The United Nations, expressing deep concern, said on Thursday that militant group Islamic State had ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation. But doubts emerged on social media about the basis for the report. One document posted on Twitter suggested it may be a year old and have been issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, the group's previous name. Other Internet comments, including from Middle East analysts, questioned whether the order fit with the cultural traditions of the region.A U.N. spokesman in Geneva said that they were seeking clarity and trying to establish the facts.
Such a "fatwa" issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcock told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil. "We have current reports of imposition of a directive that all female girl children and women up to the age of 49 must be circumcised. This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed," Badcock said. There was no immediate comment from Islamic State which has led an offensive through northern and western Iraq.
First published July 24 2014, 6:30 AM