Wifaqul Ulama Public Affairs (Department)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh (Peace, Blessings & Mercy of Allah be upon You).
It makes two things very clear.
- The Times’s primary source for its inflammatory story – the mother of the ‘white, Christian child’ taken into care – was very far from being a reliable witness and no story should ever have been published based on her evidence.
- Far from being an ‘inappropriate’ placing, as the Times forcefully asserted, a Muslim foster home was probably the most familiar environment that could have been found for a child who had spent much of her short life with Muslim grandparents in a Muslim country.
This statement is being issued on the 31st of August 2017 and supersedes all previous statements on the subject.
We are appalled by the prejudicial and callous reporting in “The Times”, although not surprised. It is unfortunate that this appalling piece was picked by other media outlets. “The Sun” even chose to run the story even after much within the original article was factually debunked. It is heartening to see that over 4,000 people have already emailed IPSO calling for action to end racism in the UK press contributing to the climate of hostility that migrants, refugees and Muslims are facing. Wifaqul Ulama urges everyone to join the call and urge IPSO to take action. Action needs to be taken now before our society and our country is torn apart by these evil forces. We must stand together and we must stand united. We must condemn these atrociously salacious headlines, clickbait journalism and dog whistle politics. A child is to be loved, nurtured and looked after. It is appalling to use the story around a child in order to sell newspapers.
We begin by echoing the sentiments of Esmat Jeraj in the Guardian where she beautifully surmises:
There is a need to talk about vulnerable children in the care system, and the foster families who perform an invaluable duty on behalf of the state, giving children the opportunity to experience the childhood they deserve and which they may otherwise not have had. And there are ways to do it. But distortion and sensationalism never helps.
White Christian Child?
The Times conclusively established that the child was white Christian, facts prove otherwise. Court document states:
Documents including the assessment of the maternal grandparents state that they are of a Muslim background but are non practising. The child’s mother says they are of Christian heritage.
Issues with English language?
The Times falsely reported that there was a communication problem between the child and the fosterers due to inability of the foster carers to communicate in English:
In confidential local authority reports… a social services supervisor describes the child sobbing and begging not to be returned to the foster carer’s home because ‘they don’t speak English.
Tower Hamlets council state:
While we cannot go into details of a case that would identify a child in foster care, there are inaccuracies in the reporting of it. For example, the child is in fact fostered by an English-speaking family of mixed race in this temporary placement. We would like to give more details but we are legally restricted to do so.
In fact, it is the grandmother of the girl who has now been granted (temporary) custody which need assistance with English as the Court document states:
The local authority shall, upon receipt thereof, translate the mother’s final statement and this order into the language spoken by the maternal grandmother and shall serve these on the maternal grandmother by no later than 15.09.17.
There were actually two foster families who cared for the child. The first placement started in March 2017. The Tower Hamlets council statement is about the second foster family while the court does not mention the language abilities or (lack of communication) of either of the families.
Child removed from Muslim foster family?
The Times falsely reported that the child was removed from the foster carers:
The five-year-old was taken to her grandmother’s home after a court ruled that she should not remain in the placement organised by the London borough of Tower Hamlets.
Court document state that the second foster placement was temporary and was meant to be reviewed on the 29th of August:
On 27th June the court listed the case for further hearing on 29th August 2017. The current foster care placement (which was a respite placement while the original foster carer went on holiday) was due to end today.
Daily Mail (online) then took a stock image from Gettys, which had no relevance to the incident and seditiously sensationalised it further by adding a veil to the face of the women! The original image is to the left while the doctored image is to the right.