The Dawoodi Bohra community in London has been asked by its local authority on Monday to stop the practice of female circumcision or "khatna" as it goes against the UK law, reports said on Tuesday. Bohras in Australia were also asked to stop the practice recently.
The circular, shared by an anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) group on social media and sent to the local community in London, states that under the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005, "khafd" or "khatna" is illegal in the country. It also warns the Bohras that taking the child to another country for the procedure is equally punishable.
Dawoodi Bohras are a small community of Shia Muslims originating from Gujarat, and the only known community to practice FGM in India, according to Scroll. However, India has no law against the painful procedure, which can cause infection, infertility, mental health problems and other ailments. Recently, a section of Bohra Muslim women started a month-long campaign in India to spread awareness regarding the practice of FGM in the country.
Publisher and activist Masooma Ranalvi, herself a victim of female circumcision, runs the Twitter account Speak Out on FGM. She told the Huffington Post: "It is extremely unsettling that this practice continues. There is absolutely no consent involved. We don't have any valid reason as to why someone is tampering with our body.
"The basic idea behind it is that the sexuality of a girl/woman has to be controlled by the man. It perpetuates the idea that women's bodies have to be altered, their sexuality has to be curbed, she should be denied the right to love, and the right to enjoy sex or even have an orgasm," she added.
The aforementioned month-long campaign, named "Each One Reach One", was started after three people were convicted in November 2015 for practising "khatna" in Australia on two sisters. One of the sister had given testimony against her mother for circumcising her. A nurse and a clergyman were also convicted, reported The Guardian. Last week, Bohra residents of Australia were asked to stop "khatna" that can be categorised as Type 1 FGM.
FGM is practised mainly in African Islamic countries, and there, too, it has been outlawed greatly. According to World Health Organisation, 125 million women and girls alive today have been subjected to FGM, while it is estimated that every year 3 million more go through this procedure, which is believed to keep women "pure".