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Muslim version of Barbie creating "Fulla fever"


(BP) - As many Muslims in the Middle East tend to be appalled by the sex-drenched American culture, one toymaker has unearthed a gold mine of sorts by offering an alternative to the curvy blonde American icon known for decades as Barbie.

Fulla, a dark-eyed doll with "Muslim values," emerges from her shiny pink box wearing a black abaya and matching headscarf, The New York Times reported Sept. 21, and is accompanied by a tiny prayer rug made of pink felt.

Girls in the Middle East are overtaken by Fulla fever, begging their parents for everything from Fulla breakfast cereal, Fulla bikes, Fulla backpacks and Fulla chewing gum to girl-size prayer rugs and scarf sets in Fulla pink, The Times said.

To help convey Fulla's values, a cartoon image of the doll glides across the screen in commercials on children's television in the Middle East, The Times reported, saying her prayers as the sun rises, baking a cake to surprise her friend and reading a book at bedtime. All this as high-pitched voices sing the Fulla song in Arabic, with lyrics like, "She will soon be by my side, and I can tell her my deepest secrets."