Monday, November 27, 2006

Muslim scholars: Female genital mutilation un-Islamic

Some rare good news from the Muslim world...

A conference of Islamic scholars in Egypt has declared female genital mutilation (FGM) to be un-Islamic, and that those who practice it should be punished.

According to the article, their ruling is considered binding, but if I read this correctly, they're relying on a fatwa to be issued by individual clerics to actually implement their ruling:
"The conference calls on judicial institutions to issue laws that prohibit and criminalise this habit ... which appeared in several societies and was adopted by some Muslims although it is not sanctioned by the Quran or the Sunna," the scholars said, referring to Islam's holy book and the sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad.
The conference was sponsored by TARGET Human Rights group, an organization based in Germany. Here's a description of the harshest form of FGM from their web site:
Fatima has to endure the hardest form. She is eight years old, a Muslim, and lives in the Danakil desert, Ethiopia. She will have to undergo Pharaonic mutilation. Like her friends. Laila, for example, who has not spoken since. Who has been mute for eleven weeks. According to an estimation of the UN, one third of the girls will never speak again. Death due to loss of blood.

Four adults are trying to hold Fatima, who is struggling for her life, in place. The razor blade takes away the clitoris, the labia, everything. Even her soul and trust in life, including her trust in the adults whose hands are smothering her screams. Then she faints. Her vagina is closed with acacia thorns - just like a zipper. Without mercy. Her thighs are bound together with bandages. Like a pot roast.

After four weeks the skin has grown together. What is left is an opening the size of a grain of rice. From now on urinating will take half an hour, menstruation two weeks. In her wedding night she will be opened - either with a knife or her husband's penis. When she gives birth, the opening will have to be widened. Again, with a knife. Afterwards everything will be stitched together again. This cycle will repeat itself.

Lifelong torture.

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