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Dec 06 2012

Of Faith and Fannies – Female Genital Mutilation and Islam

Female Circumcision (Genital Mutilation) is one of the major problems facing women in large parts of the world. The practice is seen from parts of Indonesia through some areas of the Middle East to (it is thankfully rarer but it still occurs) to Africa where the practice is widespread due to a long history and the lack of a concerted effort to stamp it out. I will write a warning and say that this article is NSFW and not suitable for those of a nervous disposition as the subject matter is deeply uncomfortable. In addition due to the use of anatomical drawings I will suggest that this article be treated as not safe for children unless you as a parent wish for them to learn about a darker side of the world. This is ludicrously uncomfortable for pretty much everyone. Hence this ludicrously long disclaimer.

What triggered me to write this? Well my girlfriend is a Malaysian Tamil. Malaysian readers saw that and sent me this. I figured a lot of the issues (like pretty much every form of quackery) are tarnished by misinformation. It’s an issue that we rarely properly deal with in western society because we go “It’s bad! KAY! LALALALLALALALA! PUPPIES AND KITTENS!”. But we don’t have that luxury. Most people don’t know the first thing about the practice so it’s very easy for the supporters to just dismiss them. So first a short primer on FGM and even a little look into “the most common FGM” in the west and medical procedures that can be classified under FGM. Yes, sometimes there is a reason to do this and we shall touch on a few examples, but I repeat this throughout because I know people often forget that a medical reason for doing something is not a sensible reason for doing something if you are healthy. Just because Steve Jobs was benefited from having large chunks of his intestines removed doesn’t mean it’s a sensible plan for you.

To begin with, let’s discuss what constitutes FGM.

No Jokes! Shame on You!

The fourth type isn’t depicted because it’s mostly voluntary or medical… Mostly

There are four classifications of FGM according to the WHO.

Type I – Clitirodectomy. It is the removal of the clitoris and the clitoral hood. Normally? There is only one indication for this procedure medically. Metastasis of cancer to the region may require removal of the clitoris.

Type II – Includes the type I procedure and removal of the inner labia.

Type III – Is called infibulations. It involves removal of the clitoris, labia and fusion of wound leaving a small hole for passage of urine and blood which is reopened for childbirth and intercourse.

Type IV – Miscellaneous acts such as symbolic pricking, piercing of clitoris and labia, cauterisation and cutting into the vagina to widen it or usage of corrosives to tighten the vagina. These are mainly considered medical practices and are done for a variety of conditions ranging from body piercing and fashion to disorders like sexual dysfunction due to a narrow vagina, vaginismus due to damage during childbirth, cancer and some plastic surgery. It is generally voluntary though some exceptions exist.

Type I and II are the most common. Type III is predominant in Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti. Type IV is seen across the world including voluntary FGM as seen in body modification and piercing circles in the west.Now I know I am going to get a lot of flak for pointing out that body modification and piercing circles undergo Type IV FGM, but this is the WHO classification of the act rather than mine. It’s also important to point out the difference between body modification and piercings where an individual volunteers to have the piercing when compared to someone who is forced or coerced into having it done. I have no issue with volunteers, it’s your body and if your happiness lies in putting metal through your genitals then godspeed you fancy bastards! The reason for it’s utilisation in this context is that NORMALLY in the context of the west Type IV is voluntary but there are some cultures where the practice is compulsory and is not as radical as Type I, II or III. In Malaysia for example Type IV is more involuntary than in the west.

But for these women it isn’t a choice.

And the defence of the practice is frankly reprehensible.

Not only does it defend a practice steeped in superstition and culture as a good thing, it also does so by invoking a divine mandate followed by a billion people across the world that isn’t prone to criticism and honest debate.Let’s face it, Islam does not like debate. When Christians complain that Muslims get a free ride from atheists, it’s mainly because muslims do have a small but significant minority who don’t listen to reason and who are quite happy to kill someone for their perceived involvement in an attack on their faith. It’s extremely hard to criticise someone who threatens you with death and acts on it. We see here a marriage of the worst attitudes of faith and woo. The perceived medical benefit married to the blind faith in a book written by someone who could not fathom our knowledge and understanding. This is deadly beyond comparison and it shows. The 1997 figure for FGM states that roughly 135 million women had undergone the procedure. The number certainly hasn’t gone down since there isn’t a big drive to halt the procedure.We can say a lot of things about the British Colonial period. A lot of horrible things were done by Great Britain across the world. But as most Indians will realise (even if they don’t like admitting it) Great Britain created India as a solid unified body. Without them? India would be a balkanised series of tiny countries and not the rising giant it is today. The erstwhile masters unknowingly created nationalism, they gave India the tools to set itself free from all masters be they gods or men even if Indians do forget that sometime. And one of the things the British did in India that I am sure most Indians are thankful for was to give a legal impetus to the Hindu anti-sati reforms. A coalition of Indian reformers and British lawmakers helped stamp out the practice. However, we see a similar move in Africa where in Kenya the British attempted to stamp out the practice through the church and law resulting in revolutions as many kenyans perceived a british plot to destroy local culture  to the point where the practice was actively defended as a Kenyan cultural issue. So what we see here is a genuinely destructive practice that people do consider unnecessary and bad but still do because it’s a symbol of culture.

The real argument lies not in the defense of the general surgical operation or its details, but in the understanding of a very important fact in the tribal psychology of the Kikuyu—namely, that this operation is still regarded as the essence of an institution which has enormous educational, social, moral and religious implications, quite apart from the operation itself. For the present it is impossible for a member of the tribe to imagine an initiation without clitoridoctomy [sic]. Therefore the … abolition of the surgical element in this custom means … the abolition of the whole institution.

The above quote came from the first prime minister of Kenya who resigned himself to the idea that fighting the practice somehow removed from the culture of Kenya and that somehow cutting the bits off another woman (the practice is strangely enforced by other women rather than men) was what you needed to be part of a society. That it was unfathomable to turn the practice into a symbolic one in much the same way as the modern Kali worshipper offers up a red liquid and cuts up pumpkins rather than the traditional offering of blood and human sacrifice. Granted this may turn into something like the practice now currently seen in Indonesia where the clitoris is pricked to draw blood but not removed, but it’s a step forwards and it’s a step that can be further progressed to a purely symbolic ceremony where the perceived benefits until it is completely stopped as an actual practice. I know a lot of people who read this will say “STAHP NAO” but there is something you should learn. And it is a harsh fact of life and working in such places. Sometimes principles don’t save lives. If 1000 people who would have done FGM and 50% agree to do the pricking malarky and only 1% agree to not do it then you have stopped 500 people from getting FGM in exchange for something not as bad. Eventually you will go from “not as bad” to sensible. Now even this is not indicated for every place FGM is being fought, some places are conducive to open bans.

Superstition when directly challenged will only fall if you can completely undermine it. In order to completely undermine FGM in large parts of Asia you will have to run the risk of death by angry fanatic. You have to fight the status quo of Islam and that is just terrifying to most doctors and the like who have families who just want to make a living without some idiot getting the idea that the doctor is being unislamic and encouraging people who listen to his idiocy to kill him. It’s not a fight you can demand others to participate in while being comfortable and removed from the risk. It’s not a game of football. In addition you either have to brutally destroy that part of culture (the hanging of people who encouraged sati) or you have to undermine it and slowly change it. And that is slow and steady and has to be done through things like this. It’s not ideal but it’s what works in this situation. You need to create a situation where people realise why they should change. And the way to do it is sadly slower than what most people want.

Islam may enjoin or forbid something and the people – or most of them – may not be able to see the wisdom behind this command or prohibition. In that case we are obliged to obey the command or heed the prohibition and to have certain faith that the laws of Allaah are all good, even if we cannot see the wisdom behind them.

Circumcision is one of the Sunnahs of the fitrah, as is indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The fitrah is five things – or five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision, shaving the pubes, plucking the armpit hairs, cutting the nails, and trimming the moustache.” narrated by al-Bukhaari (5889) and Muslim (257)…Circumcision is prescribed for both males and females. The correct view is that circumcision is obligatory for males and that it is one of the symbols of Islam, and that circumcision of women is mustahabb but not obligatory. 

Great! The defence of female circumcision is that we cannot understand why it’s being proscribed by Islam. We should blindly obey because we cannot wrap our tiny minds over what some (more) middle eastern  guys in 500 AD thought about the world but we can build the Large Hadron Collider.

So circumcision is mentioned in Islam and proscribed, mainly for men; but it doesn’t explicitly state that women shouldn’t be circumcised and so people use the vague language in the Koran to imply that it’s a good thing.

That’s where Dr. Hamid al-Ghawaabi comes in to provide his expert medical advice as to why it’s a great idea.

The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra. I have seen many cases of sickness caused by the lack of circumcision.

Rancid secretions? It is indicative of a bacterial or a yeast infection. Roughly 75% of women will have one in their lifetime. It’s a fact of life. The correct answer is proper hygiene and cleaning your genitals.And I haven’t noticed any woman whose vagina smelt so bad that I had to lop bits off. Maybe if she has gangrene but that’s it! (Yes, that’s the actual medical indication for female circumcision. Your choices are clitiroidectomy or death by sepsis. It’s an emergency procedure and rather rare) And that’s a very specific case! But a normal healthy vagina?

Circumcision reduces excessive sensitivity of the clitoris which may cause it to increase in size to 3 centimeters when aroused, which is very annoying to the husband, especially at the time of intercourse.

And there in lies the crux of this of the argument. The same reason why male circumcision occurs is applied to women. It’s because it reduces the sexual drive of individuals. And I fail to see how a normal clitoris during the act of sex somehow is irritating. If a clitoris is so massively irritating during coitus then Rx – Doggy Style if you are a selfish wanker. You clearly don’t care about the sexual pleasure of others if that’s the biggest problem you have during sex and if you use that excuse to deny others pleasure. Because face it, that’s why it’s done. It’s to stop women having fun.

Another benefit of circumcision is that it prevents stimulation of the clitoris which makes it grow large in such a manner that it causes pain.

Pain? I don’t think the clitoris grows so much that it causes pain! Then again it’s been a long time since I had sex and I may have forgotten that bit where women feel pain during sex. Although… it may explain why the women I sleep with scream in bed… Good Grief! I AM SUCH A MONSTER!!!

Circumcision prevents spasms of the clitoris which are a kind of inflammation. 

No it isn’t! Inflammation consists of the classical signs of redness, heat, swelling and pain (rubor, calor, tumor et dolor… I can science in latin) as a generalised tissue response to an infection or a foreign object. Not what happens when a clitoris is stimulated. Ironically pricking and other forms of FGM would cause inflammation.

Circumcision reduces excessive sexual desire. 

Why is this even a problem? Oh right? Because all abrahamic faith is fascinated and repulsed by human sexuality and thinks that the first sin is the acquisition of knowledge and the greatest is the idea that humans can enjoy sex. Well emasculation reduces excessive sexual desire too but I don’t see the good doctor suggest we lop off the meat and two veg…

Then Dr al-Ghawaabi refutes those who claim that female circumcision leads to frigidity by noting: Frigidity has many causes, and this claim is not based on any sound statistics comparing circumcised women with uncircumcised women, except in the case of Pharaonic circumcision which is where the clitoris is excised completely.

Does Al-Ghawaabi seriously think women have any say in whether or not sex occurs or if there is any onus on providing sexual pleasure to a woman when one of the reasons given for cutting off the clitoris is that it is irritating to her husband? It doesn’t lead to frigidity, it leads to a loss of enjoyment of sex since by definition the procedure is done to reduce the female enjoyment of sex.

The female gynaecologist Sitt al-Banaat Khaalid says in an article entitled Khitaan al-Banaat Ru’yah Sihhiyyah (Female circumcision from a health point of view): For us in the Muslim world female circumcision is, above all else, obedience to Islam, which means acting in accordance with the fitrah and following the Sunnah which encourages it. We all know the dimensions of Islam, and that everything in it must be good in all aspects, including health aspects. If the benefits are not apparent now, they will become known in the future, as has happened with regard to male circumcision – the world now knows its benefits and it has become widespread among all nations despite the opposition of some groups. 

Some groups? It’s because women are held down and have their genitals cut off. The nations where it is widespread are mainly really poor nations where the practice occurs mainly due to tribal nonsense and because women have few rights and are unable to stand against the practice. The idea that Islam is somehow more knowledgeable than actual healthcare experts and that healthcare practitioners are willing to trade their own knowledge for a belief in the writings of someone from the 5th century AD rather than modern science is frankly insane. Fitrah, Sunnah and Koran do not dictate medical science. As for male circumcision (a completely different topic due to the relatively benign status of the procedure), it’s actually dropping in levels across the world since there isn’t any actual benefit from removal of the foreskin that cannot be attained from condom. And the practice of circumcision in women is illegal in many parts of the world with the UK’s government going as far as making it illegal to perform on it’s citizens rather than just in it’s jurisdiction meaning that going abroad to get your female child circumcised is also illegal. This is a movement that’s growing across the world and it’s rising in importance.Instead we have a list of frankly stupid reasons to mutilate someone’s genitals.

To point out the crux of the problem with Islam and FGM is the word Fitrah. It means “Nature”, that any action prescribed or proscribed by the Quran regarding health and that if it is a practice that isn’t immediately understandable now will reveal itself in the future to be the right act. Sunan al Fitrah is the “customs of nature”. The notion is that FGM is a divinely inscribed practice on humanity. That we cannot help but do this because god made us.

Then she mentioned some of the health benefits of female circumcision and said:
It takes away excessive libido from women
It prevents unpleasant odours which result from foul secretions beneath the prepuce.
It reduces the incidence of urinary tract infections
It reduces the incidence of infections of the reproductive system.
In the book on Traditions that affect the health of women and children, which was published by the World Health Organization in 1979 it says:
With regard to the type of female circumcision which involves removal of the prepuce of the clitoris, which is similar to male circumcision, no harmful health effects have been noted.

I already went over the stupidity of the other points. With regards to harmful health effects?

1. Recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections
2. Cysts
3. Infertility
4. Marked increase in both maternal and child deaths
5. Type III FGM is prone for infections and gangrenous infection of the labia majora
6. Marked pain
7. Loss of pleasure during sex

The WHO in 2011 says that there are no health benefits, only harm that comes out of FGM. FGM is illegal in many parts of the world. In most of the west the only removal or damage to the female genitalia that can be done is either voluntarily in the case of piercings or in the case of medical conditions that require removal. In every single instance of the FGM seen it is not done for the sake of the girl but for the perceived notion of culture, purity of women, religion and reduction of sexual libido. There is no medical reason to do so, and the practice is forced or coerced upon young girls.

This is an extremely prevalent practice in many parts of the world with little to no statistics. It’s often the “norm” so people don’t see what the problem is. While you understandably feel rage, rage doesn’t make people change. It’s very easy to call someone a bastard, it’s very hard however to make them stop doing the thing. Condemnation should be mixed in with a logical method of causing the problem to stop. Otherwise it is just words.

So how to make a stand? Well you yourselves can raise awareness in a way that isn’t just based on blind anger. Yes it is nice to get people to come from the UK to help out but frankly most of us don’t have the skills to fight this fight. Any job you can do, someone here already can do and in a better way. What we require is awareness and common sense. Support your secular charities. Medicin Sans Frontier, The WHO and Red Cross all stand against the practice and actively try and stop it from occurring in regions where they are active. You may not accept the softly softly approach but that actually gets results rather than outright fisticuffs with a practice that many people consider to be a vital part of their identity. Amnesty International as well has a very strong campaign against it on the activism side. It can be done, it’s just that we have to do it right now.

There is no excuse for this, not culture and definitely not belief in any god.

 

 

21 comments

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  1. 1
    unnullifier

    Type III FGM looks horrifying.

  2. 2
    Avicenna

    They all are… But widely practiced due to culture and faith.

  3. 3
    smrnda

    The misogyny is clear in that it’s ‘annoying to the husband’ or causes ‘excessive sexual desire.’ Yes, female sexual feelings and desires are annoying to men who are rampant misogynists.

    I notice that there’s a lot of woo-ish appeals among Muslims as they attempt to argue that injunctions from the Qur’an are somehow grounded in science (The “brief illustrated guide to understanding Islam” is full of the nonsense.) I don’t get why anybody would take a bronze age text to be a reliable source of medical information, but the appeals are probably not meant to convert people, but to convince the faithful that their religion isn’t as irrational as outsiders think. And you get the whole ‘we don’t understand now but I’m sure there’s a good reason’ in other religions as well.

  4. 4
    Ysanne

    As someone who has a completely voluntary piercing that could pass as Type-IV:
    I find it scary how even by the WHO the clitoral hood and the clitoris are lumped together. They are very, very different bits of one’s bits, and modifying/cutting/pricking/whatever-ing them produces very different results.
    While getting a hood piercing is a simple and common procedure (typically to increase clitoral stimulation), a piercing of the clitoris itself is very painful procedure that can result in a lot of damage, and only very highly trained and specialised piercers can undertake responsibly.
    Similarly, there are women who have their prepuce surgically split (and I know a woman who did it by accident on a balance beam when she was a kid) — it facilitates clitoral stimulation. Whereas injuring or cutting off the clitoris itself — not so much.

    Oh, and before someone thinks I think FGM in any form should be condoned — I don’t. No one should be doing anything to people’s genitals unless they want it themselves. I’m just shocked by the fact that not even the WHO seems to bother getting some basic details of female genital anatomy right in an argument about why it is bad to cut them.

  5. 5
    Avicenna

    1. You had a choice, many people do not. That’s the clear over arching definition of the WHO and I state as much since the WHO classification also includes surgery such as the removal of the vagina or parts of the labia for metal rains. The pictures are from stuff made for lay workers who are often illiterate. Many of the people I work with cannot read and your piercing is unheard of in India and the places where we fight this. Its not aimed at those who have a medical knowledge. Its a crash course to crate awareness for people who are not that educated.

    2. If you did not have the choice, such a practice would be considered a great evil.

    That’s why I wrote a disclaimer. The who and all medical bodies would not categorise your piercing as a crime since you chose it.

    Also? Most of the women who get this done have it done by someone who also has had FGM. Women do the procedure so they don’t realise why its bad because they don’t know otherwise.

  6. 6
    sweetcaroline997

    The author of the article is 100% correct.
    FGM is a religious and cultural practice of patriarchal – patrilineal societies that are highly mysogynistic and inegalitarian. A woman who “enjoys” sex is a threat to the status quo. If a woman enjoys sex, she may commit adultery, she may fantasize about other men or look at other men, and she might lose her virginity before marriage.
    Since this cultural/religious behaviour strives to sanction human behaviour-control female sexuality, it is just a helpful method of maintaining the status quo.
    I think it is pointless and futile to try to reason with the unreasonable. Think about it. Their mindset is completely different from ours. Could you imagine them trying to convince us that rape is a woman’s fault? That violence against women is ok because it is an effective means to keep them strictly controlled? That selling your daughters as young as 5 to disgusting old men is ok? We would be horrified. Obviously, they wouldn’t be able to convince us, so, in my humble opinion, I think it is ethnocentric and naive for us to convince them otherwise. Sorry I’m not trying to be rude but I’ve spent 2 months in the middle east and they reject EVERYTHING about western, secular, and egalitarian societies. They see western women as sluts and whores and men as drunks and bad fathers. They are beyond help and reason.

  7. 7
    IB

    You have a real knack for titling your blog entries :)

  8. 8
    drigeolf

    @ sweetcaroline997:

    Who is “they”? As someone from the Middle East(Turkey) I have very positive views on secularism and other western enlightenment values. In fact I’m an atheist and I don’t think me and many people I know who are secular/humanist/atheist/agnostic/pantheist…etc. who happen to live in the Middle East aren’t “beyond help and reason” at all.

    I’m lucky enough to have Iranian secular humanist friends, who apparently aren’t beyond help and reason as well.

    Saying Middle Eastern people are just like that and it is impossible to change them is really no different than saying black people just can’t be educated or woman simply can’t be engineers.

    With education and access to global cultures 24/7, things are changing very fast in the Middle East. That kind of bullshit views coming from someone who thinks they can understand everything about a different culture in a couple of months isn’t exactly helpful(or true for that matter).

  9. 9
    jackjohan

    I think we need to gather the people from all the world and campaign against the female genital mutilation and get the punished the people who had play key role in female genital mutilation,We have published EBOOK for female genital mutilation,here you can check our ebook.http://www.fgmasylum.com/

  10. 10
    Avicenna

    @7. IB – I try my best. It’s a sad topic but it doesn’t mean you cannot be silly. Contrary to belief humour helps a lot when fighting serious issues.

    @6. I think you do PEOPLE a great disservice. The Middle East is not a universal constant with great cultural variations between the people who live there. Again a culture can stand to lose some parts of itself without losing it’s core meaning. And I failed to mention that since I mainly deal with female FGM from islamic communities that the practice is also prevalent in christian areas too.

    You achieve greater things by being reasonable with the unreasonable. You are conflating two issues here. The first is proper gynaecological care for women (Which includes fighting FGM). Muslims want Gynaecologists, there is no Middle Eastern drive to stamp them out. Then there is the second issue which is the introduction of religious fundementalists into the mix.

    If Drigeolof here believed in Allah, but believed in secularism and against FGM… He would be a muslim. However in our minds that is not the real islam because the lunatics would decry his islamicness because of his unwillingness to be a fanatic. By the definition if you only talk to fanatics the only true muslims are the ones who agree with them. Thus we never really talk to any of the “sane people”. Because our idea of “muslim spokesman” is some lunatic in a turban demanding people punch the sun out because it is the enemy of the moon.

    Now here is the thing. Remember how they learn about Americans. If all you watched was Jerry Springer all of america would be filled with drunken, promiscuous, stupid morons. There is a reason why americans think brits are all well educated toffee voiced charmers. Because you don’t watch any shows where inner city youths from Newcastle swear copiously and have underaged sex. You see things like Top Gear or Doctor Who or Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. So you think we are classy bastards. When in reality we too have our trashy elements. People aren’t stereotypes. People are wide and diverse and varied.

    @9. The problem here is if you are going to punish those who perpetrate the crime you are going to be jailing a lot of women who don’t understand why this is such a bad thing. They have done it this way for centuries so they don’t see why they should change. Jailing them doesn’t really work. We can throw that kind of force down in the UK but not in places where the practice would just go underground. You would have to arrest the entire populations of the women of some countries. This is an almost entirely female dominated event. The perpetrators, the affected and the people who praise it’s effectiveness.

    As I said… Easy to say “hang em all” but in reality it’s hard to actually achieve anything with that attitude.

  11. 11
    bradleybetts

    “Excessive libido in women”? Why is that even a problem? Hell, first they have to define exactly what they mean by “excessive”. Being horny is a crime now?

    It’s hard to take a soft approach when all you really want to do is beat the callous bastard holding the knife into the ground.

  12. 12
    bradleybetts

    @drigeolf #8

    *standing ovation*

  13. 13
    Ysanne

    Avicenna,
    thanks, I’m completely clear about the difference between having a choice or not.

    That’s exactly what I criticise in the WHO’s definition — the whole point is that mutilation is something done to people without them having expressly asked for it to be done, without their informed consent, without an actual choice (and when the alternative is being ostracised, there is no choice).
    The way Type IV is defined, as kind of a catch-all for anything involving female genitalia, and completely ignoring the question of choice and consent, shows how even the WHO doesn’t consider what a woman actually wants as relevant — which in turn implies that “she doesn’t want it” wouldn’t count as an argument in itself.
    This does a disservice to the otherwise very laudable cause of fighting against FGM and its “medical” justifications.

  14. 14
    Avicenna

    Because health classifications don’t differentiate between the reasons why something was done. You treat a broken arm equally if it was done due to an accident, assault, malingering or the patient just being terribly stupid. They are all classified as the same thing. Even though malingering is a voluntary break…

    There are people who go and get this done voluntarily because they HONESTLY believe this is the right thing to do.

    It’s a catch all term for easy medical categorisation, not a method for keeping people happy. The words used are to encompass EVERYTHING including life saving medical procedures which I mentioned are categorised as this. Medicine deals with pathology with overarching concept of the doctors using their common sense. Your piercing is not FGM because it is consented and you know what’s the risks and benefits and you did it with that in mind. You are a far cry from some woman in Africa getting a Type III with an unsterilised knife and twine or even the symbolic “prick”.

    Again I repeat, the WHO document mentions consent and even groups in medical procedures in FGM because it has to categorise them somewhere because they are physical distortions of functional parts of the female genitalia even if they are voluntary, effectively harmless or even genuinely beneficial to the health of an individual.

  15. 15
    steffp

    @ Avicenna
    I agree, but beg to differ, Islam originated in the 7th, not the 5th century CE…
    @ drigeolf (#8)
    Well said. Though, of course, there are Wahhabi majorities in some countries in the Middle East, and then there are the Saudis, whom nobody likes to inspect too close. Seems sweetcaroline997 had rather limited contact, restricted to people in the Salafist bubble. Or he mistook ignorance for strength…

  16. 16
    Avicenna

    Mohammed was born in 570 AD hence the 5th century mark. It should say 6th…

  17. 17
    Valde

    I am learning more about the Muslim world, great site:

    http://klingschor.blogspot.ca/

  18. 18
    left0ver1under

    While FGM is an atrocity primarily perpetrated by muslims, christians in Africa are often guilty of it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation

    It’s true that in muslim dominated countries (e.g. Gambia, Guina), the rates of FGM are high or highest. But in Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Eritrea, and many others, christians make up the largest numbers, and many other countries that mutilate women are at least 20% christian (Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, etc.).

    It would be mathmatically impossible for all the victims to be muslims in those countries – for example, Liberia is 85% christian and 12% muslim, but 50% of the women have been mutilated. That’s only possible if christians are forcing it on women and girls themselves. If there were mass kidnappings and mutilations of christian women and girls by muslims, we would have heard about it. Forced mutilation of christians by muslims happened in Indonesia back in 2001.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_circumcision#Indonesia

    It would not surprise me in the least if fundamentalist/orthodox jews in Israel start doing it to women and girls in their communities. Any religion that degrades women and view them as worth less than men (or worthless, period) would do this.

  19. 19
    Didaktylos

    Another point about those categorised as Type IV is that they are not done with the intention of deliberately destroying healthy functioning tissue.

  20. 20
    nba jerseys online'blog

    Thanks for your post. I would also like to say that the health insurance dealer also works best for the benefit of the coordinators of your group insurance cover. The health insurance agent is given a listing of benefits needed by anyone or a group coordinator. What any broker will is look for individuals or maybe coordinators which best match those demands. Then he gifts his suggestions and if all sides agree, the actual broker formulates a binding agreement between the 2 parties.

  21. 21
    Marcus Ranum

    I know it’s not appropriate but whenever I hear someone defend this kind of horrible practice as “customary” I am reminded of Sir Charles Napier’s comment on the custom of Suttee. He was speaking as a representative of the colonial oligarchy, but his point was pretty much that some customs trump others and at a certain point it’s time to damn well get over your customs if they’re appalling, brutal, and wrong.

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