Russia: Muslim leader defends FGM after it’s discovered in Dagestan

Female genital mutilation “is a Central African problem. Eritrea has almost 90 percent female genital mutilation. It’s a Christian country. Ethiopia has 75 percent female genital mutilation. It’s a Christian country. Nowhere else in the Muslim, Muslim-majority states is female genital mutilation an issue.” — Reza Aslan

Oops. Wrong again, Reza, and not just about Eritrea and Ethiopia being in Central Africa.

FGM is widely reputed to be a “cultural” practice, but actually it is sanctioned by 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


“Russian Muslim official defends female circumcision after researchers discover its practice in Dagestan,” Govorit Moskva, August 15, 2016:

Earlier today, Ismail Berdiev, the chairman of the North Caucasus Muslim Coordinating Center, told the radio station Govorit Moskva that female circumcision is a healthy, “purely Dagestani custom.”

“As far as I know,” Berdiev explained on air, “it’s done to calm a woman’s zeal somewhat. There’s absolutely no health problem here.”

Berdiev was responding to a new report by the organization “Legal Initiative,” which found that female circumcision is practiced in the certain areas of Dagestan, one of Russia’s predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus. Legal Initiative found cases in remote villages where girls under the age of three (and sometimes as old as 11) were circumcised.

The ritual—removing all or part of the clitoris and sometimes the labia—is carried out of reduce sexual sensitivity, in order to “prepare” women for their role as wife in a patriarchal family. The surgery is conducted at home by a religious figure….


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