Council dismisses incendiary media claims over Muslim foster furore

28th Dec 2017
Council dismisses incendiary media claims over Muslim foster furore

Hamed Chapman

An official investigation has roundly rejected the sensational media allegations into incendiary claims about a ‘white Christian’ five-year-old girl placed with Muslim foster carers.

Tower Hamlets Council said it could find no evidence and do not accept the allegations made in the national press. “The local authority is satisfied that at all times the foster carers provided warm and appropriate care to the child,” it said.

In August, The Times made a series of highly emotive claims under the Islamophobic headline ‘Christian child forced into Muslim foster care’. Inflammatory allegations included that the five-year-old was banned from eating pork, had her crucifix removed and began to express a hatred of Christmas and Easter.

The story was picked up and splashed across the UK’s tabloid media, including The Sun, The Daily Mail and Breitbart, which reprinted the claims and led to an orchestrated nationwide furore about the issue of Muslim foster carers.

But since then the council has conducted its own inquiries by a senior social worker, which poked holes in the reporting of the case.
On the allegation that the girl had her crucifix removed, the Tower Hamlets investigation found she had actually two necklaces, one of which was in the girl’s bedroom of her maternal grandmother for safekeeping due to the potential vale and size of the jewellery.
Another allegation printed by The Times and picked up in subsequent media reports was that the Muslim foster carers would not allow the girl to eat her “favourite Italian meal” of pasta carbonara because it contained pork.

But again this was rejected by the council, which found “there had been no rejection of food brought for the child by the mother for religious reasons”.Media reports also seized on the allegation that the five-year-old girl had told her mother “Christmas and Easter are stupid”, with the Daily Mail splashing the detail in a Facebook post and the Daily Express running it in a headline.

But the social worker running the investigation spoke to the girl who actually “expressed no negative views about Christmas” but “expressed excitement and described having an Easter Egg hunt” at the Muslim foster carers home.

The investigation also found the allegation that the child was distressed as the foster carer spoke only in Arabic by Tower Hamlets “not to be correct.”

Altogether at least 178 complaints have been made to the Independent Press Standards Organisation and a report by the media watchdog is eagerly awaited

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

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