From the Daily Mail Australia
Muslim girls in Sydney are dressed in white from head to toe as part of a hijab ceremony to signify the age when they must cover up their bodies, with an Islamic imam slamming it as a step toward Sharia law.
Australia's most senior Shia cleric Sheikh Kamal Mousselmani presided over the ceremony where 24 girls walked on stage to show their maturity.
'The hijab is compulsory for the girls when they become nine according to our religion,' he told Daily Mail Australia.
The girls were dressed in white, the same shade as a wedding dress, however Sheikh Mousselmani denied the ceremony was about preparing girls for marriage, despite Islamic law saying girls reach maturity at the age of eight.
However Adelaide Shia leader Imam Shaikh Mohammad Tawhidi said Islam classified eight as the adult age for girls and was worried by the ceremony's symbolism.
'I confirm that according to Islamic jurisprudence, a Muslim girl reaches the stage of maturity at eight to nine years of age,' he said.
'Hence the celebration took place, which means that they're no longer girls but adult females who would lead an adult life, including marriage. This goes against the Australian values and social ethics and is basically promoting and imposing Sharia law in Australia.' Sheikh Tawhidi said . . . the hijab ceremony was different to a modern Jewish bar mitzvah, as Judaism had reformed to extend childhood. In any event the Jewish Bar Mitzvah is for boys at age 13 and Bat Mitzvah for girls at age 12, so childhood was already 3-4 years longer even in ancient times.
The 24 girls took part in the ceremony at Banksia, in Sydney's south-east, on March 31.
Sheikh Mousselmani confirmed nine was the age when girls were considered mature in Islam before quickly retracting his statement. 'When the girl becomes nine or nine-and-a-half, we say they become eligible for hijab and we organised a party,' he said.
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