Times report ‘Christian girl’ mistreated by ‘Muslim foster carers’ rejected by council investigation
In August, the right-wing Murdoch-owned Times published an article headlined: “Christian child forced into Muslim foster care.” The article led with the line: “A white Christian child was taken from her family and forced to live with a niqab-wearing foster carer in a home where she was allegedly encouraged to learn Arabic.”
The claims made in the article prompted Tory MP Philip Hollobone to call for the child’s heritage to “be respected by the foster family, whatever their own faith happens to be,” before adding that “the council needs to review this case urgently.” In turn, Hollobone’s fellow Tory MP, Andrew Bridgen, said: “This just feels wrong. This is the wrong decision for the long-term welfare of the child,” according to the Daily Mail.
The article prompted an investigation by a senior social worker at the council, who conducted supervised interviews with the child and her maternal grandmother, both of which formed the basis of the investigation. The child was temporarily placed in two Muslim households in succession, while her maternal grandmother awaited approval of her request for custody.
Allegations that during her time in care the girl had her “cross removed” were refuted in the council report’s findings. “The child had not gone to the first placement with that crucifix. This investigation found that the child had most likely lost her crucifix before she was placed,” the council report said. A second crucifix that the child owned is in the possession of her maternal grandmother, after social workers deemed it too valuable for the child to possess.
The investigation further noted: “With regard to the allegation that the child was unable to eat pork / ham, Tower Hamlets found that there had been no rejection of food brought for the child by the mother for religious reasons.”
Claims that the child was “made to speak Arabic” and that “the foster carer had made derogatory statements about European women” were, among other allegations, refuted.
The council noted that the child’s maternal grandmother has been “distressed and angered by the allegations against the foster carers which she has said were false and lies.” The child told her grandmother that “she is missing the foster carer and has asked the MGM [maternal grandmother] if she can have contact with the family.”
The investigation concluded: "Although the mother disputes the findings, the Local Authority is satisfied that at all times the foster carers provided warm and appropriate care to the child. The Local Authority has been impressed with the care and commitment shown by the carers to the child.”
The Times did not respond to RT’s request for comment.