Unless we blend Islamic culture into our daily lives, the gaps are likely to be filled with different cultural understandings. It is mostly how assimilation occurs. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these gaps, and Danny Shakoj just found one of them.
A new doll for Muslim children has hit the shelves in the US. The toy is aimed to fill the gap in the market, helping young Muslims better understand their faith.
Danny Shakoj, the producer of the Imam Adam toy, told NBC News on Thursday, July 20:
“We started to think, ‘What is the easy way for children to learn about Islam?’ and finally we got to this point.”
Shakoj, a Circassian Muslim who emigrated from Southern Russia, grew up in New Jersey. He complains that there are not many cultural toys or books that reflect his Islamic upbringing.
“We celebrated all the bairams and fasted for Ramadan,” he said. “But we didn’t have much for the kids to ignite the conversation with the kids.“
For this reason, he started to shape “The Adventures of Imam Adam”, a new children’s book he wrote with illustrations by artist Necdet Yılmaz.
The book is intended for children aged three and up. It tells the story of an imam who sets out to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. This imam wears traditional Islamic clothing and carries a green backpack with a folded green prayer rug.
“Often religious figures are frightening to children. That’s why our hero is a young imam who goes through different adventures to go on pilgrimage,”
“He lives in a different neighbourhood, plays football, runs across a broken bridge, has to deal with alligators.”
In the book, Imam Adam uses the five pillars of Islam to solve problems. “The book also touches on the beauties of charity and being sensitive to the environment.”
“As I was developing the product, I showed it to my younger cousins. I used to go to baby stores only to get the reactions of mothers and babies. There was honestly good feedback.”
While “The Adventures of Imam Adam” is primarily aimed at Muslim-American families, Shakoj says he hopes children of all faiths will connect with Adam’s adventures and journey.