Following on from this weekends breaking story about a Christian girl placed with Muslim extremist foster parents in Tower Hamlets. Who forced the child to remove a cross necklace she wore and encouraged the child to live an Islamic lifestyle. The Telegraph today reports that notourious Muslim hate cleric Shakeel Begg ran a workshop for potential Muslim foster carers.
Shakeel Begg is the imam at Lewisham Islamic Centre, where the Muslim radicals who murdered Drummer Lee Rigby attended on a regular basis.
Shakeel Begg recently failed in the High Court when he took exception to being called an extremist in the press. The judge like anybody else with common sense disagreed with the hate preacher, ruling he did have extremist views and threw his case out. Begg is a regular guest speaker at communist front group Unite Against Fascism events which speaks volumes about his character.You dont have to be a genius to imagine what kind of advice he was giving to the Muslim foster parents
Revealed: Extremist Islamic preacher hosted foster care workshop
Robert Mendick Olivia Rudgard
29 AUGUST 2017 • 10:00 PM
An extremist Islamic preacher helped in the recruitment of foster parents, The Telegraph can disclose, amid a growing row over a Christian child placed in the care of devout Muslims.
The imam hosted a workshop for would-be foster carers just months after the High Court ruled him an “extremist Islamic speaker ” who had “promoted and encouraged religious violence”. His mosque, the Lewisham Islamic Centre, was attended by the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby. The imam and the centre had condemned the murder.
The event was organised on behalf of the London borough of Lewisham as part of a drive to find more Muslims willing to foster children.
The disclosure comes amid a growing furore over the decision by crisis-ridden Tower Hamlets, another London council, to place a five-year-old girl in the care of two Muslim households.
A council source said the borough had a shortage of non-Muslim carers with whom to place Christian children.
Shakeel Begg at a protest event in 2009
In contrast, most councils have a shortage of Muslim families to provide foster care for children of Islamic heritage.
Lewisham Islamic Centre was chosen as the venue for a workshop “on the importance and need of foster carers in the Muslim community” in March this year. A photograph from the event posted on the mosque’s website shows the gathering being addressed by Shakeel Begg, the imam.
Mr Begg had just a few months earlier lost a High Court libel case against the BBC which accused him of promoting extremism.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, ruling in the BBC’s favour, described Mr Begg as a “Jekyll and Hyde character” and “an extremist Islamic speaker who espouses extremist Islamic positions”.
Tom Wilson, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society who has written a research paper on Begg, condemned the hosting : “It is inconceivable that those who espouse extremism should be overseeing childcare of any kind, including fostering. Shakeel Begg was found to be an extremist in the High Court as recently as October, and despite this Lewisham Islamic Centre has kept him in place as Imam and a trustee.
“Institutions linked to extremism are in no position to be involved in the foster process”.
Lewisham Council declined to comment on Mr Begg’s suitability to host the meeting. A council spokesman said: “Like all councils we need foster carers from all parts of the community and we will continue to visit a range of groups to encourage more people to foster in Lewisham.”
NRS Foster Care Recruitment, which organised the workshop on behalf of Lewisham council, said it had no idea that Mr Begg had been branded an extremist and said he was not involved in the event. “We have no control over who may or may not be at an information sessions,” said a spokesman, adding: “We promote our services to different faith groups.”
Mr Begg was unavailable for comment. But he has in the past vigorously contested the High Court decision. “As regards the Judgment and the ‘extremist’ label, this is fully rejected,” according to a post on the Lewisham Islamic Centre website.
The Department for Education said it was undertaking a national fostering ‘stocktake’ that would examine the recruitment of foster carers.
The case in Tower Hamlets highlights the difficulty of matching children to the right carers. A council source suggested the borough lacked sufficient Christian families where children could be placed.
Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “I am concerned at these reports. A child’s religious, racial and cultural background should be taken into consideration when they are placed with foster carers.”
Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, said: “It is quite clear that birth parents retain the right to a child’s religious beliefs and, in any case, guidance to foster parents requires that they give attention to a child’s cultural and religious identity.
“At the very least there’s been a violation of that requirement.”
Confidential local authority reports suggest one of the girl’s foster carers removed her necklace, which had a Christian cross, and also suggested she should learn Arabic. The girl was said at times to be “very distressed”. Her present carer allegedly wears a burka when with the child in public.
Tower Hamlets Council said in a statement on Tuesday that it disputed some of the claims in the case. A spokesman said: “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.”
The spokesman added: “Tower Hamlets Council has the welfare of children at the heart of what we do. The decision to choose foster carers for a child is based on a number of factors including cultural background and proximity to promote contact with the child’s family and the child’s school in order to give them as much stability as possible.”