Cartoon strip depicts Christian boys as Islamaphobe thug
A Government-funded charity is at the centre of a row after it appeared to depict Christians as Islamaphobes in a magazine aimed at children.
Last Updated: 11:47PM BST 04 Apr 2009
In a cartoon strip, a boy wearing a large cross around his neck is shown telling a friend that a smiling Muslim girl in a veil looks like a terrorist.
He later confronts her and shouts: "Hey, whatever your name is, what are you hiding under your turban?"
She replies that the garment is called a hijab and that it is part of her religion "like the cross you wear".
The girl is then shown standing up for another boy, who is being bullied, and her behaviour is contrasted with that of the boy wearing the cross.
The cartoon story, entitled Standing Up For What You Believe In, appears in the latest issue of Klic!, a quarterly magazine aimed at children in care aged from eight to 12.
Published by the Who Cares? Trust, a charity set up in 1992, it is described on the cover as "the best ever mag for kids in care" and is widely distributed by town halls.
The charity received £100,000 from the Department for Children, Schools and Families, in both 2007 and 2008, and £80,000 this year.
Although the cartoon does not specifically refer to the boy's religion, it has angered Christian groups and MPs who fear it sends out the wrong message.
Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, said: "What about Christian children in care who receive 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 Tory MP for Kettering, said: "I think it is very unfortunate that the lad who is pointing the finger is wearing the 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 Who Cares? Trust chief executive Natasha Finlayson described the cross as "bling" rather than a religious symbol. She said the charity had received one complaint.
"I am a Christian myself, so when a woman called us to complain, I went back and looked at the comic strip from her point of view," she said. "I am sorry she is upset but I don't share her view."