A group of religious leaders and other prominent figures in Mauritania have issued a fatwa against female genital mutilation (FGM).
The fatwa says FGM "has been proven by experts to be detrimental, immediately or subsequently. Hence, such a practice, as is performed domestically, is hereby prohibited, on account of the harm it gives rise to", according to the Magharebia news website.
Sheikh Ould Zein Ould Imam, professor of jurisprudence at the University of Nouakchott, is quoted as saying: "There's no doubt that the fatwa will substantially curb [FGM], since it removes the religious mask such practices were hiding behind. We do need, however, a media campaign to highlight the fatwa, explain it and expound upon its religious and social significance."
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 16 January 2010.