A Government-funded group has produced a magazine for children in care which appears to depict a thuggish ‘Christian’ boy bullying a Muslim girl and calling her a terrorist.
In a cartoon strip called ‘Standing up for what you believe in’, a smiling Muslim girl wearing a hijab is pointed at by a boy wearing a large cross who says she looks like a terrorist.
In a later scene he says: “Hey, whatever your name is, what are you hiding under your turban?”
The girl tells him that her hijab is part of her religion, “like that cross you wear”.
The charity which produced the magazine, the Who Cares? Trust, has insisted that the cross was jewellery, not a religious symbol.
But critics say the cartoon deliberately highlights the religious significance of the cross.
The magazine is aimed at pre-teens in care. In the last three years the Who Cares? Trust has received more than £250,000 in taxpayer funding.
Conservative MP for South West Devon Gary Streeter has called the parody “unacceptable”. He added: “If it is being done with public money, it should be investigated and the magazine withdrawn.”
Mike Judge, of The Christian Institute, said: “What about Christian children in care who received this magazine? How will they feel to see themselves mocked as narrow-minded Islamaphobes?
“It is a clumsy caricature, symptomatic of a culture which says it is OK to bully Christians in the name of diversity.”
Philip Hollobone, the Conservative MP for Kettering, said: “I think it is very unfortunate that the lad who is pointing the finger is wearing a cross.
“You can hardly imagine anyone producing a magazine in which the roles were reversed and it was the Muslim girl who was behaving badly.”
But the Chief Executive of the Who Cares? Trust, Natasha Finlayson, said she had gone back to the cartoon after receiving a complaint and saw nothing wrong with it.
“When I saw the cartoon, I didn’t think of that character being a Christian because I saw the cross as ‘bling’, as jewellery.
“To me it is a cartoon about bullying rather than discrimination or religion.”