Imam accused of holding weddings for 27 underage girls in Egypt

Imam accused of holding weddings for 27 underage girls in Egypt

Many campaigns have been held against child marriage (Stock image)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

An Imam has been accused of holding marriages for 27 girls who were underage in Egypt and is now facing a disciplinary hearing.

Mohamed Samir, a spokesman for the Administrative Prosecution Authority, said "the [alleged] crime comes under the category of human trafficking cases."

In Egypt under 18s are not legally allowed to marry, however there is no law against unregistered informal marriages, according to Al Arabiya English.

The Imam worked at the El-Arbaeen mosque in the province of Al-Gharbiya, which is north of Cairo.

An investigation of the Imam started after a mother complained that he "married off her daughter and many minor girls under the legal age in informal marriages."

The Ministry of Religious Endowments told AFP it has suspended the Imam from preaching. If found guilty he may be removed from his position.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he was shocked about the amount of underage people getting married, after official figures were published on Saturday (September 30).

In the 2017 census it was found that as many as 118,000 girls aged under 18 were married.

He said: "This is something that pains me and pains anyone with a real conscience who cares for their sons and daughters.".

A bill is currently being drawn up which would make informal underage marriages illegal.