(Family Division, Russell J, 22 July 2016)
Private law children – Radicalisation – Child arrangements orders – Allegations of violence and radicalisation
Orders were made for the children to remain living with the mother and to have no contact with the father whom the mother alleged was violent and had been radicalised.
The two children, now aged 2 and 3, had dual British and Arabic heritage. They were born in England and had always lived with the British mother. The mother and children had fled the family home due to domestic violence and now lived in a refuge. The father was currently serving a prison sentence for breach of protective orders and he was subject to a deportation order.
The mother applied for child arrangements orders specifying that the children were to live with the mother and have no contact with the father, a specific issue order for the children to be known by alternative names and a s 91(14) order preventing the father from making further applications to the court. The guardian supported the mother’s applications.
A fact-finding hearing was convened to address allegations that the father had been violent towards the mother and that he had been radicalised by ISIS/Daesh and that that might present an additional threat to the children in the future.
The mother’s case on the issue of domestic violence was made out. However, the allegations of radicalisation were not made out. They were vague, generalised and there was no evidence he was involved with, or actively supported Daesh (or Islamic State), had openly espoused their dogma or aims or that he had encouraged others to do so. Radicalisation was a sensitive subject and there must be no suggestion that the courts would accept or tolerate any suggestion that adherents of the Islamic Faith, or any other faith, were, ipso facto, supporters of extremism.
The father had been repeatedly violent, threatening and dominated every aspect of the mother’s life before she left him, and that he had deliberately set out to intimidate and control her, using his religion, and hers, to justify and normalise his brutal and aggressive behaviour.The court made the orders sought.