CAIR-CA: TOYS TEACH RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE
Kathy Harper wanted to create a store that was welcoming to people of all faiths.
Harper's store, Star Tulip Stuffies, is best known for selling stuffed animals, but Harper has made it a store that has gifts for Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Harper began selling Muslim-themed books, games and dolls in the Redlands Mall store in February. She said it wasn't easy to find the items, but it was something she felt was important to do to make her store welcoming to people of all faiths.
"They are for understanding and tolerance," said Harper, who was raised as a Lutheran. "A lot of animosity is based on ignorance."
Part of that understanding, Harper said, can come with the Razanne dolls, which promote positive images of Muslim women. All of the dolls come with hijabs, or head scarves, and customary Muslim clothing. One version even comes with a toy laptop computer.
"These kind of dolls are good role models for the kids," said Munira Syeda, the communications coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Southern California Chapter. "A lot of the kids absorb what is in the media and are directly affected by the kind of toys they have, so it is good to have positive toys and dolls that can boost the kids' self-esteem."