17 Jan 2012

Morality police getting tough on Barbie dolls

11:23 am on 17 January 2012

Morality police in Iran are cracking down on the sale of Barbie dolls to protect the public from what is officially seen as pernicious western culture which erodes Islamic values.

Barbie is made by Mattel Inc of the United States and the ban is part of what the government calls a ''soft war'' against decadent cultural influences.

Religious rulers first declared Barbie un-Islamic in 1996. Despite the ban, the doll has been openly on sale in shops in Tehran until recently.

But a new order was issued around three weeks ago, forcing shopkeepers to hide the dolls behind other toys to avoid being closed by the police.

Visits by the morality police have been made to stores in northern Tehran.

advising that all the Barbies have to be removed.

Merchants say a range of officially approved dolls launched in 2002 to counter demand for Barbie have not proven successful.

These dolls, named Sara and Dara, wear a variety of traditional clothes.