Sesame Street unveils hijab-wearing Muslim puppet — Kermit and Big Bird worried
Sesame Garden, Baghch-e-Simsim, in Afghanistan has added a wonderful hijab wearing puppet to their cast of lovable Sesame characters.
Samantha Chang, from the Examiner, reports:
Sesame Street has unveiled a new puppet, an Afghan girl named Zari, to empower girls in an oppressive Muslim nation where women’s rights are almost nonexistent.
Zari, age 6, will be featured in Sesame Street segments about health and exercise as she aspires to become a doctor. The Afghan version of Sesame Street, called “Baghch-e-Simsim” (Sesame Garden), is the most popular children’s TV show in Afghanistan.
Zari will join the lovable Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie and of course our favorite character Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Garden in Afghanistan.
In an exclusive interview with the U.S. cast, Kermit the Frog noted, “As a Christian I am concerned about adding a Muslim to the cast. Big Bird is Jewish and he is concerned for the safety of his Afghani counterpart, who is also Jewish.”
Kermit went on to say, “We have asked that Zari not be allowed to bring a knife on set. It would not be well received, except by Taliban viewers, if Zari declared a ‘knife intifada’ against the non-Muslim cast members.” Big Bird agreed, saying, “My Jewish counterpart in Afghanistan may face the wrath of Zari, no relationship to Star Trek’s Wrath of Kahn…LOL.”
A Taliban spokesman in a short press release stated:
We welcome Baghch-e-Simsim adding the Muslim girl Zari to the cast of puppet characters.
We also are pleased that Zari is 6-years old. That is the same age of Aisha when Mohammed, may peace be upon him, married her. Zari means blossoming flower in Arabic. Our fighters are always seeking blossoming flowers on the battlefield.
We expect Zari to be properly married to one of the other characters, who must of course convert to Islam.
We have begun an online survey of Muslim boys to determine which of the Sesame characters they believe is best suited for Zari.
We will be releasing the survey results during the upcoming episode of Sesame Gardens featuring Zari titled, “How I found my inner-self and became a Muslim Shahid [martyr].”
The Puppeteers of America, founded in 1937, announced that Zari will become the “new multicultural face of the 2017 World Day of Puppetry.” However, Sharon Murphy Boski, the Northeast Regional Director of Puppeteers of America, raised concerns about Zari.
Boski states, “Representing upstate New York, we are concerned about the potential blow-back, no pun intended, by this move. While Zari is only a puppet, many see her as a threat to the puppet way of life. We have puppets who are non-Muslims and they are concerned that strings are being pulled, no pun intended, to glorify Zari over those more deserving of being recognized.”
Puppeteer Buffalo Bob Smith, along with E. Roger Muir the creator of Howdy Doody, note, “Americans love puppets who hold American beliefs. Our puppets have historically embraced Judeo/Christian values. We need to be worried about what Zari really represents. We already have a Muslim puppet in the White House? Do we really need a puppet teaching our children about Islam? Is Zari the puppet version of Tashfeen Malik?”
Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop warned, “America must embrace Islam. We are a tolerant, diverse and multicultural nation. We must acknowledge those who are different from us. Zari symbolizes what is best about Islam. Zari is a puppet of peace.”
The White House press office issued a short statement, “We have invited Zari to visit the White House to discuss Islamophobic microagression in children. We will be adding Zari to a new line of textbooks for children titled, “If Zari can do it, so can you!” We will begin a national campaign to convert elementary students to Islam in an effort to stamp out once and for all anti-Muslim microagression (AMA) exhibited in public schools.”
EDITORS NOTE: This political satire originally appeared in the Puppeteers Review magazine.
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