This post has been updated.
A United Nations official claims that the militant Islamist group ISIS has ordered all women between the age of 11 and 46 in Mosul, Iraq to undergo female genital mutilation, according to the BBC.
However, some reporters dispute the UN’s account. Shiraz Maher, a Senior Fellow at King’s College London, told the Independent that the order reviewed by the UN is likely a fake distributed by a group opposing ISIS.
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) July 24, 2014
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UN official Jacqueline Badcock claims that ISIS issued a fatwa ordering the practice, which she says is “very new for Iraq.” According to the UN, the ISIS edict could impact nearly 4 million women in Iraq.
“This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists,” she told the BBC.
Female genital mutilation generally occurs before the age of 14, according to UNICEF. The practice is most common in Middle Eastern and African countries, where some cultures believe it prepares girls for adulthood and marriage.
The practice can result in health issues for women, including bleeding, infertility and infections.