READERS in Ealing may be aware of the recently-announced Government campaign against the barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

A recent report suggests as many as 137,000 women and girls in the UK have undergone FGM, leaving them physically and emotionally scarred. In addition, experts reckon there are still many thousands of young girls at risk.

Even though FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985, we have had to wait until this year for the first prosecution. This demonstrates that simply passing laws is not enough to stamp out this practice.

There has to be a determined effort to enforce the law and to educate the public. Fortunately, the Prime Minister recently announced that doctors, teachers and social workers will be under a legal obligation to report cases of FGM to the authorities.

We also need to fight the notion in some communities that FGM is a religious duty. There is nothing in Islam or any other religion that requires girls to be mutilated in this fashion.

Only when we all play our part in our local communities and not turn a blind eye can we live in a society where this truly evil practice can be stamped out.


MEP for London