TfL has removed a provocative children’s street safety movement that introduced a young Muslim girl sporting a hijab.
In one image in the Children’s Traffic Club movement presented a child called Razmi, who is about three or four years old, dressed in the religious veil as she had fun with her friend Maylin.
However it was rapidly called out by Muslim women’s groups for ‘sexualising’ Razmi, because the hijab is typically only put on after a girl hits puberty.
Gina Khan, an Islamic women’s rights activist, told the times that the movement was ‘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,’ she said. ‘How can you integrate in society if you have a four-year-old girl wearing a hijab?’
Shaista Gohir, chairwomen of Muslim Women’s Network UK, in addition blamed the movement of highlighting tired stereotypes about what Muslim women and girls should look like.
‘It is frustrating to see that every time a Muslim girl or women needs to be represented, she has to be shown covering her head,’ she told Sky News.
‘Why reinforce stereotypes, especially when it comes to children? Most Muslim four-year-old girls do not wear the hijab – those who want to wear it usually do so at puberty with some only adopting it due to parental and peer pressure.’
The character Razmi was shown on the TfL website, and in a children’s book that was provided to nursery schools in London.
The £2million movement was introduced in 2015 by then-mayor Boris Johnson. A representative for Sadiq Khan said he had not permitted the books.
A TfL representative said: ‘We apologise for any offence caused by this content and we will not use these designs in future. The Children’s Traffic Club was developed to help reduce casualties on London’s roads by educating pre-school children on basic road safety skills.’