In 2009, the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs (JAKIM) in Malaysia introduced a surprising and controversial Fatwa declaring female circumcision to be obligatory (wajib) for all Muslim women. This article addresses the issuing of this Fatwa in Malaysia and the circumstances that led to such a move. It provides an overview of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) as it exists in Malaysia and Southeast Asia and indicates how officially positioning FGC as a compulsory religious practice ultimately functioned to reclaim Islam and Islamic doctrine for current ruling Malaysian political organisations at a time of potential political change. It further argues that opposition to the Fatwa within Malaysia was actually a manifestation of internal frustrations with the current regime and an attempt by liberal forces to use globally dominant and reductive constructions of FGC as a means to reject and 'other' such developments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science