FGM( Female Genital Mutilation)


Jandeef Khaan posted sometimes back on Sa7at Alsafat about FGM, and indecently I was reading “Why I Am Not a Moslem” by Ibm Warraq about the same issue which he covered well in two chapters of his book. Here is a definition of FGM by Toni Nelson”Euphemistically referred to as female circumcision, FGM encompasses a variety of practices ranging from excision, the partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora, to infibulation, in which all the external genitals are cut away and the area is restitched, leaving only a small opening for the passage of urine and menstrual blood. Nagla’s mutilation, performed by a local barber without anesthesia or sanitary precautions, was typical. Although the physical and psychological consequences of FGM are severe and often life-threatening, the practice persists due to beliefs that emerged from ancient tribal customs but which have now come to be associated with certain major religions.”1

Excision; notice the word ex-cision, it sounds like ex ing femininity, rendering a woman a cold statue to please her male companion and be the incubator for his offspring. Imagine yourself (male or female) getting excited by foreplay and the hormones in your body shoot up high, then no matter how much you try to release the pressure inside you can’t, because there will be no orgasm. Wouldn’t you have preferred to be dead and not get into this frustrating situation? That’s why I think the word ex cision is a better definition than female circumcision or FGM, it implies deforming God’s creation and causing a permanent handicap to women. Excising does not remove desire in women, God created that desire for a purpose, Excising prevents her to fulfill her building desires. In other words; eliminate her, delete her. Quoting Ibn Warraq “”Anatomy is destiny,” says Freud, in which case a mutilated anatomy is a mutilated destiny” 2

Ibn Warraq goes on to describe the act “According to the omniscient Burton, 586 “in the babe [the clitoris] protrudes beyond the labia and snipping off the head forms female circumcision.” “Excision,” continues Burton, is universal amongst the negroids of the Upper Nile, the Somal and other adjacent tribes. The operator, an old woman, takes up the instrument, a knife or razor blade fixed into a wooden handle, and with three sweeps cuts off the labia and the head of the clitoris. The parts are then sewn up with a packneedle and a thread of sheepskin; and in Dar-For a tin tube is inserted for the passage of urine. Before marriage the bridegroom trains himself for a month on beef, honey and milk; and if he can open his bride with the natural weapon he is a sworder to whom no woman in the tribe can deny herself. If he fails, he tries penetration with his fingers and by way of last resort whips out his whittle and cuts the parts open. The sufferings of the first few nights must be severe.” 2

But the damage of excision is not only psychological, it is also physical as Ibn Warraq emphasized “In modern times little seems to have changed; here is how the Economist describes the situation in 1992: “The procedure varies from mildly painful to gruesome, and can involve the removal of the clitoris and other organs with knives, broken glass, and razors—but rarely anesthetic. It can lead to severe problems with menstruation, intercourse and childbirth, psychological disturbances and even death.” In this gruesome act of “disbudding” of the female are embodied all the Muslim males’ fears of female sexuality.” 2

And although excision is an ancient custom to which some stories go back to Greeks, pharos, Jewish and christens, we see it still widely spread amongst Moslems although it’s kept discrete. Why is that? I tried to search for the basis or the religious references on which this barbaric act is committed since Ibn Warraq only mentioned that “female excision is not mentioned in the Koran and learned doctors of theology, when they deign to address the matter, spend very little time on it, simply recommending it as a pious act.” 2, and I only found one tradition that addresses this issue:
”Sunan Abu Dawud Book 41, Number 5251: Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.”
This tradition or 7adeath some sects claim is not based on reliable sources, in other words not authentic (gair masnood)and that’s why not all Moslems are obliged to perform excision. But regardless of that; I don’t see that this 7adeath explicitly requires this practice. But that does not exclude the fact that a lot of Moslems perform this custom as Sunna and that every year millions of little, helpless girls are being butchered.

And what is really disturbing is the fact that excision is not only spread amongst ignorant and laymen, but also very much in literate surroundings (check Sa7at Elsafat link above). And unlike male circumcision, excision is done very discreetly, and in some tribes more than once in a woman’s life time according to Deborah Balk “According to the DHS data, in Sudan, 13 percent of women have had a sunna “circumcision, ” 73 percent have had a pharaonic (also called, Sudanese) “circumcision, ” and 2 percent have had matwasat—literally meaning intermediate—“circumcisions” (DHS 1991). Girls are usually (initially) “circumcised” somewhere between the ages of four and eleven (e.g., El Dareer 1982; Hicks 1993), although the range spans from shortly after birth until puberty, at least in northeastern Africa. According to two prior surveys in Sudan, the mean age of “circumcision” is about 6.5 years, or between six and eight years (Ministry of Planning 1979; El Dareer 1982; respectively). The simpler forms of “circumcision,” such as the sunna type, typically occur only once in a woman’s lifetime, but women who are once infibulated need to be de-infibulated for childbirth and often for sexual intercourse before that; and many are then restitched after giving birth. Some women who are excised may also need to be de-infibulated, either at marriage or childbirth because their remaining labia have fused together, producing a closure similar to an infibulation (e.g., Agugua and Egwuatu 1982; Hosken 1982; Widstrand 1964). Reinfibulation also occurs among some women whose husbands are absent from the household for a time and among divorced and widowed women who want to remarry (e.g., El Dareer 1982; Boddy 1982; Hayes 1975; Cloudlsey 1983). Evidence” 3

And what’s more? Excision has migrated to Europe and USA with immigrants of which some still demand the right to perform it according to their religious customs as they claim although the law of the those states forbids it, here is a quote by Linda Burstyn “Today, migrants are bringing FGM out of its traditional societies and into Europe, North America, and Australia. Approximately 2 million girls are at risk each year… As more and more immigrants from countries that practice FGM come to make their homes in Western countries, these countries are facing the task of confronting a custom that is rigidly adhered to and yet taboo to discuss. The United States has not given FGM the attention or the illegal status that many other nations have given it. The United Kingdom has a full-fledged and longstanding anti-FGM movement that involves the country’s social-service agencies. France, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, and Belgium all have outlawed the practice. The first attempt to prohibit FGM here died in the previous Congress. However, the legislation has been reintroduced by its original co-sponsors, Representatives Pat Schroeder, of Colorado, and Barbara-Rose Collins, of Michigan. Senator Harry Reid has proposed similar legislation in the Senate. Three states, New York, Minnesota, and North Dakota, have passed laws making the practice of FGM a felony unless it is medically necessary.” 4
But even with passing such laws western countries find it very difficult to apply it on Moslem immigrants as Ibn Waraq emphasized “ In an article in the British daily, the Independent 7 July 1992, we read that: “Local authorities and social workers have turned a ‘blind eye’ to the genital mutilation of young girls among African and other Third World communities in Britain for fear of being labeled racist,” even though genital mutilation was made illegal in 1985. The article goes on to say, “Social and health service staff are also ‘nervous’ about preventing or reporting mutilation as they feel it conflicts with anti-racist policies. ‘There continues to be confusion as to what is legitimate in culture, which should be respected, and what is human rights abuse.’ 2

Sometimes back I read an article in the newspapers stating that unlike other immigrants, Moslem immigrants were not being treated fairly by immigration offices in the West, they claim that they are obliged to answer questions and make declarations to obey the rules of the state which they sought to be an act of racism, and after researching FGM which is one of the points discussed by immigration offices, I tend to understand the preventive measures the West is taking specifically with Moslem immigrants. Barbaric customs regardless of any connection to religions have to stop. And it is a shame that the ones who are defending Moslem women’s rights are not Moslems.

ارحموا من في الارض يرحمكم من في السماء

___________________________________
1 Toni Nelson, “Violence against Women,” World Watch July-Aug. 1996

2 Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not a Muslim (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995)

3 Deborah Balk, “3 To Marry and Bear Children? the Demographic Consequences of Infibulation in Sudan,” Female “Circumcision” in Africa: Culture, Controversy, and Change, ed. Bettina Shell-Duncan and Ylva Hernlund (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000) 56

4 Linda Burstyn, “Female Circumcision Comes to America,” The Atlantic Monthly Oct. 1995

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hazolat
    Apr 04, 2006 @ 15:30:00

    Bravo Ayya! Whatever I read on your blog is always great. Just wanna add:

    – The world isn’t paying much attention to FGM as it should, in terms of protecting women, since FGM clearly is a criminal act. And that might be because these countries are poor and ignorant, thus, their interests are not top priority to the world (mako masla7a minhom).

    – I think that just as there is Female Genital Mutilation in poor and ignorant Muslim countries, there other kinds of female mutilation in Arab and Muslim countries in general.

    – Women in our culture are mutilated daily and have had their spirits broken by fathers, husbands, children and society. Through forcing women to do things they might not agree on.

    – No wonder FGM occurs in Muslim countries, cuz Al Mar’ah Mustath3afa here and does not think she has the right to say no when she wants to or yes when she wants to .. in many cases.

    – Anyway .. women .. you are strong enough to live your lives according to your own rules, do not be afraid to demand what you think is good for you.

    Reply

  2. Jandeef
    Apr 05, 2006 @ 11:20:00

    Just google the issue and see google image search should be enough to show how barbaric and unhygeniec it is.

    Interesting thoughts Ayya 🙂

    Reply

  3. A3sab
    Apr 06, 2006 @ 13:43:00

    ayya thank you for this informative post.

    Reply

  4. AyyA
    Apr 06, 2006 @ 17:05:00

    Hazolat
    I am really impressed by the way you think, although I only read a few of your comments actually only four of which two on my blog and two on princess Wallada’s, but it gave me an impression of what type of a person you are and what is your line of thought. Excuse my bluntness, but I am an honest person if I like something I tend to say it, if not I just keep quite. Your addition to the subject really made me think if there are people or more specifically males from this region who could be so sensitive and caring. It is not easy for a lot of people to accept what I say; some might even hate me for it. I know that and I have experienced it, but being born as a Moslem woman it is natural for me to feel the injustices on my type since I am a part of this dilemma, and no matter how much I try to ignore, it always bites my guts and I find myself forced to let it out no matter what are the consequences. But these words coming from a man is really touching, thank you, I say this not as a courtesy, but I really mean it from the bottom of my heart. I wonder though why someone with your mentality still not posting on your blog. I feel that you have a lot to give. And more importantly; humanity needs more people like you.

    Jandeef
    You have the credit of bringing the subject, so all thanks to you.
    Those pictures I googled were really disturbing I do not advise others to do so if they have a weak heart.

    A3sab
    Thanks sweetie for reading this long post, as important as it is, many would not have the patience.

    Reply

  5. Hazolat
    Apr 07, 2006 @ 16:15:00

    Ayya,

    Just dropped in for a quick visit to only two posts, yours and mine, lol! tht’s how much your post delights me.

    Anyway I’d like to post new things but I’m having some family issues to tend to, so I can’t really focus real well at the time being, but soon I hope.

    Only wanted to tell you one thing .. you flatter me WAY too much! lol! I mean, i was happy of course, reading your comment with a big silly grin on my face, but i mean, well if you’re a decent person with any sense of equality you would think the same ( i mean about my opinion).

    You once commented on something I said, saying that I had depth and complexity? I don’t know, I mean I’m really pretty simple and I often talk and type without thinking! Everything I do is simple, and i don’t mind that as long as it revolves around being decent and good. (god what a cliche, lol).

    Anyway .. keep on posting,
    Proud of you .. 🙂

    Reply

  6. AyyA
    Apr 09, 2006 @ 09:31:00

    Glad to see you posting and I hope you solve your family issues soon. Being straight forward and simple means your words comes from the heart, and you know where it reaches 😉
    Proud of you as well 🙂

    Reply

  7. Samuel L.
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 09:36:21

    Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle of beer to that man from that chat who told me to visit your blog 🙂

    Reply

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