One family reportedly told her to remove her crucifix necklace
Members of Parliament have demanded an urgent inquiry after it was reported that a five-year-old Christian girl had been forced to live with strict Muslim foster carers.
The girl, who speaks English as her first language, has been cared for by two different Muslim families in the past six months. One family reportedly told her to remove her crucifix necklace and prevented her from eating carbonara because it contained bacon. She was also allegedly told to learn Arabic and was begging not to go back to the family because “they do not speak English”.
The Times reported that the girl’s family has spent the past six months begging Tower Hamlets council in London to allow the girl to be released into the care of relatives or close family friends.
A council employee who supervised regular meetings between the girl and her family reported her distress at the end of each meeting when she was handed back to her carers. In one report, the supervisor described her as “very emotional and tearful”.
The supervisor said the girl was whispering Arabic words to her mother that she told her must be said aloud so that “when you die you go to heaven”.
For the past two months, the girl has been with a second foster carer. Both women covered their faces while with the girl in public, one with a burka.
Family friends also said the girl told her mother that “Christmas and Easter are stupid”.
MPs have called for an urgent review of the situation. Robert Halfon, who chairs the House of Commons education committee, said the child should “have the right to be placed with people who reflect her heritage and background”.
Conservative MP Philip Hollobone added: “What if it were a Muslim girl being looked after by a Christian couple and they insisted she deny her Muslim upbringing and become a Christian – how would the Muslim community feel about that?
“It seems to me the original heritage of the child ought to be respected by the foster family, whatever their own faith happens to be. The council needs to review this case urgently … All religions should be treated equally and respected in the same way.”