Female Genital Mutilation As a Cultural Tradition

By Bernie on 09 Feb 2010

FGM Instruments
FGM Instruments
Photo Credit: Ashbash91’s Blog

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious or other barbaric non-medical reasons.

You may also see the term "Female Genital Cutting" being used because Muslims resented the suggestion that they are "mutilating" their daughters. To avoid "demonizing" certain cultures, religions, and communities, the UN and other pussy organizations have increasingly come to use the phrase "female genital cutting" instead.

The practice predates both Christianity and Islam. It is widely accepted to have originated in Egypt and the Nile valley at the time of the Pharaohs. Amnesty International estimates that over 2 million procedures are performed every year. FGM is mainly practiced in 28 different African countries, where it is most prevalent in Egypt (90% Muslim), followed by Sudan (70% Muslim), Ethiopia (Muslim 32%), and Mali (90% Muslim).

Since the main function is to reduce a woman's sexual desire and ensure her virginity until marriage, this has become very popular in Islamic lands.

Most African countries have practiced FGM for thousands of years, before the Islamization of the continent, so it may seem odd to blame Muslims rather than the underlying cultures for continuing the practic. However, one wonders why Muslims didn't ban the practice, after all, one of the main hypes about Islam is how it liberated women from primitive practices.

Interestingly, the practice was outlawed under British colonial rule in the Sudan. In Kenya, missionaries present in the 1920s and 1930s forbade their Christianized adherents to practice clitoridectomy [Wiki].

If the Internet had not come along, most of the civilized world would still be ignorant of the savage practice. Pressure from the developed western nations has caused many FGM countries to begin outlawing the procedure although in many cases it only went underground.

In the US, Europe and Australia, immigrants from the Middle East and Africa still send their daughters "on vacation" back to their home countries to have the procedure done. This, despite laws passed making it a criminal offense to take, or propose to take, a child outside the host country to have a FGC procedure performed.

One will often find in comments from Muslim apologists that FGM is a cultural practice and has nothing to do with Islam. One can say the same thing about Christianity yet Christian nations outlaw the barbarity.

Indeed if one asks Islamic scholars about FGM, here is a response one can expect to get:

Islam on Net, Islamic Ruling on Female Circumcision

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear sister, we are very pleased for the great confidence you repose in us and we really commend your apparent interest in having a better understanding of the teachings of Islam and the rulings of this great religion in all matters. In fact, Islam is a religion that encompasses all aspects of life and secures guidance and light for all mankind.

Before delving deep into the question of female circumcision, we would like to make it clear that "female circumcision" means removing the prepuce of the clitoris, not the clitoris itself.

As for the Shari`ah stance on female circumcision, it’s a controversial issue among the Muslim scholars and even doctors.

In response to the question, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states:

Actually, this is a controversial issue among jurists and even among doctors. It has sparked off fierce debate in Egypt whereby scholars and doctors are split into proponents and opponents.

However, the most moderate opinion and the most likely one to be correct is in favor of practicing circumcision in the moderate Islamic way indicated in some of the Prophet's hadiths – even though such hadiths are not confirmed to be authentic. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to a midwife: "Reduce the size of the clitoris but do not exceed the limit, for that is better for her health and is preferred by husbands". The hadith indicates that circumcision is better for a woman's health and it enhances her conjugal relation with her husband. It’s noteworthy that the Prophet's saying "do not exceed the limit" means do not totally remove the clitoris.

Actually, Muslim countries differ over the issue of female circumcision; some countries sanction it whereas others do not. Anyhow, it is not obligatory, whoever finds it serving the interest of his daughters should do it, and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world. But whoever chooses not to do it is not considered to have committed a sin for it is mainly meant to dignify women as held by scholars.

Allah Almighty knows best.

There you have it: it is not required by Muslim Law, but if it suits you, go ahead.

As for the silly assertion that FGM is a controversial issue even among doctors, this is true only for backward Muslim doctors. Here's what civilized doctors think:


The traditional custom of ritual cutting and alteration of the genitalia of female infants, girls, and adolescents, referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM), persists primarily in Africa and among certain communities in the Middle East and Asia. Immigrants in the United States from areas where FGM is endemic may have daughters who have undergone a ritual genital procedure or may request that such a procedure be performed by a physician. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that pediatricians and pediatric surgical specialists should be aware that this practice has serious, life-threatening health risks for children and women. The AAP opposes all forms of FGM, counsels its members not to perform such ritual procedures, and encourages the development of community educational programs for immigrant populations.

Sadly, the American Academy of Pediatrics writes in PC. Here is what they really mean in plain English:

Female genital mutilation persists primarily in Africa and among Muslim communities in the Middle East and Asia. These immigrants may ask you to mutilate their daughters. Say no and report them to the police. FGM is barbaric butchery and has serious, life-threatening health risks for children and women. We oppose all forms of FGM, counsel our members not to perform such savage, ritual procedures, and encourage legislation to send these wackos somewhere to get de-programed out of these primitive beliefs.

I should mention that there is one small group of Jews, the Beta Israel, black Jews from Ethiopia, that practiced ritual female genital mutilation in Ethiopia. Almost all of that group now live in Israel and have stopped the practice since they are no longer pressured by their new society to engage in that barbarity (1) and have no interest in keeping their women subjugate. This is in contrast to Muslim immigrants from FGM nations who continue the vile habit when they come to civilized nations even though they are no longer required to continue doing so. For Muslim men, keeping women subservient defines who they are.



Springer Link, Ritual Female Genital Surgery Among Ethiopian Jews

Ethiopian Jewish women immigrants to Israel report that ritual female genital surgery was normative in their culture in Ethiopia, but expressed no desire to continue the custom in Israel. This contrasts with Israeli Bedouin Muslims, who were reported to regard ritual female genital surgery as an important part of their identity.

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