ISIS jihadists did not order female genital mutilation in Iraq?

Last Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 - 15:17

Zee Media Bureau

Mosul: Jihadists in Iraq have not ordered women between the ages of 11 and 46 to undergo female genital mutilation as claimed by a senior UN humanitarian official, said reports across social media and global dailies.

Those who support the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), have rubbished the story as propaganda based on a fake document. However, residents of Mosul, as well as Kurdish officials, said it was true.

UN`s second most senior official in Iraq, Jacqueline Badcock, had on Thursday told reporters in Geneva via videoconference: "It is a fatwa (or religious edict) from ISIS, we learnt about it this morning. We have no precise numbers."

But several experts have speculated that the fatwa may have been a hoax, and a number of journalists said on Twitter that their contacts in Iraq had not heard of it being issued.

In actual, a document circulating on social media, believed to be the ISIS fatwa, is dated July 2013, originated in Aleppo, Syria, and is described as having being photoshopped.

Charles Lister, visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center and expert on Iraqi and Syrian extremist groups, said the UN claim appeared to be based on a "quite clearly faked statement" that began circulating online on Wednesday.
"It would certainly be a very big coincidence if the UN source was separate but happened to arise at the same time as this fake statement online," he said.

"FGM just doesn`t fit with the Islamic State`s image, notwithstanding how brutal an organisation it has proven itself to be," he added.

A spokesman for the UN in Geneva told a news agency that "checks" were underway in Iraq, and that until then "nothing had changed."

Badcock earlier said that if you took UN population figures as a guide, around "four million girls and women could be affected" by the alleged fatwa.

Female genital mutilation is unusual in Iraq and is only practised in "certain isolated pockets of the country", she added.

She said only 20 families from the ancient Christian minority now remain in Mosul, the northern Iraq city which ISIS has taken as the capital of its Islamic state. Most have reportedly fled north into Kurdish-controlled territory.
"It would certainly be a very big coincidence if the UN source was separate but happened to arise at the same time as this fake statement online," he said.

"FGM just doesn`t fit with the Islamic State`s image, notwithstanding how brutal an organisation it has proven itself to be," he added.

A spokesman for the UN in Geneva told a news agency that "checks" were underway in Iraq, and that until then "nothing had changed."

Badcock earlier said that if you took UN population figures as a guide, around "four million girls and women could be affected" by the alleged fatwa.

Female genital mutilation is unusual in Iraq and is only practised in "certain isolated pockets of the country", she added.

She said only 20 families from the ancient Christian minority now remain in Mosul, the northern Iraq city which ISIS has taken as the capital of its Islamic state. Most have reportedly fled north into Kurdish-controlled territory.

Badcock said some Christians have converted to Islam, while others have opted to stay and pay the jiyza, the tax on non-Muslims the Islamic State has imposed.

The Islamic State took over large swathes of the country last month and has begun imposing its extreme Salafist interpretation of Islam.

(With AFP inputs)

AFP

First Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 - 09:17

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