Imam under investigation
POLICE are investigating claims that a Muslim leader in Easton was caught on camera advocating female genital mutilation.
The Imam of Masjid al-Huda mosque on Fox Road was allegedly filmed by an undercover reporter from a national newspaper urging a follower to take women and girls abroad to have parts of their genitalia removed. The practice, known as FGM, was banned in the UK in 2003 and it is also illegal to encourage anyone to carry it out overseas.
The footage was obtained by the Sunday Times when a reporter posed as a Muslim seeking advice.
During a meeting at the mosque, the Imam is reported to have said: "In this country, it is not possible, we cannot do that.
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"The only advice I can give you, if you can, if possible, take your sister or your daughter to other countries that allows, it's no problem."
Although FGM is not advocated by Muslim scripture, it is practised in about 30 countries, including Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. It involves the removal of external female genitalia and in some cases the vagina being sewn partly shut.
People convicted of being involved in or facilitating FGM can be jailed for up to 14 years but so far in the UK there have been no prosecutions.
Police spokeswoman Claire Stanley said: "Information has been provided to the police and the substance of this is being reviewed prior to any decision being made on the way forward.
"We remain committed to working with our partners on an ongoing basis to tackle this very serious issue and are in consultation with them."
When contacted by the Post, a representative of the mosque declined to name the imam allegedly involved or to put a reporter in touch with him. He would not comment further, other than to say that the case was with the mosque's "legal advisors".