The Council of Muslim Organisations has said that female circumcision is a religious act that must be allowed to flourish and be practised in all Muslim communities in Nigeria.
The Coordinator, CMO, Justice Idris Haroon (retd), also urged the government not to criminalise the practice.
Haroon, who is also a former Grand Khadi, Kwara State Sharia Court of Appeal, spoke during a media briefing in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Tuesday.
He urged government to turn deaf ears to people clamouring for the criminalisation of female circumcision.
He said Muslims should not be denied this practice as, according to him, it is a religious one endorsed by Prophet Muhammad.
He stated that female circumcision was not synonymous with female genital mutilation, adding that they should not be used interchangeably in any context.
Haroon said, “Anti-female circumcision campaigners should conscientiously grasp the different between female circumcision and female genital mutilation. Any attempt, whether by commission or omission, to equate female circumcision with female genital mutilation will be viewed by Muslims as a willful demonstrations of intense hatred for Islam and as a deliberate distortion of our religious practice, which must be resisted.
“Anti-female circumcision campaigners should channel their genuine activities towards communities or cultures that practise female genital mutilation and female genital cosmetic surgery, which even has grave and adverse effects on the girl child and which, surprisingly, has never been condemned, either by the West or by their African cohorts.
“The menace of local circumcisers, popularly known as oloola, and their crude and unsterilised instruments, should be addressed by the government.”
The retired jurist also decried non-call to Bar of a law graduate from the University of Ilorin, Firdauz Amasa, for wearing hijab during the Call to Bar event.
He stated that there had been many court pronouncements upholding the wearing of hijab by female Muslims, adding that wearing it was constitutional.