The Daily Telegraph’s Allison Pearson responds to a Guardian column that referred to her piece about a young girl placed with Muslim foster parents
Your columnist Nesrine Malik (Can’t talk about Muslims? It seems we do little else, 5 September) claims I wrote in my Daily Telegraph column that I was “deeply uneasy about this Muslim foster family”. That is untrue. The quotation marks are around the headline to my piece, which I didn’t write. I said I was uneasy at the sight of a five-year-old girl in Tower Hamlets given into the care of a woman who wears a burqa, which covers her whole body and face. I also said I consider the burqa to be an extremist garment, which makes the wearer unable to interact with wider society. Therefore, I would not want a child of any religion or ethnicity fostered by someone who wears one. Plenty of people agree.
Foster carers of all kinds do a wonderful job, but social workers are bidden to place children in environments that are sensitive to their needs. The little girl was reported to be crying and complained that Arabic was spoken in the home where she was placed. She was reluctant to return to her foster family. I’m not surprised. A carer in a burqa is hardly a tolerant role model for a British child in the 21st century. Courageous Muslim women in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere are fighting to cast off the life-limiting garment which a misogynist belief system imposes on them. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that a London local authority should endorse it.