    OMG!!! No pun intended. This insults not only Muslim women but Jewish women AND Catholic Nuns!!!!!! If Christians would actually read their own Bible (I am Pagan) they would know that THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO COVER THEIR HAIR ALSO!!! Unbelievable!!!!! Disgusting!!!

  3. Sulayman F says:

    My God, we’re living in a sick world.

  4. Laura says:

    Disgusting. I’m spreading the word.

  5. Don Davenport says:

    Hysterical! It won’t win an points for political correctness but it sure is totally funny and with current events, unfortunately it has a aura of truth to it.

  6. Jackson says:

    Where can I buy one!

  7. dommy says:

    pretty accurate from what i can tell.

  8. Jill says:

    Well, the Muslim extremists want publicity, so I assume they will act horrified but secretly enjoy a reason to become even more enraged.

    Meanwhile, WHERE are the moderate Muslims protesting against extremism?

  9. Ira S. says:

    It is unfortunate to say the least. In the wake of Boston, it really is not funny.

  10. kainoasgrl says:

    I like the doll lol.Muslims don’t mind disrespecting our flag

  11. Hannah says:

    I find this offensive. We are all just people, and to judge based on one’s culture – with a stereotype that the group of discussion, Muslims, don’t even fill (for there are terrorists of all kinds currently making life a living Hell for Islamic countries) – just isn’t right. It isn’t. I cannot imagine what it must be like to see this, to be associated with a single, isolated, unaffiliated group of people, and to have what was originally an innocent play toy for children corrupted in such a manner all because someone thought it would be funny. It’s not funny, it’s deplorable. I am sorry.

  12. Linda Thayer says:

    Very bad taste and not even humorous. We don’t need to divide ourselves. We have more than enough problems to solve as a nation–without creating fictitious ones. Let us pull together and us all our resources for good.

  13. Richard S. Ellis says:

    That card is disgusting! A scarf makes you a terrorist? That used to be a standard ID for an Irish woman, in movies and stories, or a Russian peasant woman, or any woman who wants to keep her head warm. If Muslim women use it as a sign of modesty, and of Muslim identity, it says nothing about their willingness to use violence. This is from the mind of the kind of person who probably never heard the word “Muslim” before 9/11, and so have no association with the religion except violence. I have known many Muslims, none of whom, as far as I know, has wanted to kill me: not even little girls. RSE

  14. A. Madooba says:

    This is kind of actions are despicable and shows how cowardly some companies and people have become towards Muslims. Muslims are the most peaceful people on earth, but have endured the most vile acts of violence committed against them and their lands. They are almost always the victims except on very rare occasions when there are some fringe groups or individuals who at times act in cohort with others and sometimes in a deliberate plan of maligning Muslims do acts that are not sanctioned by the beautiful religion of Islam.
    Muslims have been portrayed in the most negative ways yet they have stuck to their beliefs and convictions which are an open book of truth on earth for anybody who is a sincere seeker of the real truth and purpose of life.

  15. Nana Abdelkader says:

    This is absolute ignorance and racist. This would be equal to making an action figure of Adam Lanza, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in an elementary school; or one of Timothy McVeigh, a Christian right wing member who sought to punish the government by blowing up a federal building that included a day care for children. Every time there is a crime, it should be punished- not the faith or the group that the criminal belongs to. I believe we tried this before as a country and proved that it was a HUGE mistake.

  16. waqar says:

    Americans understand the language of money and the maker of this doll should simply sue the card maker on multiple offenses!
    1) for using the image of the doll without permission to do so.
    2) for demonizing and defaming the product
    3) for stereotyping innocent kinds against a religion hence spreading and propagating hate in the society using the product’s image.
    Protesting by writing to them or trying to get the media to expose this idiotic sick behavior is as futile as playing music to a deaf audience.

  17. Tom says:

    That is funny as $hit. I went to the website to buy a few. Nothing. This is CAIR Propaganda. Complete BS!

  18. lily says:

    I have contacted the company to ask if I can purchase several of these cards. Very funny. Like Christians and Jews, your religion of Islam is no more special. In the United States we have freedom of expression and speech. If this hurts your feelings, well you need to go to a country that prohibits your freedom. I would suggest Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey etcetera. Gee, all of these are Muslim countries. Get the picture??

  19. As a conservative (politically and theologically) Christian, I find this card offensive on so many levels. First, it is wrong to slander or stereotype any group. This vendor also goes after Catholics – which is equally wrong. Most Muslims, like most Catholics, are not extremists. Here in the US, most are loyal Americans who have come here seeking freedom. Indeed, I would be willing to bet that a big part of the reason we have done so well at stopping terrorist attacks since 9-11 is that loyal Muslims are reporting extremists who are involved in plotting attacks. I have huge theological differences with my Muslim friends – but I choose to respect them and love them as Christ loves them.

  20. Laura Bordas says:

    This is America is it not? Why suddenly because all mighty Obama is trying to convert America to Muslim are we being censored more and more. This is nothing more then a humorous take on a bad situation. It is funnt just like the spoofs on all other religions here. I am so tired of walking softly so as not to offend a friggen country of people who would pray over our fallen soldiers, soldiers they murdered and pray them to burn in hell. Get a grip people and stop falling into traps that take more and more of your free liberties away from you.

  21. Laura Bordas says:

    why exactly is the jhaudist offensive yet we can take the jokes on cathlic and other religions with a grain of salt? Give me a break this is all geared to upset enough ignorant people to force censorship. A joke is a joke is a joke/ This is America where the Muslims can insult us openly and where we are free to DO THE SAME!

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