Famous program Sesame Street has welcomed a new character to their cast. The new female character is a purple-toned Muppet. She has multi-colored hair made from yarn and often appears on screen wearing a hijab. This is the first colorful character to be seen on the much-loved program.
The production team has said that the 6-year old character, which is from Afghanistan, will specifically focus on girls’ health, emotional good-being and empowerment. The character will be named Zari described as ‘eager’.
Since December 2011 in Afghanistan, a Sesame Workshop children’s series has been on the air. The show has been a huge hit with various audiences. New character Zari will be regularly appearing in the series ‘Sesame Garden’.
Dawud Walid is the Executive Director of the Council on Arab-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and suggests to producers that Zari should appear in the American series.
Walid explained how targeting younger generations when it comes to cultural diversity and development is more crucial than targeting adult audiences. The development of a person’s worldview starts at a young age, which is when learning is most essential. If younger generations embrace and understand many cultures from a young age, they are more likely to grow up respecting differences in the world.
Although Zari is the first character to appear wearing a hijab, the show is not shy about introducing international characters. Over the years, they have added muppet characters from Germany, Mexico, and Egpyt, to name only a few.
The religion of the Muppets is rarely a subject of conversation. However, producers have stated that Zari is Afghani, and there is nearly a 100% Muslim population residing in Afghanistan.