Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK 
A ground-breaking, harrowing and challenging report into FGM was published yesterday at the House of Commons by the Royal Colleges of Midwifery, Nursing and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Unite union and Equality Now, Female genital mutilation/cutting: a statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change(pdf). It speaks for itself and I have nothing of value to add to it.

What I do take issue with, is the continued association of FGM with Islam and Muslims. FGM is categorically not a religious ritual for any religion, certainly not Islam. It is not prevalent in the Muslim world, it is prevalent in tropical Africa. Yet even the Guardian chooses to include a reference to Islam in its article, "FGM is carried out in Africa and the Middle East by Muslims and non-Muslims. It predates Islam and is not called for in the Qur'an although it mostly occurs in countries that became Islamic."

Correct, it is not called for in the Qur'an, the Qur'an has many things to say about those who are abusive to what Allah has created. No it does not occur "mostly in countries that became Islamic" whatever that is supposed to mean. You can see for yourself which countries, in the same newspaper's extract of statistics. Reading as a logician, the pathetic phrase "carried out ... by Muslims and non-Muslims" makes the reference to Muslims entirely, gratuitously, spurious ..... to trivialise, it includes the entire regional population of wombats, even those that are Jehovah's Witnesses.

The only explicit Islamic contribution, in 14 centuries, to FGM, is a hadith from the Messenger of Allah (S) advising an old lady of Madinah, that if she really must cut, cut little, and although it is in the collection of Abu Dawood, some Islamic references state it as 'daeef', weak in authenticity. (The most remarkable aspect of that is simply to emphasise just how wide-ranging and detailed is the scope of the historical record of the early years of Islam.)

But this blog is not simply another gripe about knee-jerk Islamophobia, I want to make clear that this kind of sloppy journalism is dangerous, putting people at risk. By dwelling on the tenuous link between Islam and FGM, journalists and scaremongerers draw attention away from the very large proportion of non-Muslim girls in the UK who are in jeopardy. The Guardian is read by numerous professionals and health practitioners among others, typically with an IQ in double figures at least, yet leads them to suppose that the primary criterion for assessing if a girl is at risk is whether or not her mother is wearing a headscarf. Gratuitous Islamophobia in the linking of FGM to Muslims and not to prevalent cultures, undermines the careful work of this report and thereby puts girls at risk of being overlooked.





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