Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia

The horn of Africa has the highest prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in the world, including in its most severe forms. Islamic texts are often used to justify FGM/C in this region; this despite the fact that the majority of the world’s Muslims do not practice it. While there is clear support in the Sunna (Prophet Muhammad’s teachings and actions) for male circumcision in Islam, there is no evidence for FGM/C. The support for male circumcision in Islam has been wrongfully applied to women. There is not a single verse in the Quran that can be used as a basis for FGM/C; on the contrary there are many verses that condemn the practice. There are strong stipulations in Islam that upholds the sanctity of the human body; causing harm to the human body without any religious justification is strictly prohibited.

Liv Tønnessen

Director of Center on Law and Social Transformation and Senior Researcher