The happy couple met, where else, in a mosque.
An alleged underage marriage was uncovered this week when a 12-year-old child bride and her 26-year-old husband tried to apply for spousal benefits, according to government sources.
Centrelink sources say the girl was removed from the home she shared with her 26-year-old “husband” hours after enquiring about what support would be available to a spousal visa holder on Wednesday morning.
The man was arrested by detectives from the Child Abuse Squad and charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child.
Newcastle Muslim Association president Bikash “Shahriar” Paul said the accused man was an “occasional” worshipper at a mosque in the Hunter Valley region north of Sydney, where he met the girl.
The girl’s father — who converted to Islam about 18 years ago following a battle with drugs, gambling and alcohol abuse
Detectives investigating the case said the father was ”shocked” that his daughter’s 26-year-old husband was arrested and charged with more than two dozen child sex offences last week.
Police will allege the girl was married to the accused during an Islamic ceremony in her father’s backyard. But detectives say their union was not official.
The child bride then moved to south-west Sydney with her ”husband”, after they were given permission by the girl’s father.
The accused had been living in Australia on a student visa and attending university. It is understood he had no ties with the town he was living in but met the under-age victim through a local mosque.
One neighbour said before they moved in they had mistakenly gone to the wrong house for an inspection. She said she saw the girl wearing a pink hijab and her partner apologised for the intrusion.
A leading Islamic health services counsellor has warned that hundreds of children as young as eleven are being sent overseas to be married after being “shopped” on Facebook.
Clearly this is a situation that can only improve as more Australians convert to Islam and marry their 12-year-old daughters off to Muslim men.