Lawmakers are “afraid of losing their political clout among the all-powerful conservative traditional and religious groups bent at retaining the practice.” Who are these “religious groups” that are bent on retaining the practice? They are Islamic groups. FGM is mandated in Islamic law: “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64
Why is it obligatory? Because Muhammad is held to have said so: “Abu al- Malih ibn Usama’s father relates that the Prophet said: ‘Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.’” — Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75
“Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: ‘Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.’” — Abu Dawud 41:5251
Unless and until its Islamic justifications, which everyone seems to want to cover up and deny, are addressed, FGM will never be eradicated. Anti-FGM movements will tell Muslim women (and men) about the health risks of FGM, and about how barbaric it is to work to deny women sexual pleasure and try to control them, and none of it will stop FGM. All that will wash over believers and what will be left will be the fact that it is justified in Islam — and that is the one thing the anti-FGM campaigners refuse to address. So they will, unfortunately, never succeed.