Hundreds of girls were cut

A festive Sunday morning in Indonesia in 2006, with coconut cakes and Javanese music and lots of women in hijabs and lipstick. They were there to chop up the genitals of 248 little girls.

It is April 2006 and the occasion is a mass ceremony to perform sunat perempuan or “female circumcision” that has been held annually since 1958 by the Bandung-based Yayasan Assalaam, an Islamic foundation that runs a mosque and  several schools. The foundation holds the event in the lunar month of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and pays parents 80,000 rupiah (£6) and a bag of food for each daughter they bring to be cut.

The foundation pays the parents to slice up their daughters’ genitals.

At the mass  ceremony, I ask the foundation’s social welfare secretary, Lukman Hakim, why they do it. His answer not only predates the dawn of religion, it predates human evolution: “It is necessary to control women’s sexual urges,” says Hakim, a stern, bespectacled man in a fez. “They must be chaste to preserve  their beauty.”

Otherwise, they get all crusted over with ugly because of the oozing disgusingness of women’s sexual urges.

…far from scaling down, the problem of FGM in Indonesia has escalated sharply. The mass ceremonies in Bandung have grown bigger and more popular every year. This year, the gathering took place in February. Hundreds of girls were cut. The Assalaam foundation’s website described it as “a celebration”. Anti-FGM campaigners have proved ineffective against a rising tide of conservatism.

Although Indonesia is not a country where FGM is widely reported, the practice is endemic. Two nationwide studies carried out by population researchers in 2003 and 2010 found that between 86 and 100% of households surveyed subjected their daughters to genital cutting, usually before the age of five. More than 90% of adults said they wanted the practice to continue.

Between 6 and 100%. I wouldn’t have guessed that if you’d asked me beforehand. That’s almost up there with Egypt. It’s also in the most populous majority-Muslim country – the third most populated country on earth. That’s a lot of chopped-up women.





  1. leni says

    Oh I can think of several words, most of which I’d prefer to reserve for the women inflicting this barbarity on their daughters, and none of them nice.

  2. iknklast says

    Are you saying Indonesia is the third most populated country on earth? Because they aren’t. The United States is. We beat them by nearly 100 million.

  3. No Light says

    There’s a 2008 article about the same foundation too.

    Warning – there are pictures of a screaming child being mutilated in the main feature, and presumably in the slideshow. It’s a headshot, but it’s bad enough.

    Here’s. another delightful quote from Mr Mutilator:

    According to Lukman Hakim, the foundation’s chairman of social services, there are three “benefits” to circumcising girls.

    “One, it will stabilize her libido,”
    he said through an interpreter. “Two, it will make a woman look more beautiful in the eyes of her husband. And three, it will balance her psychology.

    Yep. Nothing mentally balances a five year old quite as well as gouging at her genitals. I’m sure being reminded that their destiny is to be nothing but a future semen-depository, at the tender age of five, brings them superb psychological stability too.

    I hate to admit though, I thought it was the uterus that caused us to be all irrational and feeble-minded, not the clitoris or prepuce.

    Now I don’t know what to think. Is there a man in the house?

  4. Tony ∞ºQueer Duck Hivemind Minionº∞ says

    I believe Indonesia is the 4th most populated country on Earth:

    Rank Country / Territory Population % of World population
    1 China 1,342,120,000 19.5%
    2 India 1,193,590,000 17.3%
    3 United States 311,999,000 4.52%
    4 Indonesia 237,556,363 3.44%
    5 Brazil 190,732,694 2.77%
    6 Pakistan 171,739,000 2.49%
    7 Nigeria 158,259,000 2.29%
    8 Bangladesh 149,983,000 2.17%
    9 Russia 141,927,297 2.06%
    10 Japan 127,370,000 1.85%

  5. bad Jim says

    WTF? I thought this was a regional aberration, nothing to do with Islam as such. Maybe insanity is contagious after all.

  6. briane says

    Here’s the thing. Religion may not be responsible for the practice of mutilating an innocent girls genitals. But it does nothing to stand in the way of, but instead offers tacit, and sometimes explicit support for this barbarity. As it does with covering up of child rapists, formerly with support of slavery (bible and quran both support slavery), and so on. Religion claims to make people better, but given that religious are not better and often worse than non-religious I am left to think that is total rubbish, because the alternative is that most of the world’s population are raping, killing, butchering sadists who are only part-civilized because of the redeeming hand of religion. Religion fails on one claim it could prove empirically, making people better (more moral).

  7. briane says

    When I say Religion claims I’m using that as a shorthand, for Apologists of religion claim that religion. Just in case…

  8. katkinkate says

    Humans are barbaric. What’s even more horrible, those little girls will grow up and be convinced that putting their own daughters through the same agony is a good thing to do, ’cause it’s ‘traditional’. This almost makes me vomit.

  9. johnthedrunkard says

    Islamist apologists will insist–justifiably–that there is no Koranic justification for FGM. I don’t know what the relevant Hadiths might be, but since 90%+ of surviving Hadith are blatant post-hoc forgeries, I’m sure there is some pro-FGM mythology.

    The point being; that wherever FGM and Islam co-exist FGM is considered ‘central’ or ‘obligatory’ to Islam.

    Also. While horrid festivals like the one above, and the even more gruesome ‘family’ acts where mothers and aunts butcher young girls with rusty razor-blades are more brutal and involve more risk and tissue damage than most brises or routine hospital circumcisions of American boys; the entire practice, for any gender is simply WRONG. There is no sane reason to damage the normal body of a child. Full Stop.

    Bribery, lack of sanitation, amateur surgery etc. are all Bad Things, to be opposed on their own. ALL ‘traditional’ genital mutilation is fundamentally wrong whether that tradition is 3,000 years old (Judaism, Islam) or perhaps 125 (American style routine cutting of boys).

    Visceral, moral, ‘intuitive,’ revulsion is the only civilized response to the entire concept. There is no reason for anti-circumcision activists to shrug off male circumcision just because it is more sanitary in THEIR culture.

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