Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baby born to Muslim mother after affair must be adopted to stop honour killing attempts by 'shamed' grandfather

A baby born to a Muslim mother after an affair must be adopted to prevent the child becoming the victim of an honour killing, the Court of Appeal ruled today.

The baby's mother, who is not married, was so 'terrified' of how her family would react that after becoming pregnant she ran away from home.

She then concealed her pregnancy by wearing loose clothes and travelling to the other side of town for her antenatal care.

As soon as the baby - known only as Q - was born the mother gave her up for adoption.

Upholding a High Court decision, three judges ruled that Q's father could not have his daughter to live with him because of the risk the baby's maternal grandfather would track her down.

Instead, Q, who is now a year old, will be adopted.

The baby's maternal grandmother had told police that if her husband found out about the child 'he would consider himself honour-bound to kill the child, the mother, the grandmother herself and the grandmother’s other children'.

Today Lord Justice Munby, Lady Justice Black and Lord Justice Kitchin said in a joint ruling that the child was at risk if she was not adopted.

They said if the grandfather discovered the affair 'it would be a matter of intense almost unimaginable shame to him and his family'.
    The couple who are adopting the child had been looking after her since December 2010.

    They are also Muslim and from the same country as the mother, but from a different community.

    The judges imposed unusually wide reporting restrictions banning the publication of all names and locations linked to the case because of the continuing dangers faced by mother and child.

    The baby's father - a married man known as F - had launched an appeal against the decision made by Mrs Justice Parker in the High Court last July.

    She found there would be 'a very significant risk of two and two being put together' if the child went to live with its father because the baby was quite obviously not his wife's child.

    The appeal court judges ruled: 'In the particular circumstances of this case, the judge rightly regarded the risk of physical harm to Q and M (her mother) as being of major importance.'

    The court heard that although both the baby's mother and father were Muslim, there was a 'profound cultural difference' between them.
    Upholding Mrs Justice Parker’s decision to make an adoption order, the appeal judges said: 'The mother’s evidence, supported as it was by her actions, and the evidence of (the father) and an experienced police officer, drove the judge to conclude that refusal of the order would carry with it a significant risk of physical harm.

    'In our judgment this conclusion cannot be criticised.'

    The adopting couple, Mr and Mrs A, were 'loving and devoted adopters to whom Q has formed a deep attachment'.

    The couple were Muslims who had taken advice from their imam that they could adopt Q.

    The judge had rightly concluded that under Islamic law and tradition 'there would be no long-term harmful consequence in adoption'.

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