The Gatestone Institute reported yesterday that the government of Spain has agreed with the government of Morocco that Moroccan children adopted by Spanish families will be required remain culturally and religiously Muslim. The Spanish government will create a "control mechanism" that will allow Moroccan religious authorities to monitor the children until they reach the age of 18 to see that they have not converted to Christianity. Spain agreed to these conditions so that Spanish families who are in the process of adopting Moroccan children can bring them to Spain.
Morocco has a high rate of child abandonment, and Spain has been an important source of adoptive parents for Moroccan chiidren. As explained in a Morocco News Board report last year, in Islamic law raising a child that is not one's genetic offspring is encouraged, but the young person does not become the true child of the adoptive parents. Instead, in an arrangement known as kafala the child is monitored to assure that he or she is raised as a Muslim. Because monitoring of children abroad is difficult, last year Morocco's Ministry of Justice and Freedoms issued Circular No. 40 S/2 providing that kafala would be allowed only for parents who reside permanently in Morocco. Spain's new arrangement allows Spanish parents to avoid the restrictions in Circular 40 S/2. [Thanks to Louis Offen for the lead.]