Underage sex: Girls, 12, married off in the UK
BRITISH Muslim imams are offering to conduct marriages with child brides as young as 12, it was claimed yesterday.
It is feared it could lead to underage sex. An investigator posed as a father wanting to marry off his 12-year-old daughter to an older husband.
Retired imam Abdul Haq, who worships at East London’s Shoreditch Mosque, allegedly told him: “Tell people it’s an engagement but it will be a marriage. In Islam, once the girl reaches puberty parents have the right.
“Nobody should know about this. If she talks in school, social workers will take her. You and I will be in trouble.”
Imam Mohamed Kassamali, of Husaini Islamic Centre in Peterborough, told the investigator he would marry a bride of 12. He allegedly said: “I’d love the girl to go to her husband’s house as soon as possible, the younger the better.”
He later insisted he would only conduct the wedding if it was legal in Britain — and neither party was forced into it.
UK law lets Imams marry consenting under 16s provided they do not have sex until 16.
Some Muslims claim sharia law says couples must agree to marriage allowing them to have sex no matter what age.
But Farooq Murad, of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, opposes underage marriage. He said: “Even under sharia it is highly debatable.”
PM David Cameron wants to ban forced marriages. Campaigners want a ban on underage sharia weddings.