Texas mother may lose child after accepting Islam
CAIR today said a custody dispute in Texas is being fueled by anti-Muslim bias. A Muslim mother in that state is being threatened with losing her nine-year-old son after she accepted Islam and married a native of Morocco. CAIR is urging Muslims and other people of conscience to help support the woman's legal defense.
The boy's father, who admits the mother left him because of his drinking, says he is seeking physical custody so that his son can "have a normal life" and an "all-American home." In the "Home Study Report for Custody" filed with the court, a social worker states: "[The mother's] conversion to Islam and her subsequent arranged marriage to a foreigner are very basic issues in this case, and are certainly unusual from the point of view of prevalent American culture."
A hearing on the case is scheduled for August 13. At that hearing, the father's attorney will call a Christian minister and an anthropologist to offer their views on Islam and Muslim culture.
The report also states: "[The Mother's] decision to become a Muslim shocked and surprised her family and those who know her...Although this [her arranged marriage] is customary in the Islamic community, it is well out of the American mainstream."
Transcripts of the mother's deposition indicate that Islam, and anti-Muslim bias, are central to the custody dispute. In that deposition, the mother was questioned about her views on the 9/11 attacks (she condemned them), her Islamic attire and the possibility of financial assistance from the Muslim community for legal expenses.
The entire dispute began when the woman's mother, who refuses to speak to her daughter since her conversion to Islam, approached the boy's father three days after the 9/11 attacks and asked him to seek custody.
"A mother should not be threatened with losing her child merely because she accepts Islam and tries to build a stable home by marrying a Muslim man. There is nothing 'un-American' about an Islamic home and assertions to the contrary are based on stereotyping and prejudice," said CAIR Civil Rights Manager Joshua Salaam. Salaam added that his group is dealing with other custody cases in which the parent's faith is a central issue.
In July, a South Dakota judge returned a five-year-old child to his Muslim mother. That child was taken away after his mother accepted Islam, married an Egyptian man and planned to travel to Egypt. The woman's father said she "has engaged in some bizarre behavior, including wearing Muslim garb and declaring herself a Muslim." After being contacted by the mother, CAIR urged concerned Muslims to send donations to help with legal expenses. The case received widespread coverage in this country and overseas.
Donations in a recent Florida custody case allowed 11 Muslim children to be returned to their parents.
Please do what you can to support this Muslim mother as she tries to retain custody of her son. Her attorney, Brenda Rhea, has set up a fund to receive donations.
Make checks payable to: "Brenda Rhea, Attorney at Law, Trust Account"
Indicate in the memo section: Trust Account for Respondent's Legal Fees, Cause #94-1089-FC1
St. Charles Professional Building
8 Chisholm Trail
Round Rock, TX 78681
ATTORNEY'S E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE NOTIFY CAIR OF ANY DONATIONS BY E-MAILING: email@example.com