PUBLISHED: 09:47 GMT, 9 September 2012 | UPDATED: 12:20 GMT, 9 September 2012
British Muslim mosque leaders are agreeing to carry out secret marriages with child brides as young as 12 in the UK, it emerged today.
In an undercover investigation, a Shi’te mosque leader agreed to marry a 12-year-old girl so long as she was a willing participant.
A Sunday Times journalist visited the Husaini Islamic Centre in Peterborough – the ‘first Shi’te mosque in the whole of Europe’ – posing as the father of a 12-year-old girl.
According to the newspaper, the reporter was told by Imam Mohamed Kassamali that ‘under sharia [Islamic law] there is no problem’ in marrying a 12-year-old.
But while he declared Islamic Law dictated a girl should see ‘her first sign of puberty at the house of her husband’, he admitted they would all get in to trouble if she went to police saying she was forced into the marriage.