Times chief investigative reporter Andrew Norfolk has defended his report on a Christian girl "forced" into foster care with Muslim families in Tower Hamlets after the council's mayor said some of it was "not based in fact".

The story, published on Monday, reported on a five-year-old white British girl who was taken into protective care and placed with two Muslim couples in the London borough.

The Times said the placements were made against the wishes of the family and that both Muslim women covered their faces in public for religious reasons.

It quoted a council source as saying the families did not speak English and that the girl was forced to learn Arabic, had her cross necklace confiscated and was told she could not eat bacon.

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