A five-year-old English-speaking girl was reportedly forced to live in Muslim foster homes where her carers wore the niqab and allegedly told her to learn Arabic.
The child was looked after by two different Muslim households in the last six months after being placed into foster care in Tower Hamlets, east London, The Times reported.
A social services supervisor described the girl as crying and begging not to be sent back to the foster carer's home because "they don't speak English," according to confidential local authority reports seen by the newspaper.
It added the girl told the supervisor the foster carer had removed her Christian cross necklace and not allowed her to eat carbonara, her favourite meal given to her by her mother, because it contained bacon.
She is also said to have told her mother Christmas and Easter "are stupid" and European women are "stupid and alcoholic."
The supervisor described the girl as "very distressed" in reports.
The two placements were made by the Tower Hamlets borough council against the wishes of the girl's family.
Local authorities are supposed to consider a child's religion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background when making decisions about foster care.
The girl's mother was said to be horrified by the ordeal, with a friend telling the newspaper: “This is a five-year-old white girl. She was born in this country, speaks English as her first language, loves football, holds a British passport and was christened in a church.
“She’s already suffered the huge trauma of being forcibly separated from her family. She needs surroundings in which she’ll feel secure and loved. Instead, she’s trapped in a world where everything feels foreign and unfamiliar. That’s really scary for a young child.”
Tower Hamlets borough council did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman for the Department for Education told The Times it could not comment on individual cases, but stressed “a child’s background is an important consideration" in deciding where the child is fostered.
:: The Times reporting upon which this story was based has now had a complaint upheld against it by the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which found that the newspaper had "failed to take care not to publish distorted information". Full details can be seen here.
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