By Rayehe Mozafarian, 06.08.2014
In 2010, the sentences of Shi’ite religious leaders were collected and published in “Razor and Tradition” book.
Gand Ayatollah Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani, the highest-ranking Shia (Marja’) in Iraq and the leader of the Hawza of Najaf said then: “Female Genital Cutting is not Haram” (Haram is used to refer to any act that is forbidden by Allah).
In recent years, new studies and information about FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan, Kirkuk and some Governorates in Southern Iraq as well as other Middle Eastern countries has been collected and published, for example by the association WADI. Recent worrying news that FGM is being ordered by ISIS has thrown the media into doubt.
A change can be seen in Ayatollah Sistani`s viewpoint. According to http://www.sistani.org/persian/qa/0896/#24940 he answered a question about FGM.
Question: Is female circumcision obligatory or is tradition and merely recommended?
Answer: If the purpose of female genital crcumcision is cutting clitoris this operation is not right and is not a religious tradition. If the girl is hurt, it is prohibited. Female genital (sexual) mutilation or cutting off a part of her genital is certainly a crime against girls and there is no permission and justification for parents to do this operation.