Paper accused of ‘generating hatred’ in a Muslim report
One of the most widely covered reports in the UK today concerns a ‘white Christian’ child’ aged five who was ‘forced’ to adopt an Islamic lifestyle by a ‘niqab wearing foster carer’.
Prompted disbelief and outrage directed both at the subject discussed as well as the article itself.
The child was was allegedly encouraged to learn Arabic and forbidden from eating bacon. She and was also made to remove a necklace of a Christian cross.
The case, according to the Times, occurred in the “scandal-ridden borough of Tower Hamlets” in East London.
Said the Huffpost:
Unsurprisingly the story stoked outrage and has been described as ‘horrifying’ and even ‘child abuse’ and ‘endangering the girl’s soul’.
One person angered by the tone of the Times report tweeted:
The @thetimes FP reads like a UKIP/BNP scare story. Only serves to generate hatred and perpetuate crude stereotypes of Muslim foster carers.
This is bizarre. ‘Allegedly encouraged to learn Arabic’. You’d never hear of a child ‘allegedly encouraged’ to learn French.
As far as I can tell, none of the papers that rehashed the Times report harked back to a case in 2008 when a devout Christian foster carer was struck off by Gateshead Council after a Muslim girl in her care decided to convert to Christianity.
The woman, who can only be identified as “ED” was deregistered for failing to prevent the teenager from getting baptised, even though the girl was then 16 and had made up her own mind to change religion.
“ED”, who has fostered more than 45 children, brought a Judicial Review against the Council after she had exhausted every other available avenue, and, with the help of the Christian Institute, won her case in 2010. At that time court order protecting the identity of the girl “NS” was still currently in force.
The carer’s solicitor said:
Gateshead finally accepted they had acted illegally. At the heart of this case is a young person’s right to choose her faith and a foster carer’s right to practice her faith.
“NS” was placed with the carer at her own request. She had suffered physical abuse from her father and he was undergoing a criminal prosecution as a result. “ED” was asked to provide “a culturally and religiously appropriate environment for the young woman. This included the provision of halal foods and assistance to her to obtain appropriate clothing”.
“NS” indicated to her carer that she would choose her own dress and food. She tended to chose the non-traditional option.
The girl’s social worker was clearly aware of the fact that the child was attending a church, and no issue was raised regarding her attendance. The authorities were informed that the girl intended getting baptised, but officials later ruled that “ED” should have prevented the baptism.
She was expected to actively discourage “NS” from attending church. The advice included the following:
Do not transport ‘NS’ to Church.Encourage her to visit friends or partake in other activities which a 16 year old would normally partake in.
In 2009 “NS” wrote to the local authority and made a formal complaint about the way she and her foster carer had been treated regarding her baptism. In a letter Gateshead apologised to the girl and concluded:
This issue has not been handled in the most sensitive and consistent manner and would like to apologise on behalf of the local authority.
Despite the apology Gateshead deregistered ED in November 2008 as a foster carer.