Human rights trump multiculturalism “” this time. From the Guardian, :
Parents who take their daughters abroad to undergo female circumcision will face up to 14 years in jail under measures which come into force today.
As the new legislation was launched, home secretary David Blunkett met victims of female circumcision at a support centre in north-west London and described the practice as unjustifiable and “very harmful”.
The operation involves the surgical removal of the clitoris, and sometimes parts of the labia, reducing the ability to feel sexual pleasure. Although it is illegal in Britain, some ethnic minority communities have evaded the law by arranging for girls to have the operation during a “holiday” abroad.
Mr Blunkett said: “Female genital mutilation is a very harmful practice that is already rightly illegal in this country. No cultural, medical or other reason can ever justify a practice that causes so much pain and suffering.
“Regardless of cultural background, it is completely unacceptable and should be illegal wherever it takes place. The legislation which comes into force today will close a loophole in the previous law by preventing people taking young girls abroad to carry out female genital mutilation and bring us closer to eradicating this practice entirely.” . . .
Female genital mutilation is common among Somali, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Yemeni, Malaysian and Indonesian communities. It is more common among Muslims, but is not exclusively linked with Islam.