The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) strongly condemned the practice of female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, as un-Islamic, launching a flyer campaign to end the brutal custom.
Working with The Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development (FORWARD), an organization committed to promoting sexual and reproductive health for African women, the MCB created a brochure in association with the Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the National Health Service (NHS). According to The Guardian, this is the first time that the MCB, Britain's largest Muslim organization, has explicitly spoken out against the practice of FGM.
Dr. Yunes Teinaz, a FORWARD trustee and fellow at the Royal Society for Public Health, said in a press release:
FGM is practiced contrary to the teachings of Islam and is prohibited in the UK and most EU-countries. Many girls could be saved from their cruel fate, if there was more awareness among the community of the consequences of FGM. Let us make this possible by the joint work of FORWARD, MCB and religious leaders to build awareness about the negative consequences of FGM in the communities. We will continue to welcome any and every opportunity to raise our voices and to campaign against this illicit practice.
The MCB plans to put the flyers in each of the 500 mosques that make up its membership, raising awareness about the violent custom which affects between 100 to 140 million women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It is illegal in the UK, carrying with it a prison sentence of up to fourteen years, even if the mutilation took place outside of British borders.
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. FGM is bringing the religion of Islam into disrepute.
It also provides police, charity, and government hotlines to address suspected cases of FGM.
Last week, a summit of UK religious leaders met to sign a declaration against FGM, asserting that it is a practice unsupported by any religious doctrines. Sheikh Tayeb Mustapha Cham of the Taiba Welfare Foundation believes that religious leaders are duty-bound to speak out against FGM.
"Now it is only imams who are isolated from society who still support this practice," he told The Guardian. "Together we can remove those barriers and say this is nothing to do with religion. The voice [of religious leaders] will be heard, and if the advice comes from them, they will be obeyed."