FGM is reported in at least five Middle Eastern countries: Iraq, Iran, Oman, the U.A.E. and Yemen. It is furthermore suspected that FGM is practised within the large African diaspora communities in the Middle East, especially from high FGM prevalence countries like Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. IOM data would suggest that the largest of these at risk diaspora communities are resident in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Oman, Israel and Lebanon.
Stop FGM Middle East is a reliable source of further information on FGM in the region.
Information about FGM in Kurdish northern Iraq first appeared globally in 2004 and a study by Wadi shows that the majority of girls living in northern Iraq are likely to have undergone FGM. Education, with its links to other socio economic factors seems to play a key role, with Wadi’s study showing the 84% of illiterate women had undergone FGM in comparison to 34% of women with a university education. FGM in Kurdish northern Iraq is regarded by some as a religious issue whilst others see it as cultural. There is some evidence that younger women are less likely to have undergone FGM than older women, which may suggest that FGM in this region is in decline.