CAIRO – UK’s largest Muslim organization has issued an explicit guidance for the first time to condemn female genital mutilation as “un-Islamic”, asserting that the practice risks bringing their religion into disrepute.
"We at the MCB are pleased to address this very important issue of female genital mutilation,” Dr Shuja Shafi, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, told The Guardian.
“Working closely together we can end this practice and ensure it is no longer linked to the religion of Islam or the teachings of the prophet Muhammad."
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Issued for the first time, the new guidance by the influential MCB criticizes FGM practice and says it is "no longer linked to the teaching of Islam".
The guidance added that one of the "basic principles" of Islam was that believers should not harm themselves or others.
The release of the leaflet followed cooperation between MCB, the African women's support and campaigning organization Forward and the Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the NHS (MSCP).
Raising awareness of the dangers of FGM, the new leaflets also warn practitioners that they face up to 14 years in prison if they subject girls to the practice.
"FGM is not an Islamic requirement. There is no reference to it in the holy Qur'an that states girls must be circumcised. Nor is there any authentic reference to this in the Sunnah, the sayings or traditions of our prophet,” the leaflet states.
“FGM is bringing the religion of Islam into disrepute.
It also states that there is "an increasingly high risk of being prosecuted" for carrying out mutilation, which has been illegal in Britain since 1985.
The flyers will be sent to 500 mosques that form the MCB membership.
The guidance would also be distributed in community centers in a drive to eradicate a practice that affects millions of women and girls worldwide.
Dr Soheir Elneil, chair of the African women's campaign group Forward, which helped to prepare the leaflet, praised the publication of the guidance as a step forward in the battle to bring FGM to an end within a generation.
"This is the first time such a publication has been achieved with the full cooperation and support of the relevant parties, and we hope all those working in FGM will find it a helpful tool in the work that they do," she said.
"It states that FGM is non-Islamic and is against the teachings of Islam, that it is putting the health of women and girls at risk, and informs the reader of the legal implications in the UK of carrying out the practice."
FGM includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for traditional socio-religious and other non-medical reasons.
The practice involves using blades -- often unsterilized and without anaesthesia -- to slice off the clitoris and sometimes other parts of the external genitalia.
The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women, but instead causes severe bleeding, urinating problems, and later, childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending child births.
FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the basic human rights of girls and women and is mainly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and the age of 15.
Many countries have put in place policies and legislations to ban the practice.
Though illegal, FGM is still practiced throughout the world.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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