The Dallas Morning News ran a tame little feature recently on efforts to recruit Muslim foster families in North Texas. By "tame little feature," I mean a relatively shallow report that scratches at the surface of key questions.
I'm a Morning News subscriber, so I was able to read the entire story (for non-subscribers, it's mostly behind a pay wall).
The opening itself proves confusing (boldface emphasis mine):
A lack of Muslim foster parents in North Texas means local Muslim children are almost always placed with families of other faiths, putting them in an unfamiliar cultural and religious environment and making a difficult process even harder.
A Richland Hills clinic doesn’t want foster children to face added stresses, like being served bacon when their religion forbids pork, or saying prayers in a bedroom with a cross on the wall. That’s why the Muslim Community Center for Human Services is offering up a challenge to local Muslims: Step up. Become a foster parent.
“It’s a service to humanity,” said Dr. Basheer Ahmed, who founded the clinic. “There’s definitely a bad need in the community.”
About 6,000 North Texas children are in foster care each year, according to Child Protective Services. In recent years, local community leaders say, there have been a handful of times when a Muslim foster home was needed but not available, including twice in the past few months.
Is it just me or does the information in the first paragraph and the fourth paragraph seem to conflict? Are Muslim foster parents almost always unavailable (first paragraph) or occasionally unavailable (fourth paragraph)? It's been a long week, kind GetReligion readers, so please help me understand what I'm missing!
My other question: Is there a holy ghost in this story? Could it be that Muslim beliefs on adoption are at play here? Mollie posted in 2010 on "Why Muslims don't adopt?" (If you're not familiar with Muslim beliefs on adoption, that link is extremely helpful.)
So does the Morning News address the religion angle (as it relates to Muslim beliefs)? Sort of:
Though Islam requires adults to be honest with children about their family lineage, the religion endorses fostering and adoption, said Imam Zia Sheikh of the Islamic Center of Irving.
“Looking after orphans and taking care of them is actually encouraged in Islam,” he said
If you didn't click the previous link already, go ahead and do it now. Now that you're up to speed, here's a question: Is it accurate to say that Islam encourages adoption? Or is the subject perhaps a bit more complicated than the two paragraphs blockquoted above?
Beyond my specific questions related to Muslims, I wish the Dallas story had provided more context on how Child Protective Services handles religion in general. For example, how hard does CPS try to find a Southern Baptist home for a Southern Baptist kid? And what does the law say about making child placements based on religion?
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