Prevent Watch

Muslim mother deemed ‘extremist’ has children removed

muslim mother child removal prevent uk

Muslim mother is deemed ‘extremist’ has her children removed against all evidence, by Prevent-trained officers after an acquaintance claimed she was planning to travel with her children to Yemen.

SS intended to pick her children up at the end of the school day, but she was informed that police had taken them into protection. The allegations against SS were that she had intended to “flee the country” with her children to Yemen.

However, SS informed the police that it was not possible for her to travel, since she said that according to her beliefs, she could not travel without a “mahram” (male chaperone).

There was another huge obstacle and proof that she was not planning to travel, since her children did not possess passports.

Social services then alleged that SS was an “extremist”. They asked her a number of questions, including whether she goes to the mosque and whether the children go to mosque.

SS felt she was being goaded. She told social services that she had not been teaching the children Islam yet, as she herself does not know enough about Islam. Nonetheless, her children were taken into care, pending a hearing.

SS’ case displays a number of concerns with Prevent and its implementation. Firstly, the practical concerns of SS’s children not having passports was simply ignored, when judging whether there was safeguarding issue.

Secondly, SS informed social services that she did not believe it is correct to travel without a male companion, which is a normative Islamic view. This also was not taken into consideration.

Thirdly, SS was asked questions about which mosque she attends and whether the children attend, meaning that social services were trying to gauge her religiosity as a means to claim she was an “extremist”.

Fourthly, that the children were removed from their mother based on Prevent’s bias, and despite all of the practical evidence provided by the mother in her defense, is a startling trajectory for Muslim families.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi/Unsplash

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