A ten year-old boy is to attend an Islamic faith school in London despite his father’s objections.
The child’s father had converted to Islam when he married the mother. However once their nine-year marriage came to an end, the man abandoned the faith. At the High Court he was described as an “Anglo-Saxon” atheist. Since the parents’ divorce, the child lived with his mother and has been raised as a Muslim.
In a previous hearing on this issue, the Family Court ruled that the boy would be “disappointed” if he was unable to go to the London-based school his mother had chosen and that his attendance would not marginalise the father.
Undeterred, the father sought to challenge this decision. His barrister explained that the child’s parents had “different world views” so he wanted his son to attend a secular school. This would provide him a “neutral” educational environment while still catering to the boy’s faith.
By contrast, the man described the school the mother wanted the boy to attend as “a school inside a mosque”. His barrister claimed the father felt “marginalised” by the mother’s choice of school and believed he would not be able to participate in his son’s education in the same way as he would at a secular institution.
The barrister said:
“We have a father who in this modern day and age tries to tell [his son] that it is OK for parents to disagree.”
However Mr Justice Baker was not convinced by the father’s argument. He dismissed the challenge after ruling that the original decision by the Family Court had been correct.
None of the family members involved in this case can be named for legal reasons.