“Injecting some fun into young children’s Islamic study”
A ‘Muslim Doll’ to help Asian immigrant children learn Quranic Arabic will on sale in Asda next month, as the supermarket group launches a major drive into the ethnic market.
The dolls are the creation of a former Goldman Sachs banker determined to inject some fun into young children’s Islamic study.
The 18 inch high soft doll, packaged as “Talking Muslim Doll”, speaks various phrases if you squeeze their foot, with the girl doll saying: “As-Salamu’Alaikum,” the traditional islamic greeting, “my name is Aamina and I am a Muslim.”
The boy doll, called Yousuf, comes wearing a mosque cap. Both say essential Quranic words, phrases and surahs (prayers) and, crucially, translate the Arabic sentences into English.[…]
Noor Ali, Ethnic non-food buyer at Asda, said: “The dolls are just a small part of our expansion into ethnic non-grocery arena. Our ethnic food range has seen a 90 per cent increase year on year and we see a big opportunity for further growth.”
If successful, the range including the dolls will be rolled out across any Asda store in an area with a high proportion of ethnic customers.
The Â£24.99 Muslim Dolls are primarily aimed at Asian families that want their English speaking children to have a good grasp of the Arabic phrases that will hear at home or in a mosque.
Mrs Rahman has three children under the age of 8 and started the company when she had twins two years ago and decided to leave her job as a fund manager at Goldman Sachs.
She admits that the dolls have caused a few Islamic people to express concerns she is trivialising the learning of the Quaran, and is nervous — in the week of the Golliwog row — how they will be perceived.
But she is confident that most people will realise they are fun. “There are a lot worse things you could buy for your children. They are certainly far more educational than most video games,” she said, adding that her research showed the wife of Mohammed had played with dolls.
Like any 9 year-old girl.