Tag Archives: Muslim

Female Genital Mutilation in the US

This is an interesting article on a topic that more people should be speaking out against, but I am guess that since it deals with Islam that people will choose to ignore it as not to offend anyone.

Female genital mutilation on the rise in the United States

Western news articles about female genital mutilation routinely assert that it is solely a cultural practice, not justified by any religion. Yet again and again we see Muslim clerics justifying it, and it is sanctioned in Islamic law.

“Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64

“Islamic law permits by definition, by prophetic statement and by practice female circumcision” — Australian Imam Afroz Ali

“Female genital mutilation on the rise in the United States-report,” by Lisa Anderson for TrustLaw, March 11 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

NEW YORK (TrustLaw) – The ancient, brutal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), once considered primarily a problem of the developing world, is a growing threat to girls and women in the United States, according to a new report.

The United States has longstanding laws against the practice of FGM on U.S. soil and in January, passed a federal law against sending young women outside the country for so-called “vacation cutting”. However, girls living in America increasingly are at risk of the procedure both at home and abroad, according to research by Sanctuary for Families.

The New York City-based non-profit organisation, which specialises in gender-based violence, said up to 200,000 girls and women in the United States are at risk of FGM and that the number is growing.

“People in the United States think that FGM only happens to people outside of the United States, but in all actuality, people here all over the country have been through FGM,” said Jaha, 23, formerly from Gambia and now a survivor and advocate against FGM.

“Kids that were born in this country are taken back home every summer and undergo this procedure,” she was quoted as saying in the report.

The study cited analysis of data from the 2000 census that found between 1990 and 2000 the number of girls and women in the United States at risk of the procedure – which involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia – increased by 35 percent.

SADNESS, EMPTINESS

Most prevalent in immigrant African and Middle Eastern communities, FGM generally originates in the belief by some cultures that it preserves a girl’s virginity before marriage and discourages her from promiscuity after she is wed. In many communities, a girl is deemed unfit for marriage if she has not undergone FGM.

The report said FGM has been performed in the United States by health care providers who support FGM or do not want to question families’ cultural practices.  

Whether performed covertly on U.S. soil or in ceremonies held in ancestral homelands during school vacations, the procedure often is done by traditional practitioners using crude implements, such as razor blades and broken glass. They often operate in unsanitary conditions, far from medical facilities, without anaesthesia, antiseptics or antibiotics.

The physical and psychological effects can be devastating and even fatal. FGM can cause severe pain during sexual intercourse, haemorrhage, shock, complications in childbirth and fistula. It can also lead to depression and anxiety.

“FGM has affected me emotionally throughout my entire life. Those terrible moments stay with me and I just cannot forget them,” a 53-year-old woman named Nafissatou, originally from Guinea, told researchers.

“When I went to the hospital to give birth to my children, my experience with FGM was what I remembered most. Every time I shower, I think about it. There is a sadness and emptiness I fell every day because of what FGM took from me,” she said.

LACK OF PROSECUTIONS

The United Nations last December called for a global ban on FGM, but, as with laws in the United States, implementation is extremely difficult and, to date, prosecutions have been rare.

The United States has had a law against FGM since 1996 and 20 states have passed their own statutes. But, according to the report, as of 2012, there have been no prosecutions under federal law, and only one criminal case has been brought forward under a state statute.

One problem is that families in the United States, even those who oppose FGM for their daughters, often find themselves under severe pressure from their extended families to subject girls to the procedure.

Another obstacle is a lack of reporting of FGM either by victims, girls at risk or their families. Part of the reason may be due to ignorance of the law, the report found.

“However, reasons for underreporting likely also include reluctance on the part of the girl or her family to come forward, precisely because they know and fear the legal penalties for doing so,” it said.

“Many girls fear that innocent family members, especially their mothers, will be considered complicit in their family’s efforts to force them to undergo FGM, or worry that if they report their relatives, they will be arrested, prosecuted, and possibly deported,” it added….

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German Court Rules Religious Circumcision on Boys an Assault

by AFP

Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision that the Jewish community said trampled on parents’ religious rights.

The regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents”, a judgment that is expected to set a legal precedent.

“The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised,” the court added.

The case was brought against a doctor in Cologne who had circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy on his parents’ wishes.

A few days after the operation, his parents took him to hospital as he was bleeding heavily. Prosecutors then charged the doctor with grievous bodily harm.

The doctor was acquitted by a lower court that judged he had acted within the law as the parents had given their consent.

On appeal, the regional court also acquitted the doctor but for different reasons.

The regional court upheld the original charge of grievous bodily harm but also ruled that the doctor was innocent as there was too much confusion on the legal situation around circumcision.

The court came down firmly against parents’ right to have the ritual performed on young children.

“The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision,” the court said. “This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs.”

The decision caused outrage in Germany’s Jewish community.

The head of the Central Committee of Jews, Dieter Graumann, said the ruling was “an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in the right of religious communities to self-determination.”

The judgment was an “outrageous and insensitive act. Circumcision of newborn boys is a fixed part of the Jewish religion and has been practiced worldwide for centuries,” added Graumann.

“This religious right is respected in every country in the world.”

Holm Putzke, a criminal law expert at the University of Passau, told the Financial Times Deutschland that the ruling was “enormously important for doctors because for the first time they have legal certainty.”

“Unlike many politicians, the court has not allowed itself to be scared off by charges of anti-Semitism or religious intolerance,” added Putzke.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that nearly one in three males 15 or over is circumcised. In the United States, the operation is often performed for hygiene reasons on infants.

Thousands of young boys are circumcised every year in Germany, especially in the country’s large Jewish and Muslim communities.
The court specified that circumcision was not illegal if carried out for medical reasons.

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