Sydney – A Muslim leader was charged to court on Tuesday after he presided over the illegal marriage of a 12-year-old girl to a 26-year-old student visiting Australia from Lebanon.
The sham marriage was performed at the home of her father, who converted to Islam 18 years ago.
The 35-year-old religious leader was charged with conducting an unauthorised marriage.
The Lebanese student was charged last week with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child.
New South Wales state premier, Barry O’Farrell, said he was delighted charges had been filed, saying the outcome sent a strong message, whether to religious celebrants or civil celebrants.
The father told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph that under his interpretation of the Koran the only way the pair could be in the same room unchaperoned was if they were married.
He also said that he did not want to stop “her happiness”.
The illegal marriage came to light when the 26-year-old tried to enroll the girl at a school near where they were living together in Sydney.(dpa/NAN)