Female circumcision

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Muslimwoman, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Sorry this is a yukky post but I can't stop crying and wanted to share.

    I was elated at the news, all over the web, that this barbaric act has finally been totally banned in Egypt. For those who do not know 97% of girls in Egypt (from all faiths and indeed no faith) have their clitoris removed before they begin menstruation. I do not want any of my fellow Muslims jumping in and saying "oh no it is just the tiniest peice of skin" because that is a bare faced lie told by people who want to minimise this issue, perhaps repeated out of ignorance but still a lie, the full clitoris, hood and often labia is removed. Last week a 12 year old girl died during this operation, may Allah bless her, and this prompted the ban. I could not have been happier, my sister in law has a 7 year old girl and I was panicking about what I could do to stop this.

    Tonight I spoke with my husband on the phone and said I was so happy about this. He replied "what are you talking about, there is nothing on the news or in the newspaper here. This cannot be stopped it is our religion". So I asked him why Egypt is the only country in the middle east that does this, if it is our religion and why do the girls from other religions in Egypt have this done. He could give no answer. This is not even done in Saudi, where women are oppressed beyond belief.

    I despair, I truely, truely despair, what sort of people am I living with. What humans are willing to do to their own children to hang on to a 5000 year old tradition and 'save face' in front of their neighbours is beyond belief. Sorry but I needed to share my sorrow, hurt and anger.

    May I ask everyone, of every faith, to join me in prayer for this little girl and all the girls, of every faith, who will continue to be mutilated in this horrific way by ignorant parents.

    May Allah forgive me for saying this but right now I wish I had never heard of the word religion.
     
  2. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    I don't believe this barbaric practice has anything to do with Islam proper, so your husband's response is interesting. I didn't realize it was such a prevalent practice in Egypt until I just happened to read the WHO report looking for information on literacy rates for women. I don't pray in any formalized way, but I will pray in my way for your niece and every other little girl coming of age where this horrific mutilation is practiced.

    Chris
     
  3. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercur├Žn Buddhist

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    Hi, muslimwoman. Perhaps this passage from the Hadith (Sahih Bukhari) might be helpful in convincing people against female circumcision:
     
  4. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    That is terrible and barbaric. My prayers for all these girls who may be facing this. It is not like male circumcision at all, for it takes away the sexuality of a woman, while the male sexuality stays intact. It's like taking a part of you away. I cannot see how it could be God's will when He invented it.
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Between this and the tradition of re-virginizing girls it is absolutely amazing the control over women and their lives in some societies...

    I am so insulated in the US I can hardly comprehend some of what I read.

    My prayers are that the world wakes up and raises in consciousness.
     
  6. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Hi Chris

    Hope you are well and getting through life, one day at a time.

    This is the problem with Islam, so many opinions that disagree. There is nothing about this practice in the Quran and as far as I know only one hadith (which is considered by most not to be authentic) refers to it, where the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said they were not to cut too deeply (ie do not remove the clitoris). But of course those that want to continue this barbaric practice say "the Prophet did not forbid it, so it is allowed". This is then exaggerated into it is a must. In Egypt the Grand Mufti has stated it is not an Islamic practice but other Imams in Al-Azhar disagree and site the hadith. So my husband has said that the government controls the Grand Mufti and he is Mobarak's puppet. Perhaps the same things were said when people wanted to abolish slavery or witch burning?

    G-d hears all forms of prayer, so thank you.

    Salaam
     
  7. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    :eek: Do I see a little light at the end of the tunnel? Wow, seattelgal, I have said it before and shall say it again - you are a fountain of knowledge. THANK YOU. How did you find this? I shall look this up in arabic and see if the translation is accurate. Not sure how far it would get me even if it is but I will not stop trying to get them to see the wrong they are doing.

    Dondi & Wil. Thank you for your comments. Yes it is so easy to sit in our comfortable western lives, oblivious to the suffering of others. I have been asked why I stay in Egypt, with the poverty, corruption and mutilation of girls but to be honest if I were to leave it would not change anything, just allow me to hide from it. I love the people here, they are kind, caring and so funny but they just cannot let go of some old barbaric practices. To us that sounds silly, you just accept it is wrong and stop. Not so easy for them, who will stop first? Who will decide, against everything they have been taught and society believes (ie without this your daughter will grow up to be a slut) to stand up and say I will not do this to my child. The whole family would be 'shamed' and no-one would marry the girl when she grows up. This is where I get really mad with our scholars, why aren't the ones outside Egypt standing up and saying it is unIslamic, they are on the tv every night shouting about masterbation is a sin, do not grass on another Muslim but they say nothing about this age old barbaric ritual. I could just scream sometimes, in fact I think I will.
     
  8. LeoSalinas22

    LeoSalinas22 merely a shadow...

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    hello mw,
    i have been reading your posts and honestly don't know what to think about the religion of islam from what i am reading. i thought that islam was a very peaceful and understanding practice to attain knowledge of God, but it seems to me that it is very centered around doctrines made by man. just my opinion. i know my opinion or thoughts don't matter, but i am really disturbed by this act towards girls. shameful, indeed. the only thing i don't understand is that it seems like if you are awfully disappointed in your religion, what was it that got you to be a muslim to begin with? you don't, have to answer, but i will have you know that because of this practice alone and the way you express yourself about islam, i will perhaps stop seeking knowledge of God thru islam. sorry if i offend. thanks and God bless you...
     
  9. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Hi Leo

    I am not in the slightest offended. I love being a Muslim and shall continue to follow Islam, as I know it is a religion of peace and respect. The struggle comes from tradition and culture, not from the religion. Allow me to explain.

    Take for example (and this is just a silly analogy so don't be offended), if a group of Christians in Stupidland decided that the teaching of Jesus (pbuh) was to crucify every second child at the age of 4.5 yrs and this practice had carried on for hundreds of years, with every person in that country believing this was what G-d wanted - does that make it Christianity? Say they found some old page of a gospel that hinted in a bizarre way that at one time this was accepted practice, does that make it ok and part of the religion? NO. It is just people following the wrongs of their fathers (something we are forbidden to do in Islam funnily enough).

    So my frustration is not with Islam, it is with human beings. The issue of scholars speaking out and disagreeing, is again cultural. When I looked up different scholars opinions, I found that ones born and raised in countries that practice this barbarism believe it is acceptable, whilst those born and raised in countries that do not practice this state catagorically it is unIslamic. So it comes down to our education. No doubt you were taught as a boy that hitting girls is wrong, if a great and respected priest/vicar told you tomorrow that it is ok to hit girls, would you suddenly change your mind or hang on to that belief?

    The answer is my religion is not at fault here, some of the people that follow that religion are at fault.
     
  10. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi MW...A dreadful, dreadful situation. However this practice is still widespread throughout Africa and could probably be more accurately described as a cultural practice going back thousands of years, extant even before the advent of Islam on the continent. Of course this does not mollify or justify such a barbaric practice that is only instituted as a control measure in society mostly to perpetuate the predominance of men in that society.

    Things like this take a long time to correct and the practice of the large and aggressive religions such as Islam and Christianity to enfold the existing cultural practices into their missionary ventures over the last 1,500 years does not help contemporary societies to cope with the problems this practice causes.

    I can identify with your dilemma and position in your community. When significant change is needed it is so very difficult to effect it without having to make huge personal sacrifices. It's just the way things have always been in human communities.

    flow....:(
     
  11. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Hi Flow

    Thanks for your understanding. If I had a daughter, I would make any sacrifice, even death, to stop them doing this to her but as it is I have no idea how I can stop this being done to my neice. I have thought about declaring my intention to divorce my husband and leave Egypt if the family go ahead with this but how can that help? My husband does not agree with this practice but says he alone cannot change it, so can I punish him for his culture? They would be devastated if I left but the choice between me and what they perceive as necessary for the girls future is for them a simple choice I would imagine.

    I have looked into this and it is believed that the practice goes back to the time of the Pharoes, about 5000 years. However, the museum here says there is no evidence of this on the mummies from the time, although later mummies do show this. It is also believed that the practice was brought here from Africa. Wow aren't people slow to learn....:(
     
  12. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    MW... Your are indeed in the corner of a box and it is something that you should move carefully on. I would say to be sure to, if you can, share your feelings with your niece person to person, but if that is not possible, support her and her family in any way possible so that they know in no uncertain terms that you believe this thing to be morally wrong.

    As far as the historical aspects are concerned, the practice probably came up the Nile with migrations of Nubians back in the day, and then spread without regulation among ordinary people in Egypt depending upon their personal choices. As I said the coming of Islam probably was when the practice was formally institutionalized because it served certain social-political preferences of the ruling classes.

    I would doubt that ancient Egyptian Royals advocated the practice since it was likely to be a slave-worker societal practice. Just my opinion you understand.

    stay well...salaam...Flow....:(
     
  13. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    I do wish you would speak to me more often Flow, you always talk such sense. I cannot move the mountain but I can let them know how I feel in no uncertain terms. They may still go ahead with it but at least I may be able to sleep at night knowing I at least tried to stop them. Possibly a more rational plan than my plan to kidnap my niece and smuggle her to UK :eek: Unfortunately she is only 7 and will no doubt see it as her 'right of passage' but that doesn't stop me explaining to her that there is an alternative.

    Sounds a good theory. When I am back in Egypt I will go to the museaum and ask them and let you know if the slave/worker mummies have this.

    alfa salaam
     
  14. KarimK

    KarimK Well-Known Member

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    Muslimwoman, is FGM widespread in Egypt? I mean, is it done to all girls? I can't believe that, I didn't even know this was done in Egypt.

    Also, is it a taboo subject? It's weird, I also read that it was banned in Egypt after that little girl died... Lies? :confused:
    Exactly! and didn't Mohammad want to FIGHT these stupid, stupid, stupid traditions?!

    I can't believe scholars from El Azhar are advocating FGM! It's revolting!
     
  15. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Yes it is absolutely the norm. I looked at a great medical survey that showed that there is only 3% of women in their 50's with this, as President Nasser (I think it was) banned this practice and 16% of 25-35 year olds but now 97% of girls between 9 and 11 have had this done. Of course the study (which interviewed thousands of women) showed that the percentage depends largely on educational class. So the poor uneducated girls show 100 %, whereas girls of university graduates show a much lower percentage rate.

    Not that I know of, although I have only really discussed it with my husband and a few close female relatives. It was made illegal in Egypt 10 years ago but they left a loophole a mile wide saying "doctors can perform this in exceptional circumstances". Of course unless a girl dies the barbers, midwives (I use the term loosely) and even plumbers that perform this operation are never arrested. This issue has only come about because the parents of the girl that died are trying to sue the doctor - of course no-one has asked the doctor why this operation was deemed necessary or asked the parents why they were doing this to their child. Even now it is just a ban and we will have to wait to see if it becomes legislation but I doubt that will stop the midwives. Stupid, stupid people.

    Correct. There are a number of teachings of Islam that goes against this practice. You are not allowed to harm yourself, you are not allowed to "do as your father did" and even the hadith about this issue, if authentic, said not to cut deeply - can you get deeper than total removal of the clitoris??????

    I read the opinion of one Egyptian scholar, who I believe now lives in Syria, he is normally very pro-women and anti-oppression and even he says this is allowed. It just shows you how hard it is to rid yourself of cultural beliefs.
     
  16. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    I lived in Kenya in the mid to late seventies when I was a teenager, and this practice of female circumcision was quite common among certain tribes. I remember the poor girls hobbling around at school.

    Chris
     
  17. KarimK

    KarimK Well-Known Member

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    Funny, I wonder what the " exceptional circumstances " are, that require mutilating a girl...

    It's weird, how is it the norm in Egypt and not in Middle-Eastern countries?

    It's also strangely sick, when you think about it, that these women who are not circumcised do it to their own daughters...

    And I still can't understand what the POINT of it all is ... the only thing I see is the fact that men (always - everywhere) have this huuuuuuge complex regarding women and pleasure. Of course, by performing FGM, you're keeping the sharaf or the karam of your family safe, aren't you...
     
  18. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    [/quote]I lived in Kenya in the mid to late seventies when I was a teenager, and this practice of female circumcision was quite common among certain tribes. I remember the poor girls hobbling around at school. Chris[/quote]

    I read recently that in some places in Africa they even sew the girl up, so that she just has a small hole for urinating, in order to protect her virginity. Makes you wish you had a big sponge that you could clean people's minds with.

    I have searched and searched and cannot find anything that gives medical reasons for this procedure.

    It is frightening to see how quickly this has re-emerged in Egypt quite recently:

    Fatwas published:

    Fatwas are published opinions by Muslim religious scholars. They are non-binding in law. But Muslim believers are expected to follow them. In Egypt, a number of Fatwas have been issued by the influential Egyptian Fatwa Committee on FGM:
    [​IMG][FONT=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]1949-MAY-28: They decided that it is not a sin to reject female circumcision.[/FONT][​IMG][FONT=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]1951-JUN-23: They stated that female circumcision is desirable because it curbs "nature" (i.e. sexual drive among women). It stated that medical concerns over the practice are irrelevant.[/FONT][​IMG][FONT=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]1981-JAN-29: The Great Sheikh of Al-Azhar (the most famous University of the Islamic World) stated that parents must follow the lessons of Mohammed and not listen to medical authorities because the latter often change their minds. Parents must do their duty and have their daughters circumcised.[/FONT]

    I have read of men saying that it is necessary because it curbs desire, reduces rape (what???) and is cleaner. How about they have their penis removed, then desire and rape will fall to zero overnight.

    This is where the stupidity of man comes into it, get this for an excuse:

    "When it was pointed out to him that parents in Morocco and Algeria do not practice FGM, he replied that the clitoris in Egyptian girls was larger than in those countries and had to be cut back to a normal size." (Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi - Al Azhar). :mad: and these are meant to be educated men.

    This is one of my problems, how can I possibly hug and kiss my sister in law if she does this to her daughter? For her it is a matter of honour, her daughter must not be seen as "unlcean" but to me she is a barbaric and ignorant mother. Oh the trials of life.

    And I still can't understand what the POINT of it all is ... the only thing I see is the fact that men (always - everywhere) have this huuuuuuge complex regarding women and pleasure. Of course, by performing FGM, you're keeping the sharaf or the karam of your family safe, aren't you...[/quote]

    See my next post but have your sick bag ready.....
     
  19. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    I managed to find the email posted on the internet that is said to be from an African man defending female circumcision, I puts some bits in bold that I found particularly offensive - hope you have a strong stomach:

    Why should this be? Circumcision has been popular among African women for many thousands of years. Western pressure groups attempt to blackmail African nations into banning the custom, but whenever moves are made to do this, the streets are filled with happy circumcised women demonstrating their desire to protect their daughters' right to enjoy the same benefits.


    Here are some of the most obvious things that a girl gains when she is circumcised:

    * it is a rite of passage and proof of adulthood. One day she is a girl; the next, a woman;

    * it raises her status in her community, both because of the added purity that circumcision brings and the bravery that initiates are called upon to show;

    * it confers maturity and inculcates positive character traits, including the ability to endure pain and a submissive nature;

    * the circumcision ritual is an enjoyable one, in which the girl is the centre of attention and receives presents and moral instruction from her elders; Oh hell I'll have my clitoris cut out for a few pressies

    * it creates a bond between the generations, as all women in that society must undergo it and thus have shared an important experience;

    * the girl will never have her conscience troubled by lustful thoughts or sensations or temptations such as masturbation;

    * there is little or no risk of premarital relationships which end in heartbreak or the stigma and social difficulties of illegitimate birth (this is especially so with full circumcision, i.e. all impure tissue is removed and the girl is sewn up until her wedding night);

    * the bond between husband and wife is closer because neither will have had sex with anyone else and the relationship will be motivated by love rather than primarily lust, because there will be no physical drive for the women, only an emotional one;

    * there is no incentive for extramarital sex, hence marriages are made more secure;

    * there will be far fewer rapes (especially in the case of full circumcision);

    * marriages are also made closer because the emphasis is taken away from sexual technique and performance; that's the ticket, cut your girls bits off so you don't have to make any effort in the sex department

    * children are better cared-for because there is less incentive for a marriage to break up, and because the husband can be more confident that the children are his.

    There are many ills in today's Western society which could easily be eradicated by the adoption of universal female circumcision with infibulation at puberty. Think of the positive impact on the teenage pregnancy rate in the US, which has been linked to the rise of crime and ghettoisation, especially for minorities. And it would create more peaceful, satisfied women - at the moment females are told that this little nub of skin, a vestigial penis, should have awesome phallic power. For most of them, it just doesn't, which creates dissatisfaction. because you cut the bloody thing out perhaps?
    So, in answer to the question on your website: yes, I do believe that the girl in the picture should be circumcised. It will do her good, and she will thank you for it.


    Now this is clearly quite an educated person, as his use of the english language is rather good, yet he actually believes this S**T. The world is mad - I rest my case.
     
  20. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Sometimes you have to bend a long way to understand and tolerate cultural differences. This one is beyond my flexibility. It is frankly an insane abuse of woman and any man that would allow his daughter to be so mutilated deserves to be held down and castrated with a broken bottle. The man you quote is the very worst kind of self-important fool and if i had the opportunity I would like to use a broken bottle on him myself.

    My heart goes out to you MW. To be living in the midst of such brutal ignorance must be very trying on you. Be careful too.

    Best wishes

    TE
     

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