Under-age marriage probe Peterborough cleric steps aside

A Muslim cleric at a Peterborough mosque has stepped down over allegations that he offered to preside over marriages of girls as young as 12.

Mohamed Kassamali, from the Husaini Islamic Centre, allegedly discussed the marriage of a girl of 12 with an undercover Sunday Times reporter.

The centre said an inquiry into the claims had begun.

A spokesman said the imam had "temporarily stepped aside by mutual consent".

Forced marriage 'abhorrent'

Cambridgeshire police said no complaints had been made but added officers were investigating whether any "offences" had been committed.

"In line with our practice, we are in the process of carrying out a full independent inquiry on this matter," the centre's statement said.

"The imam has temporarily stepped aside by mutual consent while an investigation takes place."

The centre said a British civil marriage certificate was required for Islamic marriages it conducted.

It said no illegal marriages had taken place at the centre.

"We find the practice of forced marriages to be abhorrent, reprehensible and totally un-Islamic," the spokesman said.

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