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What does terrorism have to do with child custody?

In the vast majority of cases in Colorado and elsewhere, terrorism plays no role in the average custody battle. However, a recent child custody case in another state has received widespread media attention. The mother in the case claims that her former husband is radicalizing their son and promoting drastic anti-American viewpoints.

The mother claims that her former husband developed an affinity for certain strict interpretations of Muslim faith during their marriage. Those beliefs included a demand that she change her appearance and clothing choices, and cease allowing their children to participate in common American practices like school events and social outings. She was also ordered to stop taking her children to visit their grandfather in Jerusalem.

She claims her husband is teaching their son anti-American sentiments and fundamentalist Muslim beliefs. The claims are backed up by a report from the child's school detailing verbal interaction with other students. The boy reportedly expressed his belief that his religious practice was different than that of classmates due to the fact that he was willing to die for his God. Those comments sparked a call to the police and an investigation by the FBI.

This case places an enormous burden on the court. The judge must balance parental rights, freedom of religion, and the need to protect a child from extremist and potentially harmful viewpoints. The way in which the matter is resolved will send a strong message about the current political climate surrounding religious freedoms and national security. The outcome could also shape how similar child custody claims are handled in Colorado and elsewhere.

Source:, "New York mother fights for custody of son, says boy's father is radicalizing their child", Nov. 30, 2017

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