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Barbie doll offensive, Saudi religious police say

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia's religious police have declared Barbie dolls a threat to morality, complaining that the revealing clothes of the "Jewish" toy — already banned in the kingdom — are offensive to Islam.

The Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, as the religious police are officially known, lists the dolls on a section of its 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, which is an arm of the Saudi government, 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.

Speaking to The Associated Press by telephone from the holy city of Medina, he claimed that Barbie was modeled after a real-life Jewish woman.

"These revealing clothes will be imprinted in their minds and they will refuse to wear the clothes we are used to as Muslims, " Sheik Abdulla al-Merdas said.