Feb 07, 2011

Iraqi Kurdistan: Law Makers Learn of New Debates on FGM

A Kurdish Sharia Law expert has given his view on the practice of female circumcision which is currently being debated by the Kurdistan Parliament and society at large. 

Below is an article published by Rudaw: 

 “According to 11 verses of the Quran, female circumcision is forbidden," said Dr. Mustafa Zalmi.

Dr. Mustafa Zalmi, a leading Kurdish Shariah law expert, has said female circumcision, known internationally by women’s advocates as female genital mutilation (FGM), is forbidden and that he is willing to face anybody who disagrees.

Meanwhile, Kurdistan’s Fatwa Committee says it is waiting for medical advice regarding FGM, so it can make its own decision on the controversial issue.

“Anyone who would like to talk, I’m willing to debate with them regarding this matter; and I’m ready to do this face to face,” said Zalmi, former professor of religious studies at Baghdad’s Mustansiriya University, to Rudaw last week.

Zalmi, who gained his doctorate in religious studies from Cairo’s prestigious Azhar University, has recently published a book on FGM and has condemned the practice.

“According to 11 verses of the Quran, female circumcision is forbidden. FGM is not practiced in Mecca or Medina, and the Kurds have taken Islam from [the culture of] these places, so why do we have FGM in Kurdistan?” said Zalmi.

He also says in his book that victims of this practice are consequently affected by many illnesses and physical complaints, including reduction in fertility, severe pain during sexual intercourse and an increased possibility of death during childbirth.

“I have sent the book to the Kurdistan president, the Council of Ministers as well as the Kurdistan Parliament, so they can have FGM banned,” said Zalmi.

Mullah Ahmed Shafi’i, a member of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Fatwa Committee, supports Zalmi’s views on female circumcision.

“So far there have been a lot of different opinions on FGM from doctors, and if these views are in agreement and scientifically prove that FGM is bad for a person’s health, we will announce a fatwa against this practice,” said Shafi’i.

Furthermore, the head of the Kurdistan Doctors’ Syndicate, Dr. Hadi Naqishbandi, said the next meeting of the syndicate would discuss the practice of FGM in Kurdistan.

“We would like to talk about this issue and we would like those doctors who specialize in this field to give their views on it in terms of its effects on health,” said Naqishbandi.