They should follow it without any argument

It’s a small (comparatively) sect in India that insists on mutilating girls’ genitalia.

The Bohra brand of Islam is followed by 1.2 million people worldwide and is a sect of Shia Islam that originated in Yemen.

While the sect bars other Muslims from its mosques, it sees itself as more liberal, treating men and women equally in matters of education and marriage.

But in matters of slicing off major chunks of the genitals with a razor blade, not so much.

For generations, few women in the tightly-knit community have spoken out in opposition, fearing that to air their grievances would be seen as an act of revolt frowned upon by their elders.

Right. Obviously. This was something imposed on them, and they were cowed into submission. We know. This is what we object to. (And by “we” I mean those of us who do, which fortunately now includes women in the tightly-knit community.)

The anti-Khatna movement gained momentum after Tasneem, a Bohra woman who goes by one name, posted an online petition at the social action platform in November last year.

She requested their religious leader, the 101-year-old Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, ban female genital mutilation, the consequences of which afflict 140 million women worldwide according to the World Health Organisation.

Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin is the 52nd Dai-al Mutalaq (absolute missionary) of the community and has sole authority to decide on all spiritual and temporal matters.

A dictator, in other words – only worse than a secular dictator, because wrapped in the robes of “god says I get to tell you what to do.”

Every member of the sect takes an oath of allegiance to the leader, who lives in western city of Mumbai.

And they’re all born into it, and clearly refusal to take the oath is not an option.

When contacted by AFP, Burhanuddin’s spokesman, Qureshi Raghib, ruled out any change and said he had no interest in talking about the issue.

“I have heard about the online campaign but Bohra women should understand that our religion advocates the procedure and they should follow it without any argument,” he said.

And there you go – that’s why theocracy is a shit system.



  1. mirax says

    Oh dear, I know a fair number of bohri muslims and they are quite liberal. I never knew about any female circumcision they were practising until this morning.
    Just like I knew nothing about female circumcision amongst the women all around me in SE Asia until a few years ago when a religious teacher , a woman, told me. No one ever talks or writes about it and it seems a very secretive practice.

  2. meanmike says

    Hmmm. Mr. Raghib’s words strike me as a nearly perfect description of blind obedience. However, I somehow doubt that he would be so complacent if they wanted to cut something off of him.

  3. mas528 says

    You’re too nice, calling him a “dictator”.

    Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, and his pal are obviously steaming bowls of liquid shit.

  4. says

    How is this any different than male genital mutilation?
    And I hear no one screaming about that or any petition being passed around?

    Just Asking

  5. mirax says

    It seems that I was right about the secretiveness surrounding the custom in that it is deliberate and even the male members of the sect do not know about it.

    I called a Bohri friend in Hong Kong to ask about it and she said that the cutting is fairly minimal and very similar to that which the malay women undergo in Singapore and that families could choose not to do it as hers did. There are no repercussions as such. But it was not the accepted thing in the community to question the leader who is sort of almost worshipped.

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