A likely criminal prosecution for the Female Genital Mutilation of a baby girl less than 2 months old is pending.
This is to be welcomed. This is the youngest age of a known victim and huge efforts are being made to gather the evidence needed to bring charges.
This barbaric practice has been illegal in Britain since Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985, but no prosecutions have been brought in almost 30 years since then. This is in a marked contrast with other European countries where prosecutions have succeeded, for example: 100 convictions in France.
It was estimated that in 2007 66,000 women were affected in England and Wales. Each year more than 20?000 girls under the age of 15 years living in the UK are believed to be subjected to this act.
The detectives investigating the case believed that there will soon be a breakthrough and had submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.
But because a surgery was carried out overseas they are unsure whether the charges can be brought. Because legislation was passed in 2003 to make it illegal to take a girl abroad for FGM, the victim or the offender must be a UK citizen or residing permanently in the UK.
In this case, it is unclear whether the baby was British when she was mutilated. The 2 people allegedly responsible were not residing here permanently at the time. The key date will be determined by medical records.
Family Law solicitor, Aina Khan, said “It would take only one successful prosecution to send out a message, loud and clear, that this horrific practice is illegal. It is forbidden in Islam to carry out an act not required by Islamic law, which causes harm to others.
Although FGM is a remnant from pre-Islamic cultures, it is still carried out by some Muslim communities. This practice is purely cultural and prevails in certain areas of Africa and Asia. It must be stamped out ruthlessly in the UK and a wide process of education carried out in parallel, to ensure Muslims act in accordance with their faith and not with their culture if it goes against UK law”.
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