Hoaxes & Rumors

ISIS Female Genital Mutilation Story Called a Hoax

ISIS Female Genital Mutilation Story Called a Hoax

A report by the U.N. today expressed concerns that the Iraqi militant group ISIS had ordered female genital mutilation for girls between 11 and 46. The report has been called into question. Is this story real or just another internet hoax?

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The Story

The United Nations issued a statement that the militant group ISIS had ordered all females around the city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation. Jacqueline Badcock, a senior U.N. official, told reporters that the new development was of “grave concern” and needed “to be addressed.” Given the group’s brutal reputation, the story was not questioned at first, and it circulated heavily via social media. Badcock suggested that the edict, known as fatwa, could affect millions of girls in the region.

Doubts Arise

Not long after the story broke, experts and casual readers began to question the report. Below are several responses to the story, which has been called into question.

Al Anan reporter Jenan Moussa tweeted that her contacts in the city had not heard of such a report, and called it “fake.”

The document from which the original report was based was called into question. This blogger contends that the document dates back to July 2013.


  • Mona Eltahawy, a writer of feminism and Arab and Muslim issues, also questioned the date of the document, tweeting that it was from Syria in June 2013.
  • Shaista Aziz, journalist and blogger, noted that “Iraqi contacts say #Mosul story is fake. No evidence ISIS calling for #FGM to be carried out against girls and women #Iraq.”
  • Leila Fadel, Cairo Bureau Chief for NPR, tweeted that residents of Mosul described the story as “false.”
  • The Independent’s i100 has also referred to the story as “false.”
  • Think Progress referred to the report as “less than accurate.”

After a strong social media backlash to the U.N. announcement, a U.N. spokesman in Geneva said that they were investigating the report further to determine its veracity.

Bottom Line

The U.N. report of female genital mutilation by militants in Iraq has been called false by several experts. U.N. officials have stated that they are looking into the matter further to determine the source of the original report.

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