Sweden: Muslim Jailed For Daughter's Genital Mutilation

In 1982, Sweden introduced legislation to outlaw the Muslim practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), sometimes called "female circumcision". In this operation, the clitoris, and sometimes the outer labia are sliced away. Although it has sometimes been traditionally practiced in West Africa, among the Bambara for example, it has been virtually outlawed as a "tribal" custom. Only in East Africa does the practice flourish on the continent, where it is supported by Muslims.

In 1999, the original Swedish law was amended so that it did not only apply to operations performed on Swedish soil, but also made it a crime to take a child abroad for the procedure. FGM not only carries a high risk of infection, it also ruins the chances of a girl having sexual pleasure in adult life.

Today, Sweden's The Local and also the BBC reports that 41-year old Ali Elmi Hayow, who was granted citizenship in Sweden after living there since the 1980s, has been sentenced to four years jail for arranging to have his daughter mutilated in this fashion.

In 2002, when the daughter was 12 years old, he took two of his children to Somalia, where the daughter underwent the surgery. He claimed that "other people" had done the operation and denied the charges against him. He had taken the two children to Somalia with, he claimed, their mother's permission. The court was told that he had held his daughter down while she was mutilated.

However, the District Court at Gothenburg found him guilty of illegally taking the two children abroad, and guilty of arranging for his daughter to be mutilated. Both judgements were passed unanimously.

He was further told to pay his daughter 300,000 kronor ($41,000) in compensation, though she had demanded 650,000 kronor ($88,818). The judge said that the daughter had been a "credible" witness.

The trial was the first ever to be made under the law since it was introduced to the statute books.

The BBC states: "Globally, an estimated 130 million women have under gone circumcision, mainly in Africa, the Middle East and some Asian countries, and some 3 million women and girls are circumcised each year, according to the World Health Organisation."



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