A Muslim father whose three children are being cared for by a Christian foster family has been told by a judge that he must not "pressure" them about following Islam during visits.
The 53-year-old man, who has chosen to remain anonymous, told the Manchester Evening News (MEN) that he was made to sign a court document in 2015 in which he agreed not to talk about Islam with his offspring.
Since then the ban has been softened and the court has allowed the man to discuss Islam with his two sons and daughter, all under 16, but only on the condition that he does so in a "non-pressurising way".
The man's children were taken into care in 2011 after the death of their mother. The children's parents were estranged and had a "volatile relationship", according to court documents.
Since the mother's death, the man has been trying to get custody of the three children. He has been accused of domestic violence and assaulting a social worker, claims he vehemently denies.
The man has seen his children twice in the past six years, under strict conditions. A document from Salford Children's Services, seen by MEN, stipulates that the man agreed to "not to discuss the Muslim religion" with his children during any supervised contact. The man told MEN that he felt forced to sign the agreement because he was desperate to see his children.
He claims that he is the victim of Islamophobia. "What's happening is xenophobia and bigotry", he told the newspaper. "It's Stockholm syndrome. It's parental estrangement. They are obviously feeding all kinds of ridiculous propaganda to my children and this is the end result."
The man has been to Manchester's family court 13 times to try and get his children back. At the last hearing, the conditions of his interaction with his children were relaxed, but he was warned not to "pressure" the children into discussing Islam as Salford Children's Services said they did not consider themselves Muslim.
District Judge Relph told the man: "In the light of the court's finding as to the children's previous upbringing, the local authority has made it clear that it does not propose to treat the children as belonging to the Muslim faith, although the father may supply relevant information to them about his faith or discuss his beliefs with them in a non-pressurising way during future contact."
Councillor Lisa Stone, lead member of children's and young people's services in Salford, said the children's wellbeing was the primary concern.
"We understand the distress of the father but he has had access to the courts on numerous occasions which have upheld the plans of the local authority. This case has been before the Local Government Ombudsman who found no fault with the council's actions," she said.