Child welfare services in Norway have seized five children from a Christian couple on charges including "Christian radicalization and indoctrination," according to a British-based religious rights advocate group.
The children of Ruth and Marius Bodnariu were taken by Norway's child welfare services, the Barnevernet, on November 16. The Barnevernet seized the Bodnariu's two oldest children out of school without notice to their parents. Agents also showed up at the family's home where they seized the two sons and arrested Ruth, who was taken into custody along with her husband who was arrested while he was at work.
At the police station, Marius and Ruth were interrogated but were allowed to return home with only their baby and not the four other children. However, the baby was also taken into custody the following day.
In the following weeks, the parents were denied contact with their children. They were told that the children "had integrated well into their separate foster homes and didn't miss their parents," according to the Christian Institute.
A document secured by the family's lawyer revealed that the parents were accused of being "radical Christians who were indoctrinating their children."
The family appealed against the decision in a hearing on November 27, but had their arguments rejected by the Barnevernet.
Supporters of the family created an online petition that has collected over 32,000 signatures, urging the Norwegian government to return the children back to their parents.
It says, "Please support this family reunite with their children! On charges of "Christian radicalism and indoctrination", their five children were abusively taken away by the Norwegian government! The parents were interrogated and asked not to publicly reveal the situation so they wouldn't aggravate their case! They are just a normal Christian family trying to raise their children in the knowledge of God! There is no documented or otherwise abuse of any kind in this family! Your signature on this petition is very much appreciated! God bless you!"