This terrible practice has no place in society

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First published in Letters

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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Comments (2)

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11:07pm Wed 16 Jul 14

the wizard says...

While most , if not all, civilized people agree with you, it seems a shame that this practice is continued in the guise of religion as you state. However it also demonstrates just how barbaric and ignorant these abuses are and is confirmation that their perception of culture has not evolved into the 21st century. These people are not only barbaric but feral, and they have no place in western society if this is their outlook on life. Have these people evolved beyond tribalism, ? it appears not. Offenders once caught should receive harsh punishment and then deportation as they are not fit to grace our land. If they don't wish to conform to our moral standards then I'm sure many can furnish them with a list of airports which will serve them a flight elsewhere.
While most , if not all, civilized people agree with you, it seems a shame that this practice is continued in the guise of religion as you state. However it also demonstrates just how barbaric and ignorant these abuses are and is confirmation that their perception of culture has not evolved into the 21st century. These people are not only barbaric but feral, and they have no place in western society if this is their outlook on life. Have these people evolved beyond tribalism, ? it appears not. Offenders once caught should receive harsh punishment and then deportation as they are not fit to grace our land. If they don't wish to conform to our moral standards then I'm sure many can furnish them with a list of airports which will serve them a flight elsewhere. the wizard
  • Score: 2

4:42pm Fri 18 Jul 14

trumpetguy says...

I am glad to read this Muslim leader condemning female circumcision, known as khafḍ (Arabic: خفض‎) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), as a terrible practice and to have him go on public record saying that it is un-Islamic, that it should be stopped and that Muslim leaders ought to strongly teach against the practice. This is a bold statement and is to be commended and supported.
The problem, however, goes deeper than it being just a cultural practice in some foreign countries. FGM is an accepted and legal transnational Islamic practice according to the main schools of Sunni Islamic law. In a classic handbook of Shafi'i Islamic law, Reliance of the Traveller, it states (section e4.3): 'Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women...for women removing the prepuse of the clitoris).’ Two other schools of Islamic law, the Hanbali and Hanafi schools, recommend FGM but do not require it. The fourth school, the Maliki school of law, assumes it to be an approved practice. These are the four major schools of Islamic law whose rulings are used by Sunni Muslims around the world to regulate their daily religious, community, family and personal practices. Shi’ite Muslims in general do not approve of or practice FGM.
This is not an issue of extremists versus moderates. FGM as ‘circumcision’ is a deeply established and approved historical practice in much of normal Islamic Shariah law. Many Muslims also accept these rulings as carrying Divine authority and so are reluctant to give it up on the basis of non-Islamic man-made laws.
In recent years there have been significant efforts by some Muslims to abolish FGM, but there are also strong Muslim advocates of it who support their arguments by appealing to Islamic law and traditions going back to Muhammad, his wives, and his companions. Until Muslim scholars universally change Islamic law in regard to FGM it will continue to be a widespread practice among Muslims and an issue that will be in conflict with British law. May more Muslim scholars openly oppose it and declare it to be un-Islamic and also encourage people to adhere to British law. Laws against it should be on the books so it can be prosecuted as a crime, in spite of the risks of disobedience to the law. Our laws enshrine our deepest values for protecting human dignity. FGM should be viewed as a crime of sexual violence against women. It is not a ‘cultural practice’ that should be tolerated in the common culture we share here in the UK.
I am glad to read this Muslim leader condemning female circumcision, known as khafḍ (Arabic: خفض‎) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), as a terrible practice and to have him go on public record saying that it is un-Islamic, that it should be stopped and that Muslim leaders ought to strongly teach against the practice. This is a bold statement and is to be commended and supported. The problem, however, goes deeper than it being just a cultural practice in some foreign countries. FGM is an accepted and legal transnational Islamic practice according to the main schools of Sunni Islamic law. In a classic handbook of Shafi'i Islamic law, Reliance of the Traveller, it states (section e4.3): 'Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women...for women removing the prepuse of the clitoris).’ Two other schools of Islamic law, the Hanbali and Hanafi schools, recommend FGM but do not require it. The fourth school, the Maliki school of law, assumes it to be an approved practice. These are the four major schools of Islamic law whose rulings are used by Sunni Muslims around the world to regulate their daily religious, community, family and personal practices. Shi’ite Muslims in general do not approve of or practice FGM. This is not an issue of extremists versus moderates. FGM as ‘circumcision’ is a deeply established and approved historical practice in much of normal Islamic Shariah law. Many Muslims also accept these rulings as carrying Divine authority and so are reluctant to give it up on the basis of non-Islamic man-made laws. In recent years there have been significant efforts by some Muslims to abolish FGM, but there are also strong Muslim advocates of it who support their arguments by appealing to Islamic law and traditions going back to Muhammad, his wives, and his companions. Until Muslim scholars universally change Islamic law in regard to FGM it will continue to be a widespread practice among Muslims and an issue that will be in conflict with British law. May more Muslim scholars openly oppose it and declare it to be un-Islamic and also encourage people to adhere to British law. Laws against it should be on the books so it can be prosecuted as a crime, in spite of the risks of disobedience to the law. Our laws enshrine our deepest values for protecting human dignity. FGM should be viewed as a crime of sexual violence against women. It is not a ‘cultural practice’ that should be tolerated in the common culture we share here in the UK. trumpetguy
  • Score: 5

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