“In front of Mr Trump, the Prime Minister said that the point of the ‘Special Relationship’ was to have a frank dialogue. Well, this is one area where we need to be frank about where we stand. As an important ally of the United States, surely we have a duty to remind them of the values on which they were founded upon.”
June 23, 2014
The Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s largest Muslim organisation, has condemned the practice of female genital mutilation as “un-Islamic” and told its members that FGM risks bringing their religion into disrepute. The influential MCB has for the first time issued explicit guidance, which criticises the practice and says it is “no longer linked to the teaching of Islam”. It added that one of the “basic principles” of Islam was that believers should not harm themselves or others.
The organisation will send flyers to each of the 500 mosques that form its membership, which will also be distributed in community centres in a drive to eradicate a practice that affects 125 million women and girls worldwide and can lead to psychological torment, complications during childbirth, problems with fertility, and death.
The MCB has collaborated with the African women’s support and campaigning organisation Forward and the Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the NHS (MSCP) to raise awareness of the dangers of FGM and warn practitioners that they face up to 14 years in prison if they subject girls to the practice, which involves the removal of the clitoris, or in more extreme cases the removal of the outer labia and the sewing up of the vagina, with a small hole left for menstruation and to pass urine.
The leaflet states: “FGM is not an Islamic requirement. There is no reference to it in the holy Qur’an that states girls must be circumcised. Nor is there any authentic reference to this in the Sunnah, the sayings or traditions of our prophet. FGM is bringing the religion of Islam into disrepute.”
The Home Office has held a summit at which other religious organisations, including the Shia al-Khoei Foundation and the Muslim Women’s Network UK, announced their support for a government declaration against FGM to be published.
Muslim organizations have condemned a planned demonstration by extremists who are calling for shari’a law in Britain. Parts of the media have also come under fire for implying that the extremists are representative of British Muslims generally.
The demonstration, involving a march from Parliament to Trafalgar Square on October 31, is organized by the fringe group Islam4UK, who support “the full implementation of shari’a law in the UK” and say that they “have had enough of freedom”. The group and events are mainly organized by extremist Anjem Choudary.
However, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body for Muslim organizations, said that they deplored the march and expressed their firm support for “the value of free speech in Britain”. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Britain told the Daily Telegraph that “99.999 per cent of Muslims despise these people. This only serves to fuel racial tensions.”
A government minister was accused today of bad manners and political expediency for walking out of a Muslim wedding in London after being told he could not sit with his wife.
Jim Fitzpatrick, the minister for food, farming and environment, left a constituent’s wedding at the London Muslim Centre, next door to and run by the East London mosque in Whitechapel, after being told that male and female guests were to be segregated.
Fitzpatrick said it was “strange” he could not sit with his GP wife Sheila at the ceremony on Sunday. “We’ve been attending [Muslim] weddings together for years but only recently has this strict line been taken. We left so as not to cause offence,” he said. But the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) accused the minister of turning a private matter for the families concerned into a political issue.