Female Circumcision

The Light (UK), February 2023 Issue (pp. 4–5)

Editor’s note: The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement has struggled to ban this practice for many years. Slowly Muslims are coming to the reforms advocated by the Promised Messiah [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian] because this was, and still is, his work and reform.

PETALING JAYA: The government has been urged to order a review of a 2009 fatwa [religious edict] by the national fatwa council that declared female circumcision compulsory.

Aleza Othman, communications officer of Sisters in Islam, told FMT that other Muslim countries, including Egypt and Indonesia, had issued fatwas stating that female genital mutilation was damaging to women and girls.

She said there was also no conclusive and valid Islamic text in the Quran or the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet) to justify the practice.

Aleza acknowledged that the Islamic development department (Jakim) and the Muzakarah Committee were the most significant challenges to abolishing the practice.

“Most medical practitioners who perform female circumcision on babies in clinics and hospitals have no formal training. They learn the procedure from their seniors, who learned it from their previous seniors.

“The practice of passing on such knowledge without official medical training can do more harm,”

she said.

Another activist group, Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia, said there was no proof that female circumcision had any medical benefits.

The group’s president Dr Subatra Jayaraj said female genital mutilation was rooted in traditional views and was a patriarchal practice.

International health experts say that female circumcision can cause immediate and long-term health risks from excessive bleeding and urinary problems and could also lead to higher risks of childbirth complications.

However, the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement or Abim, said it was more important to guarantee the procedure’s safety than to ban the practice.

“It does not affect the girls’ physical or mental health or psychology. Thus, it is important to ensure the procedure is safe and harmless to them,”

said Abim vice-president Fatin Nur Majdina Nordin.

She added that it was the parents’ right to decide on religious grounds if they wanted their daughters circumcised.

The United Nations has called for an end to female genital mutilation by 2030 and declared Feb 6 the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

It said over the last 25 years, the prevalence of FGM has declined globally.

The practice is primarily concentrated in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East but is also practised in some countries in Asia and Latin America, and among immigrant communities in western countries, the UN says.