Christian girl fostered in Muslim home can rejoin family judge rules
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, ruling in the BBC’s favour, described Mr Begg as “an extremist Islamic speaker who espouses extremist Islamic positions”.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. A five-year-old girl who was placed in the foster care of two Muslim households has been reunited with her family after a court ruled she could live with her grandmother.The child had been placed with a carer who allegedly wears a burka when accompanying her in public.Crisis-ridden Tower Hamlets council in London had faced criticism after confidential local authority reports suggested one of the girl’s foster carers removed her Christian cross necklace and suggested she should learn Arabic.At a family court hearing on Tuesday, a judge said it would be in the child's best interests to let her live with a member of family who could meet her needs "in terms of ethnicity, culture and religion", The Times reported.Judge Khatun Sapnara, herself a Muslim, allowed a reporter to be admitted after security staff initially tried to remove the journalist from the building.The judge said newspaper reports had raised "very concerning" matters of "legitimate public interest". The lawyer representing the local authority told the court that when the girl first became the responsibility of the council there had been no white British foster carers available.The girl will continue to meet regularly with her mother under the supervision by council staff until a final arrangement as to her care is reached. Tower Hamlets is one of the most diverse parts of the countryCredit:Rex Tower Hamlets Council said it disputed some of the claims in the case, including that the family spoke no English, and it said that the family was of mixed race, but was “legally restricted” from discussing them further. Imam Shakeel Begg, whose mosque is the Lewisham Islamic Centre Shakeel Begg speaking at a protest event in 2009 “We have no control over who may or may not be at information sessions,” said a spokesman.Mr Begg was unavailable for comment. He has in the past contested the High Court decision. A spokesman said the council had "always been working towards the child being looked after by a family member and will continue to do so”. Amid the growing row over the child's care arrangements, The Telegraph can disclose that an extremist Islamic preacher helped in the recruitment of foster parents.The imam, Shakeel Begg, 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”. 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.His mosque, the 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 Mr Begg.Mr Begg had just a few months earlier lost a High Court libel case against the BBC which accused him of promoting extremism. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.