A 5-year-old Christian girl forced to live with a Muslim foster carer has been returned to her family after the case sparked widespread outrage.
The Daily Mail reports that the young girl was taken to her grandmother's house yesterday after a judge urged councils to seek "culturally matched placements" for vulnerable children.
Originally, the girl was placed in the home of two Muslim families by social workers in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets - against the wishes of her family.
During her six-month stay, one Muslim family reportedly forced the girl to remove her necklace bearing a cross and learn Arabic, The Times reported. The little girl was also told that "Christmas and Easter are stupid" and that "European women are stupid and alcoholic."
Confidential local authority reports on the case seen by the newspaper alleged the girl was "very distressed" and had begged not to return to the family as "they don't speak English".
Amid outrage, Judge Khatun Sapnara, a Muslim, ordered the council to conduct an investigation into the claims made by The Times. He also ruled that the girl should live with a family member who could meet her needs "in terms of ethnicity, culture and religion," according to The Independent.
Friends of the girl's family praised the decision to remove her from homes where everything was "foreign and unfamiliar" into surroundings where she would feel "much more at home".
Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, said councils normally tried to ensure children were placed with carers who would respect their beliefs, but "clearly something has gone wrong in this case."
"We can't have a situation where a local authority respects all religious backgrounds except Christianity," he said. "In my experience, Christian foster carers do all they can to respect the religious and cultural heritage of children placed in their care."
The office of the children's commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, confirmed it would be contacting Tower Hamlets council to find out why the decision was made, reports The Guardian.
Longfield said: "I am concerned at these reports. A child's religious, racial and cultural background should be taken into consideration when they are placed with foster carers."
In turn, the London borough of Tower Hamlets claimed there were "inaccuracies" in the reporting of the story and said the girl had been fostered in a temporary placement with an English speaking family of mixed race.
"Tower Hamlets Council has the welfare of children at the heart of what we do," it said. "The decision to choose foster carers for a child is based on a number of factors including cultural background and proximity to promote contact with the child's family and the child's school in order to give them as much stability as possible."
Tower Hamlets is one of the most diverse areas of the country, according to The Telegraph, where only 31 per cent of the population were white British at the time of the 2011 census.