FGM not illegal and a common practice

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In their latest Human Rights in Iraq Report the State Department mentions FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan:

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not illegal and is a common practice particularly in the rural areas of the Kurdistan region and other areas of the country where Kurdish communities live. Several NGOs that worked to halt FGM had anecdotal evidence that in rural villages as many as 90 percent of women had undergone the procedure, and in urban areas as many as 30 percent. The government offered no substantive assistance for victims of FGM.

On February 6, the Association for Crisis Assistance and Development Cooperation (WADI) released the findings of a representative empirical study on FGM in the Kurdistan region which noted that the majority of women in the region had undergone FGM. On June 16, Human Rights Watch released a report describing the experiences of girls and women who had undergone FGM. On July 6, the High Committee for Issuing Fatwas at the Kurdistan Islamic Scholars Union issued a fatwa declaring that “female circumcision” was a pre-Islamic practice that should be avoided for health reasons. On July 12, the Ministry for Endowments and Religious Affairs in the KRG asked clerics to note in sermons and Friday prayers that FGM was not an Islamic practice.

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