New East Digital Archive

Tajik government warns toy shops against selling ‘hijab Barbies’

Tajik government warns toy shops against selling ‘hijab Barbies’
Girls in traditional Tajik dress. Photo by Franyasan, used under a Creative Commons licence

20 December 2017

Traders in Tajikistan have been warned by officials not to sell Barbie dolls in Islamic clothing following government raids on markets and toy shops.

Retailers told US media outlet Radio Free Europe that they had been ordered to import dolls wearing traditional Tajik clothing instead.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official for state consumer watchdog Tojik-Standart confirmed that shops had been “advised” not to buy dolls wearing Islamic headscarves.

The orders come after US toy firm Mattel announced that they would start selling hijab-wearing Barbie dolls modelled on Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.

The Tajik government has been keen to crackdown on what it perceives as signs of conservative Islam, banning hijabs in government offices and schools and stopping boys under 18 from praying in mosques.

In August, the Tajik government announced the creation of a special, state-sponsored clothing commission, designed to promote “appropriate” Tajik-style clothing and to help citizens “avoid wearing foreign clothes.” Special criticism was reserved for women who wore conservative Islamic robes, who were derided for “imitating alien fashion.”

Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty