Islamic centre says female genital mutilation is "undeniably a form of grievous harm"

The centre has issued a fatwa ruling that FGM is "religiously impermissible and sinful"

Islamic centre says female genital mutilation is "undeniably a form of grievous harm"

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri. Photo: Sam Boal/

The Islamic Centre of Ireland says it was shocked by a call to legalise female genital mutilation (FGM).

There's been controversy since its member Dr Ali Selim last week said 'female circumcision' was acceptable if done under medical supervision.

In an interview on RTÉ, he said: “I’m not an advocate of female genital mutilation, but I am an advocate of female circumcision.

"We see male circumcision in the same way we see female circumcision. It might be needed for one person and not another, and it has to be done by a doctor and practiced in a safe environment.”

Amid criticism of the comments by medical professionals and prominent members of the Muslim community, the Islamic Centre of Ireland last night issued a fatwa - an authoritative religious opinion - against FGM.

It states: "We state FGM in all its forms to be religiously impermissible and sinful. It is binding on all Muslims to speak against this practice, stop it if they [are] aware of its occurrence, and report any knowledge of it to the authorities."

The fatwa has been widely welcomed, including by Health Minister Simon Harris.

The centre's Assistant Imam Yusuf Murray, meanwhile, says the practice of FGM is outdated.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he observed: "We heard last week Dr Ali Selim's comments on Prime Time on RTÉ, and it was just something that shocked us.

"We don't deny that historically some Muslim scholars - not all - said that this act was merely permissible [...] That was, however, a time before the medical harms of this were known."

He added: "It's a principle of Islamic law that when the harms of something become known, the kind of Islamic view on it will change."

In terms of the fatwa, he noted: "Our aim and goal in terms of this publicity... it's not to do with trying to defend ourselves. We're not trying to run a PR campaign.

"We're putting these resources out there and raising this awareness in an effort to try and make young women safer and protect them from this practice."