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Friday, December 05, 2008

Mattel's "Islam Is The Light" Doll

See also subsequent Press Release: Moms Ask Mattel For Accountability

Generating more heat than light...
From an email I received:
PARENTS ASK MATTEL TO REMOVE
"ISLAM IS THE LIGHT" DOLL FROM STORE SHELVES
MATTEL WEBSITE AUDIO DIFFERENT FROM ACTUAL DOLL AUDIO

For more information, contact:
Denise Lee or Christine Brim: labelthatdoll@gmail.com; www.labelthatdoll.com
December 2, 2008 - Washington, DC: A new parents organization, Moms Ask Mattel for Accountability (MAMA), is waging a campaign this December to convince stores to stop selling a Mattel talking doll that says "Islam is the light." The controversial toy is called the "Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle & Coo" doll, manufactured by Mattel-Fisher Price. MAMA has written to Mattel asking them to remove the doll, and has filed formal complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SEC COMPLAINT ABOUT MATTEL "ISLAM IS THE LIGHT" DOLL

The MAMA complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission is based on MAMA's investigative research comparing an audio file of the sound made by an actual doll, to the audio file posted at Mattel's corporate "Investors and Media" webpage since October 13, 2008. The Mattel audio file can be found at http://investor.shareholder.com/mattel/ . The Mattel audio file differs significantly at the phrase "Islam is the Light" from the audio made by an actual doll. The audio files and waveform research is posted at http://www.labelthatdoll.com/audio-comparison/ .

The MAMA letter to the SEC states, "We think it is in the public interest for the actual sound file to be posted at the Mattel website. We also think it is in the public interest for Mattel to explain what appear to be significant discrepancies in the sound file they have had posted at the Investors page since October 13, 2008."

FTC COMPLAINT ABOUT "ISLAM IS THE LIGHT" DOLL

The MAMA complaint to the FTC states that "the doll's packaging and advertising is deceptive in that it does not alert parents that the doll says 'Islam is the light.' This statement is materially important to parents as post-9/11 consumers."

The MAMA FTC complaint continues:

(full FTC and SEC letters here: http://www.labelthatdoll.com/take-action/6-mama-letter-to-ftc/ )

"The lack of notice to parents about the doll statement that "Islam is the light" meets all three of the FTC tests for deception cited in the Dingell letter (in quotes below):

1) "Certain elements undergird all deception cases. First, there must be a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer." In the case of the doll, the omission of any notice to parents that the doll will say to their children "Islam is the Light" is likely to mislead the consumer. Numerous print and television news stories since early October 2008 document that many consumers have unwittingly purchased the doll, discovered it made the statement and noted that they would not have purchased the doll if they knew what it would say to their child.

2) "Second, we examine the practice from the perspective of a consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances. If the representation or practice affects or is directed primarily to a particular group, the Commission examines reasonableness from the perspective of that group." We suggest that it is reasonable in the circumstances for a non-Muslim parent not to want their child to be proselytized to join Islam or - at the simplest level - to hear statements that "Islam is the light." Since the Muslim population of the United States is estimated at between 2 and 6 million, and the doll is being marketed to the entire American public through major retailers such as Walmart, Kmart, Target, Shopco and others, most of the group affected is non-Muslim, and it is their perspective that should define "reasonableness."

3) "Third, the representation, omission, or practice must be a "material" one. The basic question is whether the act or practice is likely to affect the consumer's conduct or decision with regard to a product or service. If so, the practice is material, and consumer injury is likely, because consumers are likely to have chosen differently but for the deception." ...

.... We suggest that the omission of notice to parents that the doll makes the statement "Islam is the light" is indeed likely to "affect the consumers conduct or decision with regard to a product..." on at least two important areas that are materially important:

1. First, because the Islamic law of Shariah is so injurious and discriminatory for girls, it is materially important to parents if a doll invites their little girl to join Islam.

2. Second, it is materially important to any post-9/11 American consumer to know if a doll is proselytizing for Islam, especially to young children, especially without notice to parents when they expose the child to the doll's statements.

MAMA CAMPAIGN TO REMOVE DOLL OR LABEL IT

The MAMA campaign started on "Black Friday," the big shopping day after Thanksgiving, in Virginia and has expanded to other states in the last few days. The MAMA campaign website - http://www.labelthatdoll.com - provides resources for parents, including an educational information packet with labels that they can print out, to bring to store managers. Parents can also report cases at the website for non-responsive stores where the store manager has not removed the doll, for follow-up by the MAMA coalition. MAMA also provides links to articles about the Islamic authoritative legal doctrine of Shariah, which discriminates against and brutalizes Muslim and non-Muslim women and girls. Parents who understand the facts about the doctrine of Shariah's treatment of girls and women, will be better educated consumers when confronted with a doll stating to their little girl that "Islam is the light."

The MAMA campaign asks store managers either to remove the doll from the shelves, or to label it with MAMA's neutral labels stating "Notice: This doll says 'Islam is the Light,' an invitation to your child to join Islam." Until store managers remove the doll or label it, uninformed parents may continue to purchase the doll with no knowledge that it will tell their child "Islam is the light." A small number of newer dolls do not state the phrase, but most dolls on store shelves appear to be equipped with the "Islam is the Light" audio soundtrack.

The MAMA campaign website also calls for support from Muslim parents who oppose Shariah as a political-legal doctrine. Many Muslims came to the United States specifically to escape Shariah, and understand the problems posed by Shariah to civil liberties especially for girls and women. The "Contact" page states, "We hope that they agree with us that using an unlabeled doll to perform "Dawa" -calling children to join Islam, with no notice to parents that the toy performs this function - is highly inappropriate and offensive. We also encourage Muslim parents to join our efforts to get the doll recalled by Mattel or at least labeled before being put on shelves."

The MAMA campaign will continue through the Christmas and Hanukkah holiday shopping season, and into 2009 as needed.

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