A road safety campaign featuring a cartoon child wearing a religious headscarf has dropped the images after complaints that they sexualise children.
The character, four-year-old Razmi, was depicted wearing the hijab – which is traditionally worn by Muslim women after reaching puberty as a sign of modesty – in books and online stories as part of the £2m Transport for London Children’s Traffic Club London.
Critics argue that by suggesting she should cover her head for boys, the character encourages young girls to grow up too quickly.
Speaking to The Times, human rights activist Gina Khan said: “You are sexualising a four-year-old girl. It is as simple as that.
“The reason a female is covered is so men don’t look at her. How can you integrate into society if you have a four-year-old wearing a hijab?”
TfL launched the campaign in 2015 as a free safety education programme aimed at children aged three and four, and their parents and guardians. It also comes with a free app containing road safety advice and games.
More than 66,000 children have joined the club across London.
The stories feature children from all backgrounds, including Razmi.
TfL apologised for any offence caused and said the images will be removed from the campaign. London Mayor Sadiq Khan, chair of TfL, also apologised for the campaign.
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