Around 170,000 cases of genital mutilation or female circumcision are predicted in the UK. As an Imam and Islamic scholar, I believe this is a terrible practice and has no place under lslamic law or jurisprudence.
It appears to be a tradition in some countries with high Muslim populations, such as Egypt and a number of other African countries, and has become mistaken for a religious practice. Whilst it may be a common tradition in such countries, it is totally unacceptable both Islamically and according to British Law.
Given these strong beliefs, all be they wrong and dangerous, the Government will not be able to do anything to stop this happening.
They cannot inspect or examine each child to ensure it hasn’t taken place. In such circumstances parents would hide their girls away, or would not admit them to hospital when ill for fear of being found out.
In both cases, these girls will suffer more and may even die as a result.
Banning at this stage, therefore, does not seem the right way forward. A ban at this stage may do more harm than good, forcing these girls underground or into dangerous situations.
In the meantime, Islamic scholars must advise families not to carry out these procedures, and re-educate them so that the numbers of girls who suffer from this can be reduced and eventually the practice can be eliminated as it should be.
Dr Sheikh Hojjat Ramzy
Oxford Islamic Info Centre
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