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‘My daughters were circumcised, they’re growing up perfectly’: Twitter is hit by furious backlash after Muslim group’s video promoting sickening FGM practice is seen 30,000 times
- Muslim group called Dawoodi Bohra Women for Religious Freedom posted tweet
- Video featured woman justifying ‘khafz’ – or female circumcision – on young girls
- But group paid for ‘promoted’ tweet so it showed up for users who didn’t follow it
- Twitter said the promoted tweet had been ‘removed for violation of our policies’
By Mark Duell for MailOnline, 20 September 2018:
Twitter has faced a backlash after adverts advocating female genital mutilation on children were viewed more than 30,000 times after being promoted on the website.
A Muslim group calling itself Dawoodi Bohra Women for Religious Freedom posted a tweet last week justifying ‘khafz’ – or female circumcision – on young girls.
The tweet featured a video of group member Arwa Sohangpurwala saying: ‘My daughters have also undergone khafz, and they’re growing up as perfectly as other children of their age.As a mother, I can never do anything to harm them.’
A Muslim group calling itself Dawoodi Bohra Women for Religious Freedom posted a tweet last week justifying ‘khafz’ – or female circumcision – on young girls
But because the group paid for the tweet to be ‘promoted’, it showed up on the timelines of users who didn’t even follow the Dawoodi Bohra account.
Twitter users were quick to slam the advert. Esmael Omar tweeted: ‘Speak for yourself, woman. Don’t speak on behalf of innocent girls.
‘FGM is FGM no matter how you want sugar coat it. Leave alone cutting – even touching the female genitalia of a girl is still child abuse. Twitter must explain why they sponsored such a message.’
Paul Hart added: ‘Did you ask your daughters beforehand or did YOU make the decision to mutilate their genitals for them? Sick.’
Ingrid Srinath said: ‘Sorry, what?! Twitter is carrying an ad for female genital mutilation?’
Mariya Taher added: ‘I’m wondering how Twitter can say that an ad promoting female genital cutting/mutilation doesn’t violate community standards?’
The law on female genital mutiliation
More than 200 million girls and women are estimated to have experienced FGM, a life-threatening procedure that involves the partial or total removal of a woman’s external genitalia.
Girls aged 14 and younger represent 44million of those who have been cut, most commonly in Gambia, Mauritania and Indonesia.
The procedure is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and 15.
Once girls have been cut, they are deemed ready for marriage and taken out of school – but FGM causes health problems and can be fatal.
It is practised by Muslim and Christian communities in some countries, but it is not mentioned in the Koran or Bible.
The practice is illegal in Britain, but around 137,000 girls from the UK are thought to be taken to countries that still perform the procedure.
It remains legal in Chad, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan.
A Twitter spokesman said: ‘This was a promoted tweet and was removed for violation of our policies.’
The Dawoodi Bohra Women for Religious Freedom group – a branch of the Shi’ite Muslim community – promotes female circumcision and claims that it has been ‘wrongly classified as female genital mutilation’.
It also claims the procedure involves ‘removal of a speck of superficial skin, a simple gentle process in which there is negligible, if any, pain’.
However, the World Health Organization still classifies the smallest form of removal as type 1 FGM.
Unicef estimates that more than 200million women have undergone FGM procedures worldwide.
Twitter previously blocked adverts from pro-life group Live Action, describing them as ‘inflammatory or provocative’.
The DBWRF group says it is ‘dedicated towards conserving and guarding the cultural and religious rights of Dawoodi Bohra women’, a sect in Shia Islam.
The organisation was formed in May 2017 and is said to represent tens of thousands of women who ‘strongly believe in preserving their religious and cultural heritage’.
It adds: ‘DBWRF advocates for the rights of Dawoodi Bohra women in India to ensure that Dawoodi Bohra women in India live with dignity and honour and are able to exercise their religious and cultural rights, including their right to practise khafz.’
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