A Sydney sheikh has appeared in court in relation to the alleged genital mutilation of two children.
Sheikh Shabbir Vaziri, 56, who police sources say is part of a lesser-known branch of Islam, has been charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of female genital mutilation and hindering investigation of a serious indictable offence.
A ‘lesser-known branch of Islam? Is Paul Bibby trying to imply that we’re dealing with the ubiquitous ‘tiny minority of excremists’ in order to placate the ‘radicals?’
Police will allege the two girls had the procedure, which is also known as female circumcision, performed on them in NSW when they were aged six and seven within the past 18 months.
Police allege one mutilation was performed in Sydney; the other in another metropolitan area.
Mr Vaziri, who was arrested today, appeared in Burwood Local Court this afternoon and was granted bail.
The magistrate, Chris Longley, noted that the “overwhelming majority of the community would consider [it] a most serious set of circumstances”.
However, he said there was a presumption in favour of bail for the offence, and that Mr Vaziri did not have any prior criminal history.
The police prosecutor opposed bail, saying that the sheikh “was a flight risk”.
“The accused has an Indian passport and was about to depart,” he said.
Three other people have been charged over the alleged genital mutilation.
Also arrested today was a 68-year-old woman who has been charged with two counts of prohibition of female genital mutilation.
Police will allege the woman performed the procedure on the girls.
She has been granted conditional bail and will face Campbelltown Local Court on October 3.
A 42-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were arrested last Friday and charged with two counts each of female genital mutilation.
They were granted bail and will appear at Parramatta Local Court on September 26.
Investigations by Strike Force Longfield are continuing, and police are also appealing for anyone with information about female genital mutilation to come forward.
The strike force began its investigations recently and has been working closely with NSW Health and the Department of Family and Community Services.
Female genital mutilation is illegal in NSW. It is also an offence to take a NSW resident overseas to have the procedure performed.
Anyone with information should report to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online.
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