Child protection officials have urged Indonesia's religious authorities to investigate a wealthy cleric who has married a 12-year-old girl and intends to marry two more children, aged seven and nine. Pujiono Cahyo Widayanto, 43, also known as Syech Puji, recently married Lutfiana Ulfa, in an informal Islamic rite reportedly attended by thousands of people. The girl no longer attends classes at a local junior high school. Syech Puji, a wealthy businessman and the head of the Islamic boarding school Ponpes Miftahul Jannah in Bedono, near Semarang in central Java, told local media that his 26-year-old first wife consented to the marriage, as did the parents of the 12-year-old girl. Indonesian law defines children as being those under 18. The 1974 marriage law says a woman must be at least 16 to marry. The KPAI, an independent child protection agency funded by the government, sent a team of investigators to Bedono. KPAI secretary Hadi Supeno told The Jakarta Post that Syech Puji, his wife and Lutfiana's parents would be reported to the police. Aries Merdeka Sirait, also from KPAI, said Syech Puji should be charged for violating laws on child protection, marriage, health, labour, welfare and the criminal code. 'And everyone forgets that according to Islamic law, a 12-year-old child is still under the protection of the mother. So Syech Puji is also violating the Islamic law,' he said. He said KPAI would ask the Indonesian Ulama Council, the country's highest Islamic body, to forbid the practice of marriage to minors. Senior politician Hilman Rosyad Syihab, vice-chairman of the Islamist Prosperous Justice (PKS) defended Syech Puji. He said: 'Marrying young girls is allowed within Islam, provided the marriage is not consumed until the girl has begun menstruating.' 'The marriage law suggests the age of 16 for girls to marry' he added, 'this is not compulsory. 'It is fine to marry seven and nine year old girls, as long as they are not touched until they menstruate. In Indonesia, it is normal that girls of 11 or 12 years are married off by their parents.' Lutfiana comes from a very poor family, and media reports said the girl's parents hope the marriage will give her a better life. There is currently no further information on the two other child brides-to-be. Syech Puji has defended the marriage, and said he is following the Prophet Mohammed's example, who married his favourite wife Aisyah when she was seven years old. He acknowledged liking young girls 'because I can teach them and turn them into good women'. 'But I am not going to have sex with them before they menstruate,' he told the Duta Masyarakat newspaper. Syech Puji was unavailable for comment when the South China Morning Post attempted to contact him yesterday. Syamsul Ridwan, from the Institute for the Protection of Children, has called on the government to take action on marriages to minors. Activists have said the problem of informal religious marriages involving under-age children is widespread and that taking action against Syech Puji could send a strong signal to others. A local politician with the Islamic National Mandate Party, Syech Puji made national headlines during recent Ramadan celebrations when he distributed 1.3 billion rupiah (HK$990,000) in zakat - or charity to the poor.