Barbie loses out to veiled rival

Step aside Barbie – a veiled doll with, as her creator describes it “Muslim values”, is proving a popular choice in Egypt’s toy stores.

Fulla, dressed in a traditional Islamic headscarf and overdress, comes with her own pink felt prayer rug.

Some parents who would not want to buy Barbies for their daughters are choosing to give them Fullas instead.

Creators NewBoy Design Studio launched the doll in 2003 and sales have proved strong in the Middle East.

Fawaz Abidin, the Fulla brand manager, said: “You have to create a character that parents and children will want to relate to.

“She’s honest, loving and caring, and she respects her father and mother.”

Career woman

Fulla is still single and there are no plans for an Islamic equivalent to Ken, Barbie’s former boyfriend. However, a Doctor Fulla and Fulla as a teacher are planned – both respected careers for women.

Her extensive wardrobe has been modernised for the Egyptian market to include jeans and the type of colourful headscarves worn by many young women.

Tarek Mohammed, chief salesman at Toys’r’Us in Cairo, said: “Fulla sells better because she is closer to our Arab values – she never reveals a leg or an arm.”

The surge in sales of Muslim girls’ toys, including the veiled Fulla, comes amid new enthusiasm among Muslim women for wearing the veil.

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Jan. 12, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday January 13, 2006.
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