Newstalk
Newstalk

15.23 13 Feb 2018


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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."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Islamic Centre of Ireland launches <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FatwaAgainstFGM?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FatwaAgainstFGM</a> to unequivocally condemn <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FGM?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FGM</a>, reject <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AliSelim?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AliSelim</a> remarks and support <a href="https://twitter.com/IfrahFoundation?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IfrahFoundation</a> and others in their campaign against <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EndFGM?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EndFGM</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/ireland?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ireland</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Muslims?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Muslims</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AliSelim?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AliSelim</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dublin?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dublin</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Fatwa?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Fatwa</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/GMCEndFGM?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GMCEndFGM</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/EndingFGM?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EndingFGM</a> <a href="https://t.co/BmcMkTIkMC">pic.twitter.com/BmcMkTIkMC</a></p>&mdash; Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri (@DrUmarAlQadri) <a href="https://twitter.com/DrUmarAlQadri/status/963136414392176641?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 12, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

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

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I welcome this strong statement this evening from the Islamic Centre of Ireland which makes it clear that FGM has no place in any society, it is wrong in all situations and is harmful and a violation and condemns it and rejects the appalling comments of Mr Selim <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EndFGM?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EndFGM</a> <a href="https://t.co/wLUBBMC3Dn">https://t.co/wLUBBMC3Dn</a></p>&mdash; Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) <a href="https://twitter.com/SimonHarrisTD/status/963155314488107008?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 12, 2018</a></blockquote>
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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."


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