This week, 34 well-regarded Mauritanian religious and national leaders signed a fatwa, or Islamic law, banning female genital mutilation (FGM). The fatwa is considered a huge stride toward women’s rights in the Islam world.
Female genital mutilation, or genital cutting, is a form of female circumcision. It entails removing all or part of the external female genitalia, including the clitoris and labia.
It is often practiced on girls between the time they’re born and their early teen years. After the circumcision is complete, many experience severe bleeding, difficulty urinating, childbirth complications and, in some cases, death.