Haredi Frenchman says barred from seeing son due to religion

(JTA) — Social services in Toulouse have barred a divorced Orthodox man from seeing his son because of the man’s religious lifestyle and appearance, a French daily reported.

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Richard Dray, a 45-year-old man who adopted a more haredi Orthodox lifestyle after his recent divorce, told the local La Dépêche daily that he has been barred three weeks ago from realizing his court-awarded right to visit his 12-year-son, whom child welfare services placed this year in foster care following “behavior problems.” 

Dray says social services began preventing him from seeing his son after he told the boy over the telephone “not to worry, because everything that happens to us is a trial by God, for us to pass.” 

The conversation was recorded by social services, Dray said, adding that he was contacted after the talk by a social welfare worker who told him he was radicalizing the boy with “dangerous” messages.

A spokesperson for the municipality declined to comment to La Depeche on the case citing “privacy issues,” but told the daily the city was aware of the case and was acting “within its mandate.”

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