London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also chairman of Transport for London (TfL), has issued a belated apology for depicting -- in an advertisement launched by the Children's Traffic Club London (created by TfL to promote traffic safety) -- a small girl in a headscarf as representative of a Muslim minor. In Islam, headscarves are not usually worn until a girl has reach puberty. The Independent reported: "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".
The apology, however, sounds more like just lip service: none of the British authorities has bothered to notice the escalating trend of making Muslim baby girls wear a veil.
It took a campaign advertisement to make them realize how a headscarf, the hijab, a symbol of modesty, might be abusive to the minor girls by seemingly sexualizing them at an early age.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan issued a belated apology for depicting -- in a public-service ad -- a small girl in a headscarf as representative of a Muslim minor. (Image source: Transport for London, Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Muslim parents of these baby girls, as well as the schools run by Muslims, are mainly responsible for the increase in the frequency of veils for increasing younger girls, even though to may, the requirement is nothing short of a child abuse.
The reaction of British authorities to this controversial practice was in the general mode of, "We cannot endorse this nonsense, but if you want to carry on discriminating against your girls in the name of your belief system, we will not stop you".
The current and growing trend of concealing even baby girls in the name of a religion, and then indoctrinating them, needs more than just an apology -- both from the government and the so-called left-wing fringe. It is precisely their decades-long pattern of accommodating these extremist Muslims that has led to such degenerate behavior.
It is the height of irony -- and a low state of affairs -- that even government authorities have fallen prey to the propaganda of extremists who are now covering even their infant girls with a headscarf -- and selling that practice as a symbol of modesty.
The civilized world should dread the day when burqa-clad girls and women will take over representing Muslim women. It is this attire that represents the coercive ideology that aims to subjugate women through and violence and threats of violence.
What is fortunate is that a traffic awareness campaign gone wrong exposed the plight of these girls: Islamic schools, run by the fundamentalists under the shadow of apologetic British authorities, had encouraged hiding them.
Heartbreakingly, so many people, often well-intended, seem carried away by the pro-veil campaigns of these Muslim extremists. They not only market their demands to conceal women as a symbol of modesty; they also brainwash young girls that those who do not wear these burqas or hijabs have a baser character.
In the West, where people are allowed to wear what they wish, putting a woman behind a veil looks like anything but "modesty". It looks more like coercion, control and domination.
"It's like a cage. I wish men could also be trapped like this so that they would understand how much we suffer," said a woman in Afghanistan.
The extremists who hide girls are robbing them of their childhood.
How is it that we never see demands for legislation to ban dragging young girls into a system of misogynistic beliefs?
The West accepts pampering these extremists in the name of freedom of expression, when these extremists themselves do not believe in any such freedom. Many in the West, in fact, have been trying to knock down the humane laws of the civilized world to have them with the restrictive Islamic laws of Shariah.
Muslim private schools in Britain are increasingly inspired by the Islamist ideology, which promotes beating women; killing homosexuals, apostates and blasphemers; discouraging any kind of interaction with non-Muslims; eradicating Jews and spewing hatred against people of other faiths.
In 2014, an inquiry by Ofsted, the body that regulates schools in England, to inspect the teachings of Muslim private schools, emerged with findings that are devastating. According to Ofsted, some children were unable to understand the difference between Sharia Law and British Law, and sounded more committed to religious teachings than to British laws.
That extremists get away with such manipulations seems directly connected to the lack of any legal means to curb extremist practices by conservative Muslims. Objectionable behavior is simply ignored. A British court in 2016, for instance, ruled that Ofsted was "erroneous" in viewing the segregation of boys and girls in an Islamic school as discriminatory.
Female genital mutilation, despite having been banned since 1985, takes place in the UK every hour. This criminal behavior is made possible only by the British authorities' indifference.
Just calling some practices illegal clearly does not deter anyone, unless it is followed by tough action and harsh sentences against those who violate the law.
Official, willfully-blind, political correctness is causing irreparable damage to those girls. They are being simultaneously sexualized and ranked as sub-human by these pseudo-religious and cultural practices.
Mayor Sadiq Khan did the right thing by apologizing for the misguided ad campaign -- the same way he earned respect from Londoners by supporting equality for LGBTQ community.
Now we please need him to support tough legislation to ban discrimination against Muslim children under the excuse or religious beliefs -- even if that could mean offending some of his friends.
Khadija Khan is a Pakistani journalist and commentator, currently based in Germany.