Child Safety
A Court judged that a Muslim girl born out of wedlock should be allowed to stay with her adopted parents rather than with her biological father. Press Association

The Court of Appeal in the UK upheld a judgment passed by a family court on Wednesday that a baby girl born out of wedlock to Muslim parents should remain with her adopted parents as there would be a threat to the baby's life due to the widespread practice of honour killing.

An unmarried Muslim woman had a baby girl after an affair with a married Muslim man in 2009.

A family court did not allow the biological father to take custody of the girl.

The court restricted the access to the details of this case, keeping names of the mother, father and the child or any other details anonymous for fear of a backlash from the biological parents' families. The baby in the court is referred to as "Baby Q," the mother as "M" and the father "F."

The baby was conceived towards the end of 2009 when her father, who was already married, was having an affair with her mother, who is from the same community. His wife was out of the country at that time.

The mother was terrified of her family's reaction when she discovered she was pregnant, and so, with her mother's help, managed to keep the news of the pregnancy a secret from the male members of her family.

The Independent reports that the court heard how police enquiries established that had M's father found out about the pregnancy "he would consider himself honour bound to kill the child," his daughter and even his wife.

The mother alerted the authorities and was advised to take refuge in some authorised place. However, the mother continued to conceal her pregnancy and stay with her family. She, with the help of ante-natal care, gave birth and left her daughter with adoptive Muslim parents who were described in court as "loving and devoted."

The unmarried woman did not share the news of childbirth with the baby's father. But the father found out about the child's birth and sought the its custody in the court.

The family division of the High Court heard the case last year and ruled that "baby Q" should be adopted by a Muslim couple from the same country as the mother, but from a different community, writes the Independent.

The judge observed, quotes the independent, that there is "a very significant risk of two and two being put together" if the child went to the father as Q was born out of wedlock, and that his wife had arrived in Britain by then and had a child of her own.

Honour killing is prevalent among certain Asian communities in the UK where men and women are "punished for bringing shame" to their family and community. Experts have welcomed the judgement as an example of the judiciary taking the threat of honour violence seriously.