Online audiences are enraged by a Twitter promotion advertising female genital mutilation (FGM) which received over 30,000 views.
An ad sponsored by the extremist Muslim Shi'ite activist group, Dawoodi Bohra Women for Religious Freedom (DBWRF), attempted to connect with its social media audience and normalize the “female circumcision” known as “khafz” by offering the personal experience of a mother in the group.
In the video, Arwa Sohangpurwala, a member of Dawoodi Bohra, explained that her two daughters had undergone the procedure and continued to live their lives “growing up as perfectly as other children of their age. As a mother, I can never do anything to harm them."
The response was immediate, with Twitter users criticizing the social media company for condoning the religious practice which has been condemned numerous times by the United Nations and the World Health Organization as a violation of human rights.
Twitter user Paul Hart wrote: 'Did you ask your daughters beforehand or did YOU make the decision to mutilate their genitals for them? Sick.'
Esmael Omar tweeted: “Speak for yourself, woman. Don’t speak on behalf of innocent girls.
“FGM is FGM no matter how you want sugar coat it. Leave alone cutting, even touching the female genitalia of a girl, is still child abuse. Twitter must explain why they sponsored such a message.”
Mariya Tayer wrote: “I’m wondering how Twitter can say that an ad promoting female genital cutting/mutilation doesn’t violate community standards?”
Although Twitter has since ceased promoting the DBWRF ad, the original tweet has remained visible.
According to one company spokesman, “'This was a promoted tweet and was removed for violation of our policies.”
Over 200 million women around the world have undergone "khafz," the United Nations Children's Fund reports.