Judge Orders Father to Stop Taking 9-Y-O Son to Church or Lose Visitation Rights

A Pakistani Christian woman attends mass along with others on Christmas day at St Andrew's Church in Karachi, December 25, 2013. | (Photo: Reuters/Athar Hussain)

A judge in England has barred a father from taking his 9-year-old son to a Christian church because the boy's Muslim mother fears an opposing worldview will "confuse" the child's faith.

The Daily Mail reports that the boy's father, who cannot be named for legal reasons and lives in Derby County, was born to Pakistani-born parents inside the U.K. and was raised in a strict Muslim household being taught that Christians were "heartless and immoral."

As a non-practicing Muslim, the man and his wife got married in 2003 and led what can be described as a Western lifestyle. But after the woman's father died, she began to become more adherent to conservative Muslim principles after her mother told her that her father was going to Hell because he did not adhere to the strict guidelines of the Muslim faith.

According the father, the mother began shunning their Christian friends. She began wearing a hijab and started attending a madrassa.

In 2013, the woman left her husband and took their son with her. After finalizing a divorce last year, the father only gets to see his son every other weekend as the child lives with his mother.

Having been brought up in a strict Muslim household, the father reportedly fears that his son is being brainwashed with misguided thoughts and wants his son to be exposed to other religious views in order for him to have a balanced life.

"I was taught that Christians were heartless and immoral, that only Muslims have a peaceful faith and all others are evil," the father told the MailOnline. "It was only when I began mixing with Christians that I learned this was nonsense."

The father developed a relationship with a local Christian church that had embraced him after his divorce.

"They run many activities my son enjoys so I go to the church and would like to take my son," the father asserted.

The boy's mother, however, turned to the Derby County Court in an appeal to prohibit the father from taking their son to the church. She insisted that her son could "become confused" if he was exposed to other religions.

In a ruling earlier this month, District Judge Williscroft ruled that the father could not take his son to the church and told the father that he could lose visitation rights with his son if he takes his son to the church, the leisure center the church runs or any other religious gathering.

The order also states that his father can only feed his son Halal food and must reassure the child that he is "an ordinary Muslim boy following Muslim rules," according to the Daily Mail.

"This judge is simply scared of being branded Islamophobic," the father argued. "I want my son to have a balanced life in which he is exposed to different faiths and can make up his own mind about which, if any, religion he follows."

"My son is being indoctrinated and the only way I can show him other things is to take him to other places," the father added. "If I don't show him other types of life he will become just like a dumb sheep. I want him to see and learn about different cultures."

The father also claimed that his son was already starting to believe that he is a "bad man" because he is not a devout Muslim.

"This is nothing short of brainwashing him," the father stressed. "Already he is telling me that I have a black heart, that I am a bad man, because I am not a practising Muslim. I am heartbroken that I have to keep him away from activities with local children."

The father appealed Williscroft's decision to the high court in hopes to have the order overturned.

"He is being fed the same lies I was as a child and I want better for him," the father asserted. "This judge was so busy being politically correct that she has ignored the influence of myself as a loving father. I am terrified that he will stop wanting to see me because of his indoctrination."

Many Christian leaders are backing the father and stating that the judge's ruling only shows that the court is "pandering to Islam."

"This is a form of judicial bullying," Barrister Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre and a member of the Church of England General Synod, told the Daily Mail. "The wife is using the law to coerce and silence a father's right to determine his son's religious experience. This chimes generally with what we see with the judicial system acting as if it is afraid of upsetting Islam and therefore showing a willingness to suppress the Christian faith and punishing those who practise it."

Williams argued that a British judge would never tell a Muslim mother not to take her son to a mosque.

"This would not have happened the other way around. If a Christian parent was trying to deny a child access to a mosque, there would be a huge outcry and claims of Islamophobia," she added.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

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