Tariq Ramadan, an Islamic scholar whom Oxford University treats as a feather in its cap, recently shocked the world by meticulously trying to avoid any criticism of female genital mutilation (FGM). Instead, he asserted that it is a part of Islamic tradition and an internal matter for Muslims in the West.
Although Ramadan -- the grandson of the Egyptian cleric Hassan al Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood -- carefully chose to mention in a recent statement that although he himself does not support FGM, it is mentioned in the Hadith (the acts and sayings of the prophet Mohamed); that it is still recommended by many of the esteemed scholars of Islam and that it cannot be termed un-Islamic.
He also suggested that those who support such rituals as FGM should not be criticized or fired from their jobs. The remark was apparently a reference to Shaker Elsayed, the imam of Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, who was fired for endorsing FGM. He had also stated that Islam encourages FGM to prevent women from being "hypersexual."