Denmark Threatens Woman Critical of Islam with Removal of Foster Child

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A Danish supervising authority has threatened Danish-Iranian blogger and author Jaleh Tavakoli with the removal of her foster child after she shared an online video of a murder by Islamic State terrorists in Morocco.

The Social Supervisory Authority informed Ms. Tavakoli that the approval of her and her husband as foster parents had been rescinded and that their eight-year-old foster daughter — whom they have raised since her infancy — may be taken from their home because, they were told, “you do not have the necessary quality to have children in your care.”

Ms. Tavakoli has reportedly been charged under Danish law for sharing the video of the jihadist killing of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and Maren Ueland. While Tavakoli admitted to sharing the video, she said she believed it to be in the public interest to do so, as she was trying to inform people of the grave threat posed by Islamic terrorism.

The letter from the Supervisory Authority states that Tavakoli’s “participation in the public debate” compromises her role as a foster parent and that her choice “to expose yourself and communicate politically” is considered incompatible with the task as a foster family.

“We consider that, in view of the above charge, you do not have the necessary quality to have children,” the letter declares.

A second letter from the Authority last week took a slightly more conciliatory tone, saying that a further audit would be undertaken of Tavakoli’s case. The letter followed a barrage of criticism, which accused the Authority of overstepping its authority and of threatening free speech.

Martin Henriksen, the leader of the Danish People’s Party, criticized the Authority’s decision as “deeply disturbing” because no real neglect or abuse has been alleged, only a sort of political activism from an unpopular angle.

Lisbeth Zornig Andersen, former chair of Denmark’s National Council for Children, said the government’s decision was “totally crazy and out of proportion.”

“The child has been with Jaleh Tavakoli and her husband since she was very small. She can’t remember anything else,” Ms. Andersen said, adding that “it’s deeply unfair to the child.”

Andersen went on to accuse the Supervisory Authority of acting as “debate police,” which jeopardizes the ability of all foster parents to engage in public and political discourse without fear of losing their foster children.

Mr. Henriksen noted the fact that the Social Supervisory Authority repeatedly mentioned that Ms. Tavakoli had chosen to expose herself to the public.

“One cannot, of course, go in and remove a child from the foster parents on the grounds that they interfere in the public debate,” he said.

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