Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Christian Signs in Adoption Signal Outrage for Muslims

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Christian Signs in Adoption Signal Outrage for Muslims

Article excerpt

It was the T-shirt with "Jesus" on it that so outraged Muslims who heard the story of two Muslim children being adopted by a Christian family.

The boy, then 10, wore the shirt to a visit with his Muslim mother after he and his sister, then 5, were taken from their parents because of allegations of sexual abuse.

The youngsters also confessed during another visit with their mother, Sabahete "Kathy" Krasniqi of Dallas, that they had eaten pork, violating Muslim dietary rules, their mother said.

"For two hours she never stopped crying," Sabahete Krasniqi said of her daughter. "She's starving. She has to eat the pepperoni."

The religious conflict that has arisen from this six-year-old custody case has been a new issue for the state's child-custody system, said Linda Edwards, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

"It was a very new experience for us," she said. "We have a better understanding now that it's incredibly important to Muslims what religions their children are exposed to."

While the state is required to consider the "best interests" of children placed in its custody, religious beliefs do not necessarily come first in placing them in a new home, officials said.

"The law says we are prohibited from delaying or denying placement based on race, and that certainly extends to ethnicity and religion," said Pat Devin, deputy director of protective services.

"If we don't have someone of the same race or ethnicity or religion to take them, we can't just wait until we do."

In this case, the state had no Muslim families certified to take the Krasniqi children, she said, so they were placed with a Christian family while their parents appealed the loss of their parental rights. The periodic visits with their mother ended in 1993, when the Krasniqis exhausted all of their legal appeals. …

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