A 5-year-old Christian girl in the U.K. was allegedly forcefully separated from her family and placed with Muslim foster parents who don’t speak English.
The Tower Hamlets borough placed the girl, an English-speaking U.K. native, in foster care with two Muslim families for the past six months, according to a Monday report from The Times. Confidential local authority reports said the child was extremely distressed. The girl reportedly sobbed and begged not to be taken back to her foster parents because “they don’t speak English,” and said that her foster mother took away her Christian cross necklace, told her to learn Arabic, and refused to let her eat bacon.
“This is a five-year-old white girl. She was born in this country, speaks English as her first language, loves football, holds a British passport and was christened in a church,” a friend of the child’s biological family told The Times. “She’s already suffered the huge trauma of being forcibly separated from her family. She needs surroundings in which she’ll feel secure and loved. Instead, she’s trapped in a world where everything feels foreign and unfamiliar. That’s really scary for a young child.”
The mother in the first family reportedly wore a niqab, a garment which covers the whole body except for he eyes, outside the home, while the mother in the child’s current foster family wears a burka, which conceals everything, including the eyes. The niqab and the burka typically signify fundamentalist Salafi Islam, an interpretation of Islam that rejects Western culture and values.
The girl allegedly told her biological mother at a recent visit that “Christmas and Easter are stupid,” and that “European women are stupid and alcoholic.”
Local child care authorities are required to consider the “religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background” of the child in question when making placement decisions.
The Tower Hamlets authorities have been figures of controversy, however, since U.K. authorities removed former Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman, from office in 2015 after finding him guilty of illegal electoral practices, including religious intimidation of voters via local Imams.
An Ofsted inspection report on Tower Hamlets borough’s children’s services published in April said “there are widespread and serious failures in the services provided to children who need help and protection in Tower Hamlets.”
“As a result, too many children remain in situations of actual or potential harm for too long. Insufficient scrutiny by the chief executive, the director of children’s services (DCS) and politicians has meant that they did not know about the extent of the failures to protect children until this inspection,” the report added.
The report also noted an “entrenched culture of non-compliance with basic social work standards. The local authority as a whole has failed to ensure professional accountability and, as a result, too many children have remained in neglectful and abusive situations for too long.”
The Department for Education told The Times it could not comment on cases, but did say that a child’s background must be considered when making placement decisions.
“When placing a child in a foster home, the local authority must ensure that the placement is the most appropriate way to safeguard the child and support their welfare,” a spokesman said. “A child’s background is an important consideration in this decision.”
The Times chose not to reveal the name of the child, her biological family, or her foster parents in order to protect her identity.
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