Omani makeover of American doll

Muscat: The new representative of peace is a snuggly toy.

A group of Americans are helping a local crafting guild by bringing sewing patterns for the beloved ‘American Girl’ doll so they can make traditional Omani clothes for the doll.

“These toys are sold all over the country. It will be beautiful to bring back some clothing made by Omani women to show how peaceful, warm and welcoming this country is,” said a visitor from New York. “My niece has one, it is very popular,” Justin Meyers, associate director of Al Amana Centre said, adding that dressing the doll with clothes “which are authentically Omani will be interesting.”

In a bid to boost understanding between cultures and religions, Al Amana Centre brings groups from the United States and Europe to visit Oman.

“We work to help Muslims and Christians to better understand each other,” said Justin Meyers.

He said that the groups coming to the Sultanate get to learn about the Arab culture and Islam.

“We want our guests to go back to the States with good stories about Muslims in a hope to change minds and perceptions about the Muslim world,” he said.

“Most of the perceptions we get about Muslims are from the TV and movies. People should know how loving, kind, generous and peaceful they are,” he said, while stressing that Muslims and Christians need to hear good stories about each other.

Around 60 people visited to Oman through Al Amana programmes this year, according to Meyers.

“These are short eight-to-ten-day visits focusing on religious dialogue and understanding each other,” Meyers, who has been working in Oman since 2013, said.

Meyers works in the office where the beloved Dr. Wells Thoms used to work.

He was the first American doctor to serve in Oman who had grown up in the country.

Under Dr. Wells Thoms’ leadership, the American hospitals of Muttrah and Muscat added buildings and medical specialties.

In 1960 the hospitals handled 90,000 medical cases, according to Al Amana Centre website.

Dr. Thoms was here to heal the bodies; am here to heal the tensions between people so we can all live peacefully together,” he said.