My seven-year-old inner Muslim girl is on cloud nine right now.
Why? Because there’s finally more dolls that look like me! Dubai-based Zileej is a faith-based creative company who has just released a line of five dolls in a collection they’ve named the Salam Sisters. The company hopes to inspire young Muslim girls to take pride in their faith and to become powerful, independent leaders.
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#WeekendVibes with friends 💕 sharing stories, hanging out, and planning the next big #creative project that Maryam wants to try out. Are you making anything cool this weekend? Swipe to see the cute accessories that Maryam comes with🌟 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Click link in bio to get Maryam in time for #Eid today
Zileej’s founders, Ansarullah Ridwan Mohammad and Peter Gould, want young Muslim girls, like their own daughters, to feel represented and be able to relate to their dolls.
“We want them to see that all of who they are is uniquely beautiful — even when it sounds like the world is telling them that they don’t have the perfect hair, or skin color, or size, or religion,” said Mohammad to the Huffington Post.
There are about 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, that’s 24% of the global population according to Pew Research. To accurately represent the diverse population of Muslims, the dolls come a wide range of backgrounds with interests and aspirations that include journalism, art, astronomy, sports, history and more.
With names including Layla, Karima, Yasmina, Nura and Maryam, each doll has its own personality and interests. Each character was also inspired by a real-life inspirational Muslim woman. The character of Yasmina, for example, is a photojournalist who enjoys fundraising for charities. The character is a tribute to the outspoken Australian Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied.
Zileej’s main goal is to help young Muslim woman understand that the world is theirs as well and that they matter, their voices should be heard.
The creatives behind Salam Sisters wanted to show young girls that wearing religious garb, like the hijab was a beautiful and deeply personal choice. Each of the dolls come with a storybook, a pre-styled headscarf with velcro to hold it in place, a hairbrush and an extra headscarf which they can style however they want.
It is refreshing to see representation in the world for the young generation who are still trying to claim their identity. According to researchers, hate crimes against Muslims have only increased in the years since the tragic events of 9/11. 64% of Muslims who wear religious garb surveyed by the Pew Research Center in 2017 stated that they have experienced at least one act of religious discrimination in the past year.
“We would love for all people who see the Salam Sisters to take home the message that having a welcoming mindset to diversity is a beautiful thing,” Mohammed told HuffPost about the message behind the Salam Sisters dolls.
The Salam Sisters are being sold online and reaches the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Australia, and South Africa. The company hopes to reach Canada, the Gulf States, and many more countries in Europe and Africa in the near future.