Muslim groups say the practice is bringing ‘Islam into disrepute’
Richard Pohle/The Times
Muslim groups say the practice is bringing ‘Islam into disrepute’ Richard Pohle/The Times
Published at 12:01AM, May 26 2014
Muslim groups describe the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) as “our jihad”, and say it is a practice that is “bringing Islam into disrepute”.
Thousands of leaflets will be distributed next month to mosques, community centres and schools, urging Muslims to end an “oppressive and inhumane” custom that has no root in religion.
It is the first time that the Islamic Sharia Council, the Muslim College and the Muslim Council of Britain have come together to condemn FGM, which may affect up to 20,000 British girls.
“FGM is not an Islamic requirement. There is no reference in the Koran that states girl must be circumcised,” the leaflet says. “FGM is bringing the religion of Islam into disrepute.”
The message follows a statement released by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Britain, calling for an end to “the oppressive cultural practice that has no place in the civilised world”.
Farooq Aftab, from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association UK, said that the reaction had been positive, particularly with groups of young men.
“FGM is an oppressive and inhumane cultural practice, there is no place for it in the civilised world,” said Mr Aftab. “It’s got nothing to do with religion and is not condoned by Islam. We want to remove that misconception.
“This is the challenge we face. It is our jihad. All the moderate voices, the correct voices of Islam, have to come out. We need to take a stand. We need to tell people to correct their understanding of what Islam is. This is what jihad is, the struggle to fight against these atrocities. We are fighting to correct the perception of Islam.”
He added: “We are educating the youth. Young men find it extremely concerning and worrying that people are doing this. A lot of them are very angry and upset that it’s been done in the name of Islam.”
Mr Aftab said that social media has been extremely useful for spreading the message that FGM is an “un-Islamic atrocity”.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been distributing leaflets, headed “FGM — not in the name of Islam” to men, women and young people who attend their mosques. The group is also running question-and-answer sessions at community centres and conducting a survey of the Ahmadiyya community, who live in 204 countries worldwide, to gauge their perceptions and understanding of FGM.
The community was founded in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889 and has millions of members who believe in the five pillars of Islam and that Ahmad was the Messiah personified. Ahmadiyya Muslims reject any “jihad of the sword” and instead promote a “jihad of the pen”, they say.
Mr Aftab said: “It is very important that the men are involved, because you can’t isolate them to deal with this. Our women are fully included in our activities and they have an opinion and a voice. That’s the difference between us and other Muslims.”