Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Female Genital Mutilation and Religion

Deeply rooted African traditions and customs

In most countries where FGM/C is prevalent, traditional practitioners perform the procedures, cutting the female genitalia and removing some flesh -- generally the clitoris and inner labia.

Laws alone are not enough to stop female circumcision as it is difficult to change customs that have been inherited without educating society about the dangers associated with this practice.

Combating this phenomenon cannot happen merely by yelling slogans and writing texts; we have to raise our voices loudly and clearly against female circumcision, and religious and tribal leaders have to work towards educating the public and raising awareness within local communities about the dangers of this practice.

We urge the religious leaders in particular to explain to people that infibulations has nothing to do with Islam.

Female Genital Mutilation not endorsed by religion

Incorrect religious beliefs and social traditions are used to justify the tradition. FGM is undesirable and neither a religious duty nor an obligation. Female circumcision is neither a favourable duty nor a sunnah and the prophet reprimanded women who performed this practice. There is no reference or text in the Holy Qur'an that refers to circumcision.

It has no societal value and actually contradicts the principles of Islamic sharia because it causes harm -- both physical and psychological -- to girls' health. For this reason, it has to be avoided in order to prevent harm and to follow the teachings of Islam that considers causing harm to humans in any shape and form as sinful."

Circumcision causes damage to women's health, such as urinary and genital infections and germs entering women's bodies.

In lots of cases, circumcision causes severe bleeding and during the first couple of days after the operation, girls find it difficult to urinate as a result of the severe pain and the narrowing of the urinary tract. Upon reaching puberty, menstrual cycles become extremely painful because girls suffer from serious infections, not to mention complications during childbirth, as circumcision causes problems during the birthing process that could lead to the mother's death.

A painful, scarring experience

Annabel from Mozambique’s experience,

"I can never forget that painful experience of having my genitals cut. I was nine years old when several women came to our house, some neighbours and some relatives."

"My mother ordered me to lie down on my back," she said. "Moments later, some of the women held me down on the ground while one put her hand tightly on my mouth to prevent me from screaming. Another woman holding a pair of scissors and a knife cut off parts of my genitals. I still remember the amount of pain I felt during this process and suffer from complications from the circumcision as I have severe pain and infections during menstruation,"

Despite the dangers, many mothers still insist on having their daughters circumcised and should therefore be stopped.

Female circumcision is a harmful tradition that our society has been plagued with and most Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia and other Arabian Gulf countries, do not know this tradition at all.  Why would the Muslims in these countries leave out an important ritual in Islam or the sunnah if female circumcision is considered such?

It is ridiculous to think that circumcision protects girls from moral deviance. Circumcision plays no role in preserving girls' chastity. Instead, a sound upbringing suffices to protect a girl.

Let’s all fight this barbaric practice.


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