Iraq: Female Genital Mutilation Must be Outlawed


The dissemination of a Human Rights Watch report on 16 June 2010 on FGM, and the reaction by activists and NGOs to the report, ignited a controversy about the issue. Also, in the last couple of days and on 6 July 2010, the Association of Islamic Clerics in Kurdistan issued a “fatwa” on FGM in which parents [or guardians] of girls were given the choice of whether to genitally mutilate their girls.

Following reactions and pressure on Muslim clerics with respect to the “fatwa”, the Association of Islamic Clerics in Kurdistan issued a clarification which stated: “No clear text in the Quran stipulates FGM as a duty or Sunna”, however, in paragraph 4 of the same statement says: “The summary of the Fatwa of the Kurdistan High Commission of Fatwa believes, parents [or guardians] have the choice to conduct or refrain from conducting FGM, this freedom of choice is not absolute, but conditional until it is proved that FGM causes immediate or long term health damage to mutilated girls, then they may not go ahead with FGM”. While such a “fatwa” or at least the clarification that followed were expected to bring about a new view point with respect to FGM, the “fatwa” and the clarification did not in fact propose anything new. At present, and in the past, parents are the ones who take the decision of circumcising girls. Moreover, this "fatwa" is putting scientific reports about the health consequences and damage caused by FGM to circumcised girls under question.

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