A senior Muslim cleric in Russia has prompted controversy by urging universal female genital mutilation after a rights group released a report on the practice in the country’s North Caucasus region.
Mufti Ismail Berdiyev, who heads a Muslim association for the North Caucasus region, said Wednesday that if FGM “could be applied to all women, that would be very good” in an interview with Interfax news agency.
The practice, which ranges from pricking of the clitoris to its complete removal, causes infections and loss of sensation.
The procedure has come under massive international scrutiny in recent years, with UN chief Ban Ki-Moon in 2014 launching a global campaign to end it.
Berdiyev, who was decorated by President Vladimir Putin in March, said FGM does not stop women from fulfilling their ordained role of motherhood and if all women were mutilated, “there would be less fornication”.
He later retracted his comments, claiming that he had been joking and Islam does not call for FGM.