Each doll has its own backstory

Zileej, a Dubai headquartered company has fabricated a five-doll set which they hope will inspire Muslim girls to be proud of their faith . The faith-based company wants young Muslim girls to be comfortable with who they are and feel a connection with their Islamic culture. The company has already shipped out its first batch of dolls. Zileej markets the five-doll set as "Salam Sisters" dolls. The company describes its products to represent “loveable, fun, culturally diverse, incredibly motivated girls.”

In a media interview, Peter Gould, Zileej's co-founder, said the idea of making the Salam Sisters edition came after he wanted to gift his own daughters' dolls which they could relate to. According to the 36-year-old father, he is a Muslim parent, and after conferring with other Muslim parents, he wanted to create a toy which would represent and include all Muslims. The toys, he knew, must also be fun and cool to appeal to the modern young girl. Hence the Salam Sisters, going by the name of Maryam, Yasmina, Layla, Nura, and Karima were born.

The five dolls were conceptualized and created to represent all contemporary Muslim girls having diverse interests and influences. The girls portray interest across the professional spectrum, from sport to fashion and to science. Each sister symbolizes a different ethnicity, as they have different eye colors, personal style, facial features, and hair texture. The aim is to make all young girls proud of their roots. Every doll is sold with an undercap, a scarf to create unique styles, a hairbrush, and a pre-styled scarf. There is also a Salam Sisters storybook. The latter comes with an activity set which permits the owner of the doll to go deeper into each girl's world.

The personalities of the dolls and their backstories were inspired from the achievements of real-life women. The list of real-life inspirations includes Yassmin Abdel-Magied, the Muslim activist in Australia and from who one doll is named Yasmina. The backstory of the character is a leader with a proclivity for charity fundraising and by profession a photojournalist. The dolls are for the time being sold online to Australia, United States, South Africa, and United Kingdom customers. Zileej hopes to sell in Canada, Africa, Europe, and the Gulf States in near future. These dolls are starting to sell at a time when Muslims resident in Western nations continue to feel the scarring heat of Islamophobia.

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