Danny Shakoj seems like a friendly fellow. All his good intentions to deter “Islamophobia” by means of this affable Imam Adam, however, are unfortunately doomed to fail. If anyone is suspicious of Islam, it is not because there are no children’s books featuring happy imams going about doing good deeds (like what imam in real life?). It is because of Muslims such as Osama bin Laden, Nidal Malik Hasan, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and so very many other Islamic jihadists. People who are aware that there is a problem with violence incited by the Qur’an and Sunnah are not going to be deterred from that awareness by the appearance of a plush toy.
Part of the problem here is that it’s unclear what is meant by “Islamophobia.” If Jessica Presinzano and Danny Shakoj mean vigilante attacks against innocent Muslims, when they genuinely occur and aren’t faked, those are never justified, but the creeps and louts who perpetrate them are unlikely to be turned away from their hatred by Imam Adam. If, on the other hand, Presinzano and Shakoj mean honest analysis of how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and hatred, the creation of yet another fictional nice Muslim is not going to change any uncomfortable truths.
“Haledon man creates book, plush toy to teach kids about Islam,” by Jessica Presinzano, NorthJersey.com, July 31, 2017:
HALEDON – With the coming Hajj season, author Danny Shakoj wants to introduce families to Imam Adam.
“Everywhere, you see different faith books and toys. There’s nothing out there for Islam,” said the book’s author, Shakoj, of Haledon.
Earlier this year he debuted his plush toy and book set to remedy the lack of products as well as help deter Islamophobia.
“Adventures of Imam Adam” was influenced by figurine-and-book combinations “Elf on the Shelf” and “Mensch on a Bench,” which respectively correspond to Christmas and Hanukkah.
The story follows Imam Adam, who packs his backpack to perform Hajj — a faith-renewing pilgrimage and one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith….
Included in the set is the hardcover book and a 12-inch plush figurine of Imam Adam dressed for adventure in jeans, red basketball shoes and a removable backpack with a prayer mat inside.
On his journey, the smiling imam breaks fast with friends, pauses for prayer and shares with those in need, highlighting each of the other four pillars of Islam— faith, prayer, charity and fasting….