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'Harmful and sinful': Islamic Centre of Ireland issues fatwa against female genital mutilation

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri issued the fatwa after a senior Muslim figure in Ireland said the practice is acceptable in some cases.

Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri said there is no evidence within Muslim law supporting the practice.
Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri said there is no evidence within Muslim law supporting the practice.
Image: Mark Stedman/Rollingnews.ie

THE ISLAMIC CENTRE of Ireland (ICI) has issued a fatwa to unequivocally condemn female genital mutilation.

The fatwa – which is a ruling on a given topic based on interpretation of the sources of Islamic law – was signed by the head imam of the ICI Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri.

He said that FGM in all its forms is “religiously impermissible and sinful”.

“It is binding on all Muslims to speak against this practice, stop it if they [are] aware of its occurrence, and report any knowledge of it to the authorities,” he said.

FGM refers to the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. The practice is most common in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and carried out due to cultural or religious traditions.

shaykh Source: Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri‏/Twitter

The fatwa comes after an interview on RTÉ’s Prime Time last week, with a leading figure in the Muslim community in Ireland Dr Ali Selim, who claimed FGM is acceptable in some cases.

He said that if a parent wants his daughter to undergo FGM, then they should seek the advice of their doctor as it can be necessary for medical reasons.

“We see female circumcision in the same way we see male circumcision. It might be needed for one person and not another, and it has to be done by a doctor and practised in a safe environment,” Selim said last Thursday.

Since then, Selim’s comments have come under sharp criticism from various quarters, with healthcare professionals, family organisations, and activists campaigning against the FGM culture refuting his claims.

In the fatwa issued by Al-Qadri, he said that while there had been some historical precedent among Muslim scholars accepting FGM, “we now know of the many psychological and physical harms of female genital mutilation”.

He added: “There is no doubt that FGM affects the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of women, and severely limits their life opportunities.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris welcome the “strong statement” which “makes it clear that FGM has no place in any society, it is wrong in all situations and is harmful and a violation and condemns it and rejects the appalling comments of Mr Selim”.

simon harris fgm tweet Source: Simon Harris/Twitter

With reporting from Gráinne Ni Aodha and Órla Ryan.

Read: Muslim spokesman criticised for saying it’s acceptable for girls to undergo FGM

Read: ‘Whenever you talk about female genital mutilation there’s a backlash’

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Sean Murray

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