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Australia: 12-year-old Muslim Child Bride was Married in Her Father’s House

We are seeing more and more of these forced underage marriages in Western countries. Muslim child brides. In this particular case, the 26-year-old man who married the 12-year-old in an Islamic ceremony is behind bars. But why wasn’t the imam who performed the ceremony arrested?

And now we find that the marriage was performed in the home of the 12-year-old bride’s father’s house. Why wasn’t the father arrested? He is a fifth-generation Australian, a Muslim convert.

“Muslim Child bride, 12, was married in her father’s house,”  The Telegraph, February 9, 2014

The 26-year-old man leaves court last week after being remanded in custody / Picture: Justin Lloyd

The 26-year-old man leaves court last week after being remanded in custody / Picture: Justin LloydSource: DailyTelegraph

THE Muslim convert father of the 12-year-old girl at the centre of a child sex case following her “marriage” to a 26-year-old foreigner confessed his unhappiness at their union, but said “it was not my decision”.

But the fifth-generation Australian man, who allowed the pair to be married by an imam in his Hunter Valley home on January 12, now says he fears she is going to “die” from a broken heart.

He also addressed public outrage on the case following the 26-year-old Lebanese man’s arrest on Thursday, saying he might “cop a little bit of abuse off people but I will have to cope with that”.

“She was crying like I have never heard before, they were telling her she couldn’t see (the man) today or tomorrow or possibly forever,’’ he said. “She’s being restrained against her will in foster care.

“There’s nothing I can do at the moment, I’ve got the feeling she might die because she’s so hurt by all of this.”

The pair met at a Hunter Valley mosque late last year after the 26-year-old came to Australia to study at a nearby university.

He approached the mosque about marrying the girl but the Newcastle Muslim Association president Bikash “Shahriar” Paul said he was turned away because it was illegal and “wrong”.

The 26-year-old man in custody last week / Picture: Justin Lloyd

The 26-year-old man in custody last week / Picture: Justin Lloyd Source: DailyTelegraph

He then approached the girl’s father — who converted to Islam about 18 years ago following a battle with drugs, gambling and alcohol abuse — through an intermediary, who told him of the man’s intentions.

He initially refused but agreed to let him come to his house to meet his daughter.

He said it was almost over before it began when she found out he was 26, but she changed her mind.

“She was saying she wanted to get married, I said before there was going to be problems because he was from Lebanon,’’ the father said. “I told him to go back to Lebanon, not nastily.”

The girl’s father said his initial concerns were more religiously guided than the man’s or his daughter’s ages.

However, he said the only way they could be in any type of relationship, let alone in the same room unchaperoned, under “my interpretation of the Koran” was if they were married.

“My daughter was not going to change her mind, I couldn’t talk her out of it,’’ he said.

“Him being 26 was not a big concern to me because I was not marrying him. I was not happy with it but it was not my decision.”

He said the couple moved to western Sydney after the marriage. He said they tried to enrol his daughter at a local high school but were told to go to Centrelink to ascertain her guardianship.

The father said a social worker at Centrelink raised the alarm before police and the Department of Community Services intervened.

The man was refused bail at Burwood Local Court on Friday after being charged by Child Abuse Squad detectives with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child.

Her father, who was interviewed and released without charge, said he knew people would ask how could he let his 12-year-old daughter live with an older man, let alone marry him, but he didn’t “want to stop her happiness”.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Pru Goward said on Friday she was horrified by the case.

“In this country, little girls have rights and in particular they have the right to a childhood free from this kind of abuse,” she said.

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