More on this story, which finds the state taking the side of and enabling Islamic law’s prohibitions on apostasy. “Muslim girl in baptism row was fleeing an arranged marriage,” by Tom Kelly for the Daily Mail, February 14 (thanks to AJH):
The foster mother struck off for allowing a Muslim girl to convert to Christianity took the child in after she was threatened with an arranged marriage.
The woman, a devout Christian, was asked to care for the teenager after the authorities learned of her abusive family background.
Her father beat her just for chatting to boys and warned he would haul her off to Pakistan to marry against her will, a friend claimed.
But council officials were angered when the girl chose to be baptised. They insist the foster mother failed in her duty to preserve the girl’s original religion.
As a result, the girl was removed and the foster mother struck off the register last November, despite having worked with children for ten years with a perfect record.
Neither the carer, who has looked after more than 80 children, nor the girl, who is now 17, can be identified.
But a friend of the girl claimed yesterday:
‘Her dad is a very strict Muslim who could get violent. One time he hit her with a belt just because she chatted with a couple of boys.
‘Another time he beat her over and over and said he would take her to Pakistan and make her marry.
‘She really didn’t want that. She was very frightened. Her dad would shout and swear at her and told her that she’d shamed the family.
‘Her mother didn’t really do anything to protect her.’
After the local authority became aware of the situation the girl was removed from her family and placed with the carer, a single mother of two.
The foster mother says she initially tried to discourage the girl from attending church and offered to take her to a mosque instead.
But the girl, who was 16 at the time, was determined to go to church and after two months chose to be baptised.