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Huffington Post: De-linking Female Genital Mutilation From Religion

by Ufuk Gokcen (Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, United Nations)

Female genital mutilation has long survived, hidden under the cloak of religious, cultural, and tribal practices, but this week, as we commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), it is time for every leader whether political or religious, whether male or female, to unequivocally stand in opposition to FGM. We can no longer allow the ignorance surrounding women’s rights and FGM to be perpetuated by traditions and rituals disguised as religious teachings.

As the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Ambassador to the United Nations, I personally find it important to combat any notion that FGM is in the true nature of Islam. OIC Secretary General Professor Ihsanoglu recently stated that FGM “is a ritual that has survived over centuries and must be stopped as Islam does not support it.” Yet, despite statements from political and religious leaders and studies such as the Frontiers Program report put out by USAID de-linking FGM from Islam, the practice continues at an alarming rate. This can be explained by the fact that the practice takes its roots primarily in tribal culture, not religion; though some misguided local religious scholars might contest otherwise. Read more