A Virginia imam has been filmed advocating for female genital mutilation, describing it as the ‘honorable thing to do’ for young girls.
Imam Shaker Elsayed seemed to throw his support behind the practice during a lecture at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia, last Friday.
‘(Circumcism is) a sunna for the boys, and the honorable thing to do – if needed – for the girls. This is something that a Muslim gynecologist can tell you if you need to or not,’ he said in the video, which was posted on the center’s YouTube page before being removed.
Footage of the speech has since been posted online by the Middle East Research Media Institute. In it, the imam continued: ‘There used to be a lady who used to do this for women, or, I mean, young girls.
‘She is expected to cut only the tip of the sexual sensitive part in the girl, so that she is not hyper-sexually active.
‘This is the purpose.’
Elsayed’s speech then changed course and focused on the reasons why the practice had to be carried out by someone with proper ‘training and knowledge’.
‘Of course, if that lady or surgeon cut more than the tip, it causes serious harm in the sexual life of the child when she grows up, and this is why the West thinks of (it) as sexual mutilation,’ he said.
‘Because in many of the Muslim countries, ladies and men who are not qualified and do not have the training or the knowledge as to what exactly needs to be done, they cut more than needed.
‘They end up damaging the sexual sensuality of the woman, when she becomes an adult, and she becomes cool or cold in the sexual relationship. And this is haram. This is prohibited, OK?’
The lecture then took another turn, as the imam explained why he believes the practice to be necessary.
‘On the contrary, you see in societies where circumcision of girls is completely prohibited, hyper-sexuality takes over the entire society, and a woman is not satisfied with one person, or two, or three,’ he said.
‘This is, God forbid, now happening even in Muslim societies where they prohibit circumcision.
‘They use a mistake in practice to prohibit the tradition, and they end up causing a lot of damage on the other extreme side of the sexual life of a woman.’
The shocking practice, according to the Washington Post, is pushed in large part due to the want to suppress female sexuality and incorrect claims about potential health benefits – despite it not having any basis is the teachings of the Koran.
Dar al-Hijrah’s Board of Directors blasted the imam’s comments on Monday, in a statement given to the Post.
‘We at Dar Al-Hijrah, DO NOT condone, promote, or support any practice of FGM,’ it read.
‘(Circumcism is) a sunna for the boys, and the honorable thing to do – if needed – for the girls.
This is something that a Muslim gynecologist can tell you if you need to or not,’ the imam said
‘The reference to “Hyper-sexuality” is offensive and it is unequivocally rejected. The Board of Directors is particularly disturbed by such comments.’
It added that female genital mutilation is: ‘prohibited in Islam as well as the laws of the land’.
The imam also issued an apology, which read: ‘I hereby take it back. And I do apologize to all those who are offended by it’.
Elsayed has a controversial past, and earlier this year he was accused by right-wing website the Daily Caller of urging American Muslims to carry out jihad.
‘The enemies of Allah are lining up. The question for us is, are we lining [up] or are we afraid because they may call us terrorists?’ he allegedly told a group of African Muslims in Virginia, according to the website.
Dar al-Hijrah has about 3,000 regular visitors, according to the Post, and it has worked to change its image after being associated with terrorism in the past.
Two of the hijackers who helped carry out the September 11 attacks are said to have worshiped at the center.
Due to its infamy, those who attend the center to pray have been targets of abuse – especially in recent months, the Post reports.
The newspaper reports there have been incidents of anti-Muslim hate speech and threats of violence directed towards worshipers.