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Roots Of FGM Lie In Tribal Culture, Not Religion

“Female genital mutilation has long survived, hidden under the cloak of religious, cultural, and tribal practices, but … 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,” Ufuk Gokcen, ambassador and permanent representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the United Nations, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Religion” blog. “We can no longer allow the ignorance surrounding women’s rights and FGM to be perpetuated by traditions and rituals disguised as religious teachings,” he adds.

“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,” Gokcen continues. He says “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.” The perpetuation of the practice “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,” he states, adding, “From Muslim women activists who agree that FGM is incompatible with Islam to global or local religious leaders who are making a stand against this horrific act, we must not only support their message but also put power behind these statements” (2/8).