Malaysian activists want female circumcision banned

Malaysian activists want female circumcision banned

Malaysian activists want female circumcision banned

Posted 7 December 2012, 13:06 AEST

The Malaysian Government is reportedly developing guidelines to reclassify female genital mutilation as a medical practice.

The Malaysian Government is reportedly developing guidelines to reclassify female genital mutilation as a medical practice.

In 2009, the Fatwa Committee of Malaysia's National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs ruled the practice, was obligatory for Muslims, but if harmful, must be avoided.

Human rights groups say they are concerned government is relying on the council's religious beliefs to develop wider reaching policies.

"The Ministry of Health is taking steps now to make it standardised or medicalised in such a way that it might be applied to all public health care facilities," said Activist Azrul Mohamad Khalib.

He told Connect Asia so-called female circumcision has no religious or medical benefits and must be abolished.

"When it comes to female circumcision the position that has been taken is that if it does do no harm, why not do it.

"Whereas our position is that it very much should be if there are no benefits to it, why do it," he said.