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Tower Hamlets has a sizeable Somali community, who maintain close links to their culture and country of origin. About 80 per cent of Somali women are estimated to have undergone ‘female circumcision’. The authors carried out research to assess whether British health services meet Somali women’s health-care needs. Interestingly, they found that reasons given to justify female circumcision mirror those used in the UK to justify episiotomy in childbirth.

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