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Religious leader claims ignorance is behind FGM in Iraq

Figo, 4.11. 2013. Female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Kurdistan region of Iraq has been described as a “practice that results from ignorance or religious fervency” by one of the area’s best-known religious commentators. Adnan Ibraham made the comments to Al-Monitor after a report released by UNICEF revealed the problem is still most rife in Kurdistan – where, in most cases, it is justified by perpetrators based on religious interpretations.

FGM was criminalised by the Iraqi government in 2011 following a protracted period of debate surrounding the decision that lasted six years. Since then, UNICEF has confirmed that recorded cases of FGM have almost halved, but the disproportionately high number of victims in Erbil, Sulaimaniyah and Kirkuk is a worrying prospect. Eight per cent of Iraqi women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to some form of the practice.

Mr Ibraham went on to dispel any links between FGM and Islam, saying: “There is no single piece of evidence in the Qur’an or sunna that legitimises or calls for [female] circumcision.”
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