Jun 07 2012

Is Female Genital Mutilation only practiced in Africa? No.

There are more than 130 million victims of Female Genital Mutilation in the world! Do we need more?

Not only in Africa, Female Genital Mutilation is practiced in Asia too. A large number of Bohra Muslim women in India and Pakistan are being genitally mutilated in secrecy.

World Health Organization says:

Female genital mutilation has no known health benefits. On the contrary, it is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways. First and foremost, it is painful and traumatic. The removal of or damage to healthy, normal genital tissue interferes with the natural functioning of the body and causes several immediate and long-term health consequences. For example, babies born to women who have undergone female genital mutilation suffer a higher rate of neonatal death compared with babies born to women who have not undergone the procedure. end in stillbirth or spontaneous abortion, and in a further 25% the newborn has a low birth weight or serious infection, both of which are associated with an increased risk of perinatal death.

Communities that practice female genital mutilation report a variety of social and religious reasons for continuing with it. Seen from a human rights perspective, the practice reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. Female genital mutilation is nearly always carried out on minors and is therefore a violation of the rights of the child. The practice also violates the rights to health, security and physical integrity of the person, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Female genital mutilation comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. There are different types of FGM.

Type I — Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (clitoridectomy).

When it is important to distinguish between the major variations of Type I mutilation, the following subdivisions are proposed: Type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only; Type Ib, removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.

Type II — Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision).

When it is important to distinguish between the major variations that have been documented, the following subdivisions are proposed: Type IIa, removal of the labia minora only; Type IIb, partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora; Type IIc, partial or total removal of the clitoris, the labia minora and the labia majora.
Note also that, in French, the term ‘excision’ is often used as a general term covering all types of female genital mutilation.

Type III — Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris (infibulation).

Type IIIa, removal and apposition of the labia minora; Type IIIb, removal and apposition of the labia majora.

Type IV — All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.

FGM in Africa. Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria..

Mass mutilation.

Children’s blood

In Asia, the countries where female genital mutilation is practiced are Malaysia, Indonesia, southern parts of the Arab Peninsula, along the Persian Gulf, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, South Yemen and among some sects in India, Pakistan and Russia.

Bohra Muslims in India and Pakistan are mostly wealthy and educated. But they secretly mutilate their little girls. 70 percent or more among Bohra Muslims follow the practice of FGM. Dawoodi Bohra is a sub-sect of Ismāʿīlī Shīʿa Islām. They were persecuted in Yemen by both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. They had to leave Yemen and took refuge in India. It is believed that they brought FGM culture from Yemen to India centuries ago.
A Bohra Muslim girl tells her story

Some Indian Bohra women started protesting against Female Genital Mutilation. Please sign the petition to ban FGM. Don’t forget it’s not a Bohra issue, It’s not a Muslim issue, it’s a Human Rights issue.

FGM in Indonesia.

FGM in Kurdistan

FGM for Muslim girls in UK

A reporter based in UK says, ‘UK fails to halt female genital mutilation. Parents used to take their daughters back to their country of origin for FGM during school holidays. Now-a-days ‘cutters’ are flown in from abroad to perform the illegal procedure in UK. Hundreds of British schoolgirls are facing the terrifying prospect of female genital mutilation (FGM) over Christmas holidays as experts warn the practice continues to flourish across the country.70,000 women living in the UK have undergone FGM, and 20,000 girls remain at risk. It is generally considered to be an essential rite of passage to suppress sexual pleasure, preserve girls’ purity and cleanliness, and is necessary for marriage in many communities even now. It has no religious significance.’

Summer holiday circumcision: Girls bodies at risk. Watch the video.

FGM should be banned all over the world, Now. We should not forget about the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 19 – 1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
Article 24 – 3. States Parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.
Article 37 – States Parties shall ensure that: a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…

Many countries banned FGM. But people continue practicing it. Many times, it is women unaware of their rights, commit the heinous crimes against women. Women are forced to prevent the misogynistic patriarchal system from becoming extinct. I wish they could just say, ‘We have enough! We’re not going to live in anti-women system anymore’! If women’s non-cooperation movement really starts, misogynist monsters will definitely be scared. We are half the world’s population. Aren’t we?


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  1. 1

    It is a shame!

  2. 2

    the news is so depressing especially when small children are involved. I heard it is being practiced in African countries only. So many intellectual are there in Muslim countries I wonder why they never voiced their concern about such barbaric practice.

    Medical council in those countries should also highlight the risk of Female Genital Mutilation using nonprofessional method. If it has religious important then it should be done though a professionally qualified doctor only.

    I know madam within your capacity you are helping people to overcome superstitious.

    author of Universal Love. the new religion.

  3. 3
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    These Bohra women are waiting for little girls in their operation room.

    Taslima, I don’t think that last picture is about Bohra women in India. It looks like the one on top of this NYT article on “female circumcision” as practised in Indonesia:


    (Photo credits: Stephanie Sinclair)

    Worse, from the caption, the cutting is not carried out in a medical center, but instead the circumcisers come to girls’ elementary schools and set up for work directly in a class-room. All the more pressure for girls and their families to conform…

    1. 3.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Thanks. I edited.

  4. 4

    If you want to show your support pl sign this petition:

  5. 5

    Not just Asia and Africa. It’s practised here in Europe too, though secretly because all countries ban it. It’s one of the embarassments of my country, the UK, that everyone knows FGM takes place here, but no one has yet been successfully prosecuted for performing it.

    1. 5.1

      Madam, I think only Muslim community people are practicing Female Genital Mutilation. It is as per their religious right. Following blind faith even among well educated people are baffling.

      1. fred

        you are absolutely wrong,you can not find anything in islam that says you have to do it!in fact islam says you must not hurt yourself and if you do so you have done something bad!Islam has nothing to do with this stupidity!

        1. yumko

          totally agree with you.. islam is a religion of peace. fgm is actually done by non-muslims and they blame the muslims for all wrong deeds.

          1. pptexas

            I totally agree with u this is wrong no matter where done – Islam, Africa even Britain. FGM is not a good thing women and young children being put in pain over some silly superstition. That is pure crap and it must be put a stop to!

  6. 6

    I love this blog, but can you please start putting some of these pictures behind a “more” tag? Or label the post NSFW?!

    1. 6.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      How to do that?

      1. Yessenia

        If it’s like wordpress, when writing the post, you’d put the following HTML code in: after the first paragraph or two. There is probably also a button at the top, along with the buttons for bold, italics, link, etc. You can see it on other freethoughtblogs where you have to click “read more” to read the whole post.

        1. Yessenia

          Apologies, the code is actually:

          1. Yessenia

            LOL it did not show up because it was the correct code.

            Remove the *

          2. Yessenia

            one more time:

            But remove the spaces.

          3. Yessenia

            Please feel free to delete the extraneous fail posts. I give up trying to post here, but read this link:

            It’s what I posted the first time, but the exclamation mark ! goes before the hyphens -

  7. 7

    Another fact glossed over in the fight to end sexual mutilation is that it’s not just muslims who do it. Many of the African countries where the crime takes place have large christian populations (equal to or larger than the muslim population): Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Uganda, Togo, Liberia and others.

    Take Kenya, for example, where muslims account for 11% of the population, while christians are 83%. How can 37% of women have been sexually mutilated if only muslims do it?



    1. 7.1

      Your argument is a bit of a strawman attack. No informed person disputes that non-Muslims, both Christians and members of traditional religions, practise FGM. But the fact remains that the vast majority of victims are Muslims and that the practice clearly follows the footprint of Islam across Asia and Africa (and into diaspora communities in the West).

      1. left0ver1under

        You not only missed the point, you showed that you don’t know what a straw man argument it.

  8. 8
    Daniel Schealler

    Pictures… Just…

    Damn it.


  9. 9

    women are the main enemies of women

    1. 9.1
      No Light

      Men who demand mutilated brides are the enemy.
      Men who despise healthy female sexuality are the enemy.
      Men who convince former victims to mutilate their own daughters, under threat of harm, are the enemy.

      Women who reflexively fall back on blaming the victims of men, mutilated and subjugated women, without even attempting logic or compassion – are the enemy.

      Yes, that means you.

      1. Albert Bakker

        Yes, you’re perhaps missing the despair that Moreena tried to express in your enthusiasm calling her (I presume) the enemy. But if that’s your pleasure go right ahead.

        1. No Light

          You’re either a mind-reader or her sock, if you get despair from:

          “women are the main enemies of women”

          Where is it, is it hiding? There’s not a hint of emotion there, just flat-out blame.

          Refocusing the blame onto other victims makes your friend/alter-ego the enemy. Defending that victim-blaming extends the label to you too.

  10. 10

    This is truly horiffic.

    Thanks for saying this, Ms. Nasrin.

    Those who practice this should be punished without reservation. In western countries, where this is illegal (and it’s illegal in most countries, even where it’s practiced), those who do it should be punished severely. Parents who subject children to this practice should have their children taken away. Without mercy.

    I have no problem saying that some cultural practices are, regardless of circumstances, always evil and wrong: not all cultural practices are accepetable.

    Cultural relativism cripples many commenters in the West because nobody wants to judge or offend another culture.

    I say hogwash to that.

    Any culture that removes a woman’s sexual organs to make sure she’s denied pleasure during sex, or oppresses her by limiting her legal rights when compared to men, needs to be actively resisted and fought asgainst.

    It truly disgusts me that many in the West – including almost all of academic feminism in the last 10 years, in an act of utter hypocrisy – kowtow to the demons of “anti-imperialism” so much that they refuse to condemn practices like these in the most vocal terms.

    Some cultural practices deserve moral condemnation no matter where they occur. it’ds repulsive that people who claim to respect human rights could turn around and approve of something or refuse to actively condemn it in the most vocal terms because they’re trying to respect a “culture”.

    Individuals deserve respect. Cultures serve individuals – not the other way aorund.

  11. 11


  12. 12

    I’m disappointed Tasleema – you never replied to my messages. you are not posting my petition link. I know you don’t like the idea of pleading to a religious male head – but I am using the petition as a way of raising awarness and putting pressure on these guys.

  13. 13
    dilip kumar nathani

    this is extreme crruality against women in the world but no one can say anything against it because eveery one feared when ever witch kind of order can bullet u but they never fear to god such kind of ritual in any relgeon against women is must remove because women is mother and mom and maaaaa.. and amaa and so on till infinete our every relation to woman starts and ends on mom even u r wife when make some cuisen pouring to u that’s the time when she is u r mother .

  14. 14
    Bjarte Foshaug

    Religion may not be the only (or even the most the most important) motive for FGM. However, I always cringe when people cite this as an argument for opposing the practice, as this seems to suggest that if FGM was explicitly tied to religion, that would indeed make it acceptable (To be clear, I am not saying that Taslima made such an argument). What can not be justified without religion cannot be justified with religion eihter. If we can all agree about that, it is simply irrelevant what Islam does or does not say on the matter.

    1. 14.1

      It’s wholly relevant what Islam says. It suggests to believers that the entire moral universe approves and encourages this practice. It’s relevant because Islam imposes itself on believers by force; just ask apostates. It’s incumbent on good Muslims to kill apostates whenever they are found: You can convert in, but not out. Ms. Nasrin, who has rejected Islam, is under a permanent and unending death sentence from anyone who professes to adhere to Shariah law.

      And Shariah law is a cornerstone of Islam.

      FGM looks, tastes and acts Muslim. Sure, other groups may do it, but it’s been absorbed wholesale into the world of 1 billion Muslims, and is now creeping into even Malaysia and Indonesia, mostly among those who consider themselves the scrictest Muslims – the fastest growing segment of the religion in those countries.

      In the West, it’s also a largely Muslim phenomenon.

      Calling what Islam says about this irrelevant makes a minor pedantic point: Islam is a law, religion, state philosophy and culture, and a singularly commanding one, at that. That’s a polite way of saying it commands, and people obey – or else.

      Islam under normal circumstances is like Christianity during the Inquisition, but actually worse in almost every respect. The greatest times in Islamic history, when all the Greek classics were transmitted, when the math was done and the astronomy, those times were when Muslims strayed most from the faith.

      While all religions are somewhat noxious, Islam is actually largely poisonous in its truest form.

      FGM may not be a solely Islamic phenomenon, but it largely is.

      Look at the other values concerning women – largely medieval – it practices, reinforced by things like FGM.

      Cultural sensitivity is cultural insanity when applied to Islam. Anyone who can’t see this needs to do one thing.

      Read the Quran or the Sunnah. That will cure you of cultural relativism really quick.

      1. Bjarte Foshaug

        I agree, but the point I was trying to make was that whether or not FGM is explicitly tied to Islam, it’s still doesn’t make it any more or less wrong, so whatever Islam might have to say on the matter is irrelevant in that sense.

        To draw an analogy, when accomodationists try to make evolution more palatable to believers by insisting (wrongly in my view) that it poses no threat to their religious beliefs, what they seem to be implicitly saying is that if evolution did pose such a threat, then that would indeed be a valid reason to reject it. I say that’s conceding way too much, and the same goes for anyone who feels the need to reassure the muslims that FGM is not required Islam, thus apparently conceding the legitimacy of leaving the matter up to faith in the first place.

  15. 15

    While I agree that it would be best if the photographs were below a fold, they are an absolutely necessary feature of your post. I have read many articles about female genital mutilation over the last several decades, but text alone does not adequately convey the immense collection of individual horrors and tragedies the practice of FGM represents. In fact, I think the lack of photographs of the finished/healed product leaves your story incomplete (although it almost unbearable as it is). More than one man has tried to convince me that FGM is no worse than circumcision, despite the widespread availability of text descriptions of the practice. Only the most callous women-hating men could maintain such a cavalier attitude after viewing photographs like these. Thank you, Ms. Nasrin, for having the courage to address genital mutilation and other crimes against women with uncompromising directness.

    1. 15.1
      No Light

      B.b.but of course it’s worse for men, they have penises! Real genitalia!

      Evil misandrist!!!!


      Ugh, that hurt to type.

  16. 16
    Dr.Yogesh Sharma

    This is all very shameful and sad. In 21st century girls are subjected of this kind of butchery in the name of religious faith. Now it seems Islam has become a synonym with perversion and evils. A man wrote some nonsense 1500 years back in an obsolete book and stupidest are following it. Such heinous practices must be banned with tough law.

    1. 16.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      You should have some knowledge about the subject before you comment. Muhammad did not write anything about female genital mutilation. FGM is not practiced in many Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia. It is like some age-old anti-women traditions that Hindu women in India are still forced to practice.

    2. 16.2
      mehran zafar

      Oh Mr ISLAM doesn’t say to do so it is the old east Asian and African culture, As Indian culture is to burn a widow with her husband’s chiita. If want talk to me about it my mobile no is +923472918262

    3. 16.3

      Atleast do a google search befor u judge a religion n beliefs… fgm is NOT permitted in islam……

  17. 17

    All our religious books were written thousands of years ago without scientific knowledge. If religious people are practicing such unhealthy trends, then we the educated people should not follow it. It should be banned as per the law of land. Parents who force small girls to undergo FGM should be punished. Medical council and government in the respective country should educate parents through print (Newspaper) and electronic media (T.V) so that future generation will not practice barbaric FGM.

  18. 18

    All genitalia mutilation should be stopped. Simply removing the clitoral foreskin by itself is internationally condemned, so why is removing the male foreskin so acceptable and legal?

    1. 18.1
      Phillip Helbig

      It is illegal in Finland.

  19. 19

    Somehow I managed to stumble across your blog post while searching for pictures of labia piercings – interesting!

    As a body piercer myself, it shocks me how little there is in the law about this.

    For a start, in the uk, the genital mutilation act technically denies any woman the right to receive a genital piercing. This makes it very difficult for professionals like myself to offer grown, intelligent, freely thinking women a pretty stud for her bits!

    This is because the law specifically states any act of perforating done to the female genitals when not done for medical matters is illegal.

    There is NO LAW of a similar nature for males.

    I find the act of mutilation both to male and female children for religious matters disgusting. I also don’t agree with ear piercings on babies either. I believe you need to be old enough to understand what your body is to make a decision about poking holes (or cutting bits off it). If you are a fully grown woman (or man) who dislikes their genitals then you can make a fully consensual, intelligent decision about changing your body.

    Forcing it upon a child is simply cruelty in the name of tradition.

    1. 19.1
      Phillip Helbig

      “For a start, in the uk, the genital mutilation act technically denies any woman the right to receive a genital piercing. This makes it very difficult for professionals like myself to offer grown, intelligent, freely thinking women a pretty stud for her bits!”

      This is, of course, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      Permanent changes to the body should certainly be illegal without consent, and here we need to make sure the consent is real. I would support (at least) requiring those undergoing the change to be at least 18. However, consenting adults should be able to do what they want.

      Apparently the UK law does not apply to males, only to females. It should be challenge under anti-discrimination laws.

  20. 20
    this isn'tright

    look guys, this is horrific at all angles of looking at it. we all agree on the same cause which is to stop this insanity and ban mutilation. we’re all on the same team for humanity to everyone. it doesn’t matter what race, gender or political opinions you are. so, lets stop bickering and stand together with the same voice and say “NO MORE” not as strangers in different countries but as neighbors, friends, and family.

  21. 21
    Phillip Helbig

    This thread has to mention Rüdiger Nehberg: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%BCdiger_Nehberg . He is one of the few people to actually have reduced FGM in several places. As such, he should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    However, his method might raise some eyebrows: His method is to get the local sharia changed so that it forbids FGM. Where people take the sharia seriously, this is an effective method.

    Pardon the analogy here, but this is something of a two-edged sword. Obviously, no sane person should support the sharia, and Nehberg is actually an atheist. On the other hand, this might be a case where the end justifies the means. Also, I doubt anyone will take the sharia more seriously in other (bad) contexts just because Nehberg uses it for a good thing in this sense.

    1. 21.1
      Phillip Helbig

      in this sense —> in this case

    2. 21.2

      There is no where in islam or sharia demands female circumcision…. N never had been encouraged… Infact its prohibited in islam to do so….. Get ur facts right befor u babble…

  22. 22
    Urmila Mathondkar

    Taslima. I have tears in my eyes reading your blog. Sometimes, I ask, myself, is it a sin to be born a female.

  23. 23

    Could you explain why “the girl” on the last Image has two Piercings? This image is stolen from Body Modification Zine and has nothign todo with ritual fgm.

  24. 24

    On top of this, somehow male circumcision is legal… Both are disgusting. If someone wishes to have this procedure done to themselves, let them decide as a consenting adult. If they want to be part of their barbaric, medieval communities they can let their parents know when they reach maturity.

    1. 24.1


  25. 25

    At least the caption “mass mutilation” is wrong. That photo is not of a “mass mutilation”, but on the opposite, a school control to check that those girls have not been cut.

  26. 26

    this is so horrific, shocking, and probably the most barbaric thing I have ever seen in my life. It’s bad enough that women have to experiance monthly cramps, bloating, labor pains, and the list goes on and on.These people should be put in prison for a very long time. These have got to be the most dark, evil, and ingorant people on the planet , “it makes me sick….

    1. 26.1

      ignorant” spelling, sorry,LOL!! … And I just want to say one more thing, I couldn’t imagine life without the beloved orgasim”….

  27. 27

    Hi, thanks for sharing

  28. 28

    Facts are facts, and logic is logic. Mutiliating girls in this way has no known benefits, but several and concidereble negative ones.

    People who practice this cannot expect their points to be taken seriously, with such faulty logic and magic thinking. -If Allah is indeed omnipotent, sublime, and wise, he would probably not resort to relying on random and unreliable humans for fixing his mistakes. That is, if his intent were really for girls to be without any bodyparts they are born with across all of planet earth.

    Claiming imaginary benefits as real, without systematic and scientific study, is no way to be taken seriously among intelligent people.

    This practice is done by means of coersion, manipulation, and by force. Medically unsound, non reversible and generally revaulting.

    We, as a society, just cannot sit by and accept this vile act.

  29. 29
    Johnny Ackerman

    You so full of shit! How about instead of butting into other countries try taking a look at how I was mutilated when I was born by a little thing called circumcision? Guess What I want my foreskin back!

  30. 30
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  31. 31
    Daily Topic

    Now that is gender discrimination. I don’t see how skinning the clitoris is a big deal…same as male circumcision. But, chopping off the clitoris and other delicate lady parts is just wrong.

  1. 32
    No Country for Women- Gender equality or radical feminism?

    [...] education worldwide, violence against women, shaming women on their anti-women behavior, female genital mutilation or sexualization of breast cancer may disturb you, but once that wave has passed, it will likely [...]

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