A guide to Islamic perspectives on adoption and fostering has been published by a UK charity.
Penny Appeal, established as recently as 2009, provides “poverty relief across Asia, the Middle East and Africa”. It worked with more than 60 Islamic scholars in the UK to compile the guide, after a making a Freedom of Information request to the government in 2015. This revealed that there were around 4,000 Muslim children in the foster care system, with most spending at least some time with non-Muslim families.
The Penny Appeal guide sets out the Muslim approach to the issue and was written to try and encourage more members of the community to become foster carers. It notes:
“Given that under representation of Muslim foster carers and adopters can result in ‘disproportional’ disadvantages and ‘disparity’ in a Muslim child’s journey out of care … it becomes imperative, on all concerned parties to act. … one of the main reasons why Muslims are not inclined towards adoption and fostering is because of a lack of understanding that leaves many to believe that it is not permissible in Islamic law to adopt or foster. This is not correct and thus this paper seeks to reconcile Islamic guidance with the contemporary practice of adoption and fostering within the UK.”
Savita de Sousa is a consultant specialising in minority issues with CoramBAAF, a membership organisation for adoption and fostering professionals. She was involved in the research group which coordinated production of the new guide, explaining:
“The Penny Appeal’s Islamic Guidance Document on Adoption and Fostering is the first of its kind, with leading UK scholars, community leaders and sector professionals echoing the communal obligation to care for vulnerable children in the care system. 100 UK leading Imams, community leaders and social care professionals have put their names to endorse the recommendations.”
A special khutba (speech) has been composed to be read out at Friday prayers around the country, launching recruitment events in each mosque.
The report is entitled Islamic Guidance on the Contemporary Practice of Adoption and Fostering in the UK. Read it here.