A Muslim father, whose three children have been raised by a christian family has been warned not to impose Islam on them during his visits.
The man aged 53, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has three children who have been looked after by a christian family. The man says he is the victim of racism. But social services say the children’s safety and security is their top priority.
The man is a sincere Muslim and has only seen his children twice in six years, however the ban has been softened but only on one condition where he would not talk about his religion to his children in a pressuring manner.
The children have been taken into custody by the christian family after the death of their mother, before her death the father had been separated from her for several years, after a unstable relationship in which both had made allegations about each other and wanted custody. During that period the children spent some time in care and the mother is said to have told the council the children were ‘not Muslim.’
Eventually the woman won the custody battle. But she died shortly afterwards following drug and alcohol abuse. since the death of the mother the father has been trying to get custody of his children but they refused to see him and chose to stay with their foster parents.
The Manchester Evening News has seen a document from Salford Children’s Services which stipulates that the man ‘agrees not to discuss the Muslim religion’ with his children during any supervised contact. It goes on to say the children ‘do not have any knowledge or consider themselves as a member of the religion’.
The document clearly states the children need to be accompanied by a staff member at all times during their visits, and the father must not ask the name or location of their school, or the location of their placement.
The father claims to have signed the document under pressure as he was desperate to see his children. The father has been to Manchester’s Family Court 13 times in an attempt to get his children back. At the latest hearing, it was confirmed that Salford Children’s Services do not see the children as Muslims – although a judge appeared to relax the conditions.
District Judge Relph said: “In the light of the court’s finding as to the children’s previous upbringing, the local authority has made it clear that it does not propose to treat the children as belonging to the Muslim faith, although the father may supply relevant information to them about his faith or discuss his beliefs with them in a non-pressurising way during future contact.”
Coun Lisa Stone, lead member for children’s and young people’s services in Salford, said: “We try very hard to keep children with their natural parents but our prime concern is children’s safety and wellbeing. The public would want us to make sure this must always come first.
“If we have serious concerns about risks to the children, we put our concerns before the court. The court takes a thorough and independent look at the council’s concerns and the family circumstances, including any risks of violence, abuse or emotional harm to the children. The court then decides if a care order is required or not.
“We understand the distress of the father but he has had access to the courts on numerous occasions which have upheld the plans of the local authority.
“This case has been before the Local Government Ombudsman who found no fault with the council’s actions.”
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