Muslim protesters have managed to suspend the adoption of a child by a lesbian couple following protests, but the organisation representing the family have criticised Harrow Council's handling of the situation.
Harrow Council selected the couple to adopt the child after it was taken into social care when the mother became mentally ill, however the decision has been stalled as the authority carry out an internal review into the decision following protests outside Harrow Civic Centre in Station Road on Wednesday last week.
The family wish for the child to be taken into the care of people more in line with their cultural and religious beliefs, and have claimed that blood relatives put themselves forward but were rejected by the assessment process carried out by children's services.
The adoption has now been stalled as the council carry out an internal review.
Mor Dioum, director of the Victoria Climbie Foundation who are supporting the family in this case, said: "We welcome the decision from Harrow Council to review the case but the family have great concerns that it has not followed due process.
"The family want an independent review into the case. I am not confident in this internal investigation."
Mr Dioum claimed that one of the blood relatives that put themselves forward to adopt the child was assessed in just 20 minutes.
He added: "You cannot assess someone in that time. You cannot isolate and marginalise a community in this way."
Deeqa Abdallah, a friend of the mother who organised the protest, told the Observer that the mother told the council to find a Muslim to take care of the baby, but cannot speak English very well and struggled to understand what children's services were saying, even with an interpreter.
Harrow Council are now reviewing their decision and in are dialogue with the family, but the Observer understands they are absolutely confident that due process has been followed.
Susan Hall, leader of Harrow Council, said: “The important thing is this girl gets a loving home, gets it quickly and isn’t left in some kind of legal limbo
“The Somali community have voiced clear concerns so we taking a pause to think about them. This is a decision for the long haul.
"Both the council and the Somali residents in our borough want what’s best for the child and that’s what we are working through."
The former Mayor of Harrow Councillor Asad Omar (Independent Labour) joined with the protesters outside of the home of Harrow Council .
What is clear is that people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds are not putting themselves forward to be adoptive parents, with black children having to wait 50 per cent longer than the average time to be adopted.
Ms Hall added: “We need more prospective adoptive parents from ethnic backgrounds. We looked nationally for parents from a similar background to adopt this child – the reality is that none came forward.
“The lack of adoptive parents from ethnic backgrounds isn’t a problem the council or the government for that matter can solve on its own – we need our diverse community to help us to ensure there is a pool of prospective parents we can access.”
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