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Anti-Semitism in the Arab/Muslim World

"Jewish" Barbie Dolls Denounced in Saudi Arabia

Posted: September 18, 2003

In another manifestation of Arab Anti-Semitism, a conspiracy theory in Saudi Arabia alleges that Barbie dolls are Jewish toys that are offensive to Islam and a threat to morality. According to media reports, Saudi Arabia's religious police have declared Barbie dolls a threat to morality, complaining that the revealing clothes of the "Jewish" doll are offensive to Islam.

A spokesman for the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Saudi Arabia claimed that Barbie was modeled after a real-life Jewish woman. The dolls are listed on a section of the Committee's Web site devoted to items deemed offensive to the conservative Saudi interpretation of Islam.

"Jewish Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence to the perverted West. Let us beware of her dangers and be careful," said a message posted on the site. A spokesman for the Committee said the campaign against Barbie banned for more than 10 years coincides with the start of the school year to remind children and their parents of the doll's negative qualities.

In April 2001, several Saudi Arabian religious leaders made a similar allegation against the popular Pokeman children's game, claiming the trading cards were actually part of a "Zionist conspiracy" to lure Muslim children into gambling and other "immoral" activities. ADL denounced the accusation as "outrageous and incendiary."

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Anti-Semitism in the Arab World: ADL Overview
ADL denounces claim by Muslim leaders that Pokeman game is "Jewish Conspiracy"

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2003 Anti-Defamation League