Muslim Orphans Caught Between Islamic, Western Law
Helene Lauffer knew Muslim children — orphaned, displaced, neglected — needed homes in the United States. She knew American Muslim families wanted to take them in.
But Lauffer, associate executive director of Spence-Chapin, one of the oldest adoption agencies in the country, couldn’t bring them together.
The problem was a gap between Western and Islamic law. Traditional, closed adoption violates Islamic jurisprudence, which stresses the importance of lineage. Instead, Islam has a guardianship system called kafalah that resembles foster care, yet has no exact counterpart in Western law.
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