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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yemen's parliament refuses to outlaw female genital mutilation

This is astounding:
SANA’A, April-13 — Preventing female circumcision and pre-marriage medical tests evoked turmoil and disagreement among Parliament members (MPs) in last week’s session.

The session ended with a unanimous agreement to cancel the term 3, which would prevent female circumcision, and delay the discussion of pre-marriage tests.

...
Zid Al-Shami, an MP who suggested delaying the approval of the two terms, confirmed that such topics are “sensitive and need more awareness.”

“I suggested canceling term number three, about preventing female circumcision, for many reasons. First, the term, which was written in the draft, included inappropriate and shameful sentences. Second, female circumcision exists in few regions in Yemen, like in Hodeidah and Hadramout, so it not common practice. And finally, there is still religious debate regarding the issue, so as we have no directives by the heads of religion to forbid female circumcision, we do not have the right to ban it,” Al-Shami explained.
Wikipedia has a good overview of the Islamic debate over FGM, and showing that at least some Islamic scholars do find Islamic legal justifications for this barbarism.