The Salam Sisters are five little dolls with big dreams and aspirations.
Peter Gould, 36, from Australia, cofounded Zileej, the company that makes the dolls. He told BuzzFeed News the idea started with his daughters.
“As a Muslim parent and speaking with other Muslim parents I hoped for a toy that would be more representative and inclusive, at the same time super cool and fun,” he said.
The aim of the dolls is for girls to feel represented, which is why the dolls represent different ethnicities with a range of hair textures. “We want young girls who don’t often see their cultural identities and faith represented in a relatable way, to know that they can be proud of their background,” he said.
Each of the dolls — Nura, Maryam, Karima, Yasmina, and Layla — represent a range of interests, like becoming a fashion designer, a surfer, or an astronaut.
One of the dolls is based on Yassmin Abdel-Magied, the Australian activist. He said: “We drew inspiration not only from Yassmin’s achievements, but from many different women to create our characters.”
Something that was very important to creators was that the hijabs should be optional to accommodate personal choice. Gould continued: “It was important to us to provide the option of a headscarf to make that immediate visual link to the Islamic faith, and to show young girls that making the choice to be visibly Muslim can be celebrated in a beautiful way.”
Ikran is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Ikran Dahir at email@example.com.
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