113 cases of female genital mutilation reported to police in Birmingham, no prosecutions
The West Midlands in the UK is a small section of England that has Birmingham at its centre. Birmingham as a city is unrecognisable as British, due to the high volume of Muslims residing there. It is also the city in which Muslims are currently protesting (still) against the teaching of LGBT studies in the classrooms. Muslim parents are going so far as to send gay teachers death threats online, claiming that they’ll kill them or shoot them if their child turns out to be gay. This isn’t new. It’s been going on since 2015, with dismembered dogs’ and cats’ heads being left hanging on the railings of some schools. And as usual, the police aren’t being as quick to arrest these Muslim parents as they would be if roles were reversed and if someone sent death threats to a Muslim.
In 2017, West Midlands police came under fire on Twitter for stating that it is not always in the child’s best interests for the parents to be arrested in any instance of a child showing signs of genital mutilation. The Chief Constable for the area, after much public outrage, took to Twitter to assure the public that prosecutions would be sought in every instance where a child has been genitally mutilated.
In spite of this, 113 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) have been reported to the police, via a variety of sources ranging from schools, midwives, teachers, doctors, and so on, in the past year. Seven arrests have been made, but with no prosecutions.
FGM is physical abuse. Physical abuse does not come without attendant emotional and psychological abuse. The police don’t seem to recognise the nuanced elements of what it means for a child to endure FGM, or even to be abused, for that matter. They seem to think that cutting a child’s genitals is a stand-alone event with no further elements of associated abuse. If parents aren’t to be prosecuted, the very least that could be done to safeguard children is to place them in foster homes, or have them adopted out. That all sounds very simple, but even when it comes to foster care, the emphasis is still on raising the child as a Muslim (attending mosque, participating in Eid, attending Muslims schools, etc.). This is in spite of the fact that it was Islamic practice that led to the cutting of the child in the first place.
There are currently more Muslim children living in foster care in the UK than there are foster carers who are Muslims. Again, cultural sensitivity takes precedence over a child’s well-being. We are told that even although a child has had her genitals mutilated, it is of the utmost importance that that child be raised by Muslim foster carers, in order that their Muslim faith and cultural heritage and practices are maintained. This extends even to Muslim children who are born in the UK. Surely if a person is born in the UK, then her culture would be English or Welsh or Scottish, and not Muslim. Since when did “Muslim” become a culture? If your culture sanctions the cutting of a child’s genitals because of religious or cultural reasons, then perhaps it’s best that that child is no longer exposed to that culture.