A 10-year-old Jewish girl is free to convert to Christianity and be baptised into her new faith, a court has ruled.
The girl’s mum claimed that her daughter had been “brainwashed” and her grandparents accused her father of forcing her to give up on her Jewish heritage.
But Judge John Platt ruled that the schoolgirl is mature enough to make the decision, and said that neither the mother nor the grandparents had made “any real effort” to consider what was best for her.
The girl, who is known only as C, was born to Jewish parents and grandparents in 2001.
But her mother and father divorced in 2010 and agreed a shared parenting agreement for C and her younger brother. After the split their father converted to Christianity.
For her part, the mother said her former husband prevented the girl from practising Judaism and said she wanted her daughter to wait until she turned 16 to become baptised.
And a rabbi told the court that it would be “unnatural to their soul” to make a child change religion.
But C’s dad said the family had never been strictly observant Jews, and that neither of his children had grown up with any strong religious belief.
He said his daughter told him on the way back from an evangelical Christian festival that she had “experienced an encounter with God.”
Judge John Platt made clear to the girl that his job was to do what was best for her.
In a letter to the girl, made public alongside the ruling, he wrote “I have decided that the best thing for you is that you are allowed to start your baptism classes as soon as they can be arranged and that you are baptised as a Christian as soon as your minister feels you are ready.”
He added: “both your mother and father will carry on loving you just as much whatever happens about your baptism.”