Today, 6 February is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. On this day every year, the world stands up with urgency, power, and energy for the rights of girls and women against FGM.
Female Genital Mutilation - FGM is a violation of human rights of girls and women. It does no benefit to the females as the people who calls for it claims. In this blog post, we are having a closer look at FGM. What is it? What sort of damage it does cause? Is it truly a religious act as some claim? and How to prevent such shameful, harmful act?
What is Female Genital Mutilation - FGM?
The term FGM refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons. Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
Families who drag their girls/women to undergo these procedures believe strongly that this act will help them avoid social stigma. Whether it is a religious misinterpretation, cultural belief, a sought-after social acceptance; the female is the only figure who is left with physical, psychological, and social consequences. According to UNFPA the following can be caused after any FGM procedure:
- Severe bleeding.
- Problems urinating.
- Later cysts.
- Infertility as well as complications in childbirth.
- Increased risk of newborn deaths.
- At some cases, unfortunately, senseless deaths.
Religious Views on FGM
The role of religious discourse could be the most powerful in a world where religious misinterpretations is widespread.
Unacceptable, Unjustifiable, Forbidden!
This is how religions view FGM.
"Dār al- Iftāʾ convened an international conference in November 2006 on the topic of female genital mutilation (FGM). Participants included scientists, scholars of Islamic law, specialist researchers on the topic, and activists from civil rights organizations in Egypt and around the world. Upon hearing an array of presentations from across the spectrum, the conference concluded that the mutilation practiced in some parts of Egypt, Africa and elsewhere today represents a deplorable custom which finds no justification in the authoritative sources of Islam, the Qur’an and the practice of the Prophet Muhammad" - Dar-alifta.org
"In 2007, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa’s issued a 'Fatwa' condemning FGM and the Azhar Supreme Council for Islamic Research issued a statement explaining that FGM has no basis in the core Islamic Sharia or any of its partial provisions." - UNFPA
The Bible also does not mention FGM. Christian authorities agree that the practice has no foundation in Christianity's religious texts, and Christian missionaries in Africa were at the forefront of efforts to stop it.
Female Genital Mutilation in Egypt...
On the 31st of January 2020, Egypt woke up on the horrible news of losing a young girl named Nada AbdelMaksoud for FGM procedure. The 12-year-old underwent a FGM procedure as her family pushed her to do so in a private clinic by a retired doctor.
Nada, was not the first case to face senseless death in Egypt because of FGM. In 2007, Budoor Shaker also bled to death. And another 17-year-old who passed away im 2016. And others who we haven't heard about.
In 2008, Egypt outlawed the act. And in 2016 it was upgraded to a felony; the updated law was strengthened and penalties were harshened. It mandates jail sentences of up to 7 years for those who carry out the procedure and up to 3 years for anyone requesting it.
We were saddened to know that Egypt has one of the highest rates of FGM in the world. With 87% of girls and women between the ages of 15 & 49 having undergone the surgery and a large number of them were done by doctors! - 2016 Survey by UNICEF.
At least 200 million women have been subjected to FGM according to UNICEF as it is prevalent in 30 countries - concentrated mainly in Africa and the Middle East.
We are deeply saddened by the recent tragic death of Nada AbdelMaskoud and the other young girls who were forced to undergo such operations. May all the beautiful, pure souls rest in peace. The world is changing, the voices against the act are getting louder and so we hope. There are hopes by the UN to eradicate the practice by 2030. We call for the maximum punishment for the perpetrators as we stand up for the rights of girls and women wherever they are.