Mosque, sharia court, forced to marry, sold for a gold chain…what’s the difference.
A shocking video shows the moment a 14-year-old girl is allegedly forced to marry a man 20 years older than her at the back of a Melbourne mosque.
The video seized by police from the alleged groom’s phone shows the traditional Islamic ceremony by a prominent Muslim marriage cleric last year.
Imam Ibrahim Omerdic, 62, has faced court accused of forcing a minor to enter marriage.
In video shown in court and obtained by 7 News, a timid teenage girl sits quietly as her groom-to-be signs papers presented by the Imam.
The underage girl’s mother watches on, after the groom allegedly paid to marry her daughter with a $1,480 gold necklace.
The Imam asks the child bride if she takes the man – who she reportedly met only a few days prior – ‘to live together and live according to Islam.’
She answers ‘yes’ and is told by the Imam that as a wife, she now has a duty to ‘obey’ her husband.
Family and Communities Services received 60 reports of illegal ceremonies involving 57 children between 30 December 2014 and January 31 2017, 7 News reported.
A total of 23 children wed in illegal ceremonies were under the age of 16, including four under the age of ten.
‘It is deeply disturbing to think little girls pre-puberty are being considered for marriage and for people to be organising that marriage,’ FACS Minister Pru Goward told the network.
Laura Vidal from anti-slavery group The Freedom Partnership said children being forced into marriage leads to serious impacts.
‘The long term impacts of people being forced into marriage can be quite serious including forced or unwanted pregnancies, withdrawal from education,’ she said.
A former Melbourne imam has been found guilty of marrying a 14-year-old girl to a man 20 years older, after a magistrate found the evidence against the cleric was “compelling”.
Ibrahim Omerdic, 62, was on Thursday found to have married the girl to the man, 34, at a Bosnian mosque in Noble Park on September 29 last year.
The charge of taking part in a forced marriage carries a maximum jail term of seven years.
Omerdic fought the charge in a contested hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court last month.
The man is currently in custody and due to appear before the County Court in September.