Hello Hijab project
photo: Hello Hijab

We've all heard the mantra that tolerance begins at home. Pittsburgh-area moms Gisele Fetterman and Safaa Bokhari are bringing that teaching to life with their five-year-old daughters.

Fetterman told CNN that she's intentional about the dolls her daughter Grace is allowed to play with. For instance, when Grace began wearing glasses, Fetterman bought her a doll with glasses. Grace also has a doll who uses a wheelchair and dolls from various racial backgrounds. 

"We make it a point to be very deliberate in her doll collection," Fetterman told CNN. "We want them to look like the world."

Eventually, Fetterman noticed that her daughter didn't have any Muslim dolls who wear hijabs.

She also discovered that Bokhari's daughter didn't have dolls with hijabs, although she's Muslim. The mothers decided to create Hello Hijab, an initiative that aims to educate children about Islam and the role of the hijab in the religion.

A local artist helped them create hijabs for their daughters' dolls. They then decided to expand the project through For Good, a Pittsburgh-based organization that provides creators with resources to sell products that perform a public good.

Beginning April 1, Hello Hijab will sell hijabs for dolls for $6.

All of the proceeds will be donated to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, Community Blueprint, the ACLU of Pittsburgh, and the Jewish Family & Children's Services of Pittsburgh, organizations that "protect and honor multicultural communities."

Beyond the monetary donation, both mothers hope to increase tolerance for and inclusion of Muslims in America. Bokhari told CNN that she's been discriminated against for wearing her hijab. She's even been verbally harassed. 

"We need [tolerance] in America," Bokhari said. "People are doing that because they don't know us. This is just a piece of fabric. It doesn't mean we're aliens."

Discrimination against Muslims has increased significantly in the past few years. The FBI identified 257 anti-Muslims hate crimes in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. It's a 67% increase from 2014 and considered the most hate crimes committed against Muslims since the post-9/11 era. The court-blocked national Muslim ban only exacerbated the Islamophobia running rampant.

To bridge this gap of misunderstanding, each Hello Hijab product will be sold with a card that explains what a hijab is and why it's important in Islam.

Ultimately, Bokhari wants her daughter to live in a world that's inclusive of her religion.

"My house has been flooded with hijabs to be repurposed," Bokhari told Mashable. "[These women] feel the same way as I do — feared, but filled with hope. We all want a better future for our daughters."

Creating diverse dolls is a small part of this big — and important — plan.

Revelist has reached out to Hello Hijab for comment.