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Thursday, 08 March 2018

Boys groomed as 'religious warriors' taken into care after social workers concerns

Written by Brian Farmer

Two boys have been taken from the care of their Muslim father after a High Court judge said there was evidence to show they had been groomed to see themselves as "religious warriors".

Mrs Justice Parker has made decisions about where the boys should live after council social workers raised concerns about them living in a "radicalised Islamic household" and being "at potential risk of dangerous activities".

She has revealed detail of the case in written rulings after analysing evidence at hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The judge had concluded that the boys - and their sister - should be removed from home and all three had gone into care.

She has not identified the family involved but said the girl and oldest boy were in their mid-teens and the youngest boy was aged about 11.

The judge said their father was in his 50s and had travelled to England from Uganda when a child after his parents fled Idi Amin's regime.

She said their mother was dead.

Three years ago members of the family had been stopped at a ferry port in Harwich, Essex, the judge was told.

Police thought that their father had been radicalised and feared that the youngsters were heading to Syria.

Mrs Justice Parker said she had seen evidence which included family photographs showing the boys in Islamic "fighter" poses

"I have a number of separate photographs of the children and the father, dressed in what looks like Middle Eastern style red-and-white headgear, in the case of both the children and father, with their faces partly obscured by the cloth and holding what I am told are ornamental swords," said the judge in her ruling.

"They are part of the encouragement, and it is not too strong to regard it as grooming, of the children to see themselves as political/religious warriors."

She said evidence pointed to a "degree of grooming" of the boys "towards an image of themselves as soldiers for the faith".

Last month one of London's most senior policemen said children of convicted terrorists should be protected in the same way as those whose parents were paedophiles.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said extremist propaganda and sexual abuse were "equally wicked" forces for youngsters to be exposed to.

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