In Bristol, as in many other cities in Britain, we are approaching the cutting season. Yes, the summer holidays when thousands of young girls have their genitals mutilated. It’s called Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

FGM is associated almost solely with Muslims, although there is no reference to it in the Qu’ran. The prophet Muhammad said the procedure was “noble” but not essential. Noble? Good grief. Here, from the NHS website, I reproduce the types of FGM:

Type 1 – clitoridectomy – removing part or all of the clitoris.
Type 2 – excision – removing part or all of the clitoris and the inner labia (lips that surround the vagina), with or without removal of the labia majora (larger outer lips).
Type 3 – infibulation – narrowing of the vaginal opening by creating a seal, formed by cutting and repositioning the labia.
Other harmful procedures to the female genitals, which include pricking, piercing, cutting, scraping and burning the area.

It gets worse. The NHS goes on: ‘The procedure is traditionally carried out by a woman with no medical training. Anaesthetics and antiseptic treatments are not generally used, and the practice is usually carried out using knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades. Girls may have to be forcibly restrained.’

This is not some minor little problem. It is estimated that around 137,000 women have suffered FGM in the UK alone and last year it is believed 200 million – million – women worldwide suffered the same fate. Incredibly, given the procedure is obviously only carried out on women, the majority of those carrying it out are women and the reason they do it? To control a girl’s sexuality. I mean, really.

Let us be quite clear about this: FGM has no health benefits, rather the opposite. It’s barbaric, it’s abuse, it’s a crime and should always be treated as such.

We rightly lock up people who have abused children, like Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall and we, as a society, should take a zero tolerance attitude to those who practice FGM. There is no place for FGM, or any other type of forced circumcision of men or women for that matter.

Some Godwhackers have a very unhealthy interest in matters of genitalia. They need counselling and they need locking up, whether they abuse their children here in the UK or take them “home” in the summer holidays, the cutting season.

And it is certainly not something where we turn the other cheek and say “It’s nothing to do with our culture, so let’s not get involved”. It’s everything to do with attacks to our culture and we must get involved. FGM is either wrong or it isn’t and for all right thinking people it’s abhorrent. The law should be implemented to protect girls and women and there can be no exception. Abuse is abuse.