“We’re sure ISIS will follow through”

As many people have pointed out here, and far more have pointed out elsewhere, the report that ISIS had ordered all girls/women aged 11 to 46 to undergo female genital mutilation may be a hoax. (Some have said it simply is a hoax, but that’s not clear yet.)

But at least it’s not purely a Western media hoax. Al Arabiya is taking it seriously. Yesterday it reported the same story I got from the BBC:

Staff Writer, Al Arabiya News
Thursday, 24 July 2014
The al-Qaeda-Inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ordered all girls and women between the ages of 11 and 46 in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations said on Thursday. [Read more...]

FGM in Egypt

Dalia Farouk at The Cairo Post reports a bad trend in Egypt:

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is increasing in rural areas in Egypt according to Women and Development Association (WDA) Alexandria governorate head Aida Nour al-Din, Youm7 reported Friday.

Din said that FGM is also common in urban areas due to some religious beliefs that it is a “religious obligation and must be done.”

She also said a 2008 study indicated 86 percent of divorce cases were due to FGM and its negative impact on marital intercourse.

[Read more...]

Call things by their right names

The Guardian tells us there are FGM “parties” in the UK. No punch, no cheese straws, no gossip, just carving up of little girls’ genitals.

The cutting of girls at female genital mutilation “parties” is still going on in Britain and not just taking place abroad, healthcare experts have told MPs.

The Commons home affairs select committee has heard that “cutters” – often older women – are flown into Britain for the events, at which as many as a dozen girls may be operated on.

“Operated on”? Don’t be silly, Graun – the cutters are not surgeons, and what they do is not an operation. They carve up little girls’ genitals.

The cutting in the back rooms

FGM in Egypt.

Egypt has one of the highest rates of FGM in the world: a staggering 91 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been cut, according to a 2013 report released by UNICEF (PDF). Genital mutilation is practiced in various forms across the African continent, from Nigeria to Somalia. In Egypt, it is most common—indeed, almost universal—in rural areas like Diyarb Buqtaris village where Soheir grew up. But it crosses all class boundaries.  The West often labels the excisions an Islamic practice, but cutting occurs in Egypt in both Muslim and Christian communities, and it goes on despite the fact that the Egyptian Coptic Church and Al Azhar, the country’s leading Islamic authority, have condemned it.

Al Azhar may be “the country’s leading Islamic authority,” if that means anything, but it’s not so leading that it brought FGM to a halt. The Muslim Brotherhood did not condemn it, and when asked said it was not a priority. [Read more...]

The hole is too small

There’s a clinic in West London that undoes a small part of the damage done by Female Genital Mutilation, specifically infibulation. It makes the hole bigger.

Dr Naomi Low-Beer, Consultant Gynaecologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and lead doctor for the FGM service at the West London clinic, performs the invaluable reversal surgery. She explained: “With the most severe type of FGM, the clitoris and labia have been totally removed, the vaginal opening closed, with a tiny passage left for urine and menstrual blood. This makes sex painful or impossible.

“Women with this type of FGM do benefit from surgery. It is often referred to as ‘reversal’, but rather than reversing the FGM the surgery opens the vagina so that women can have sex without pain. [Read more...]

Carving up little girls with sharp blades

The Guardian on the FGM report itself.

Thousands of girls in danger of genital mutilation are being failed by the health and justice systems, a coalition of health professionals has warned in a report that recommends aggressive steps to eradicate the practice in the UK.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) should be treated the same as any other kind of child abuse and evidence of it must be reported to the police, according to the report. [Read more...]

She felt every single cut

At Comment is Free, Leyla Hussain on FGM.

I was cut when I was seven years old. Four women held me down. I felt every single cut. I was screaming so much I just blacked out. I didn’t know what female genital mutilation (FGM) was until the day it happened to me. FGM is one of the worst physical and psychological scars a girl can be left with and I therefore completely endorse and welcome the new report on tackling FGM. [Read more...]

They rang our fathers anonymously

Campaigning against FGM can be dangerous work, at least in the UK.

The Guardian has spoken to women who have received death threats, been publicly assaulted and who have had to move house after speaking out about FGM, which involves cutting away some or all of a girl’s external genitalia and can include sewing up the vagina. It is mostly carried out on girls some time between infancy and the age of 15.

Nimko Ali, a 29-year-old British-Somalian, was taken to Somalia for the procedure when she was seven. “I never told anyone I had FGM, not even my best friend, because I saw what happened to women in the UK who did speak out and saw it as a warning sign,” said Ali, who has set up a group called Daughters of Eve to campaign against the procedure. [Read more...]

Edna Adan versus FGM

Edna Adan is one of the heroic women I learned about courtesy of the Half the Sky series. She built and runs a hospital in Somalia. A Safe World for Women gives us her statement on Female Genital Mutilation.

As a midwife, I have been delivering babies for 50 years, many of whom were being born to women who had undergone FGM. Witnessing the FGM-associated complications that many were suffering caused me to speak out against it in public in 1976 which at that time shocked my family and my people. [Read more...]