Watch this heartbreaking video by the Iranian Kurdish singer Chiman Rahmani. Female Genital Mutilation is still practiced on girls in Iran today. It is prevalent in the Southern province of Hormozkhan and in the Western provinces Kurdistan, Kermansheh and some areas of Western Azherbaidshan. Official statistics report thousands of cases of child marriage. Chiman Rahmani is herself from Kermansheh:
Archiv für die Kategorie ‘FGM’
AI-Monitor über die anti-FGM Kampagne in Irakisch-Kurdistan:
In the case of FGM, the Iraqi-German nongovernmental organization WADI estimates that around 72% of adult women in Iraqi Kurdistan have undergone the operation.
But among girls aged 6 to 10, the rate has dropped to close to zero in some parts of Kurdistan, such as Halabja and Garmiyan, and decreased by half in other places such as Raniya. The usual age for the practice is between ages 4 and 8, according to WADI.
Researchers and activists such as Taha are quick to point out that the existing anti-domestic violence law in Kurdistan, passed in 2011, is likely to be the first of its kind in Asia to address FGM.
The draft allows girls subjected to FGM to file lawsuits against the perpetrator and those who forced them to undergo the operation. If the girl is a minor, she can file a lawsuit through a trustee.
Findings from a recent study done in Iraqi-Kurdistan about FGM:
With the recent advocacy and awareness campaigns in the region many people have become more aware of the health concerns related to FGM. However, rejecting a practice that is deeply embedded in the roots of the society cannot be simply achieved by recognizing its harms. The women with this viewpoint were very well educated, were originally from urban areas and were from the middle to high socioeconomic class.
The consensus perspective, “marital role”, centers primarily on lack of effect of FGM on women’s marital role and maturity. In several societies where FGM is practiced, a girl can’t be considered an adult/women until she has FGM and hence a girl cannot marry without going through FGM. However, this notion does not seem to be an important reason for performing FGM in IKR.
In fact, some important efforts have been made to fight FMG in IKR. The reports of high prevalence of FGM in 2007 resulted in launching the campaign of “Stop FGM in Kurdistan” by a number of civil society organizations and women’s rights groups to abandon this practice. Such effort resulted in passing the Domestic Violence Bill in June 2011, which includes several provisions criminalizing FGM in IKR.
The regional government established a supreme council for women’s affairs to oversee and coordinate activities and a special police directorate responsible to combat all types of gender-based violence including FGM. Many civil society organizations are working with communities and religious leaders to reduce the practice of FGM.
Finally, I hope that the findings of our study and other similar studies can add to these efforts through providing more insight into this problem and helping in guiding the efforts to fight FGM in IKR.
VICE reports how FGM is spreading in Malaysia due to to current Islamization of the the country:
“I’m circumcised because it is required by Islam,” she says. The Malay word she uses is wajib, meaning any religious duty commanded by Allah. Syahiera is aware of how female circumcision is perceived in the West, but rejects any notion that it’s inhumane. “I don’t think the way we do it here is harmful,” she says. “It protects young girls from premarital sex as it is supposed to lower their sex drive. But I am not sure it always works.”(…)
Regardless of how cruel FGM is, the majority of Muslim women in Malaysia are, like Syahiera, circumcised. A 2012 study conducted by Dr. Maznah Dahlui, an associate professor at the University of Malaya’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, found that 93 percent of Muslim women surveyed had been circumcised. Dahlui also discovered that the procedure is increasingly performed by trained medical professionals in private clinics, instead of by traditional circumcision practitioners called Ma Bidans.(…)
Malaysian medical practitioners also defend the practice by passing judgment onto other countries. “We are very much against what is going on in other countries like Sudan,” said Dr. Ariza Mohamed, an obstetrician and gynecologist at KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. “That is very different from what we practice in Malaysia,” she added. “And there is a big difference between circumcision and female genital mutilation.”
Last year, Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, director in Iraq of a German-based charity, WADI—the Association for Crisis Assistance and Development Cooperation—said in an interview that FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan had declined dramatically, and that measurable success in stopping FGM there could be credited to the political change that began in 1991. “Saddam Hussein lost power here back in 1991. There is a relative degree of freedom,” von der Osten-Sacken said. That freedom—and other achievements by the Iraqi Kurds—were made possible, as should be recognized, by the decision of President George H.W. Bush to impose a “no-fly zone” over Iraqi Kurdistan.
By contrast, “the existence of FGM in Iran is a well-kept secret,” according to the organization Stop FGM Middle East. On November 25, 2014, Radio Farda, the U.S.-backed Farsi-language broadcast directed to Iran, aired a 30-minute documentary on FGM under the rule of the Islamic Republic. Translated by Stop FGM Middle East, the transcript revealed yet another cruel feature of Iranian life, reinforced by the hypocrisy of the ruling clerics.
Radio Farda noted that in 2014 Iran was added, for the first time, to the global list of countries in which FGM is present. The media agency interviewed Iranian researcher Rayeyeh Mozafarian, of the University of Shiraz, who accumulated interviews on FGM between 2007 and 2009. She stated, “FGM is carried out in private houses by midwives and not by surgeons in hospitals.” FGM goes unmentioned in Iranian law, which does criminalize mutilation of the body. But Mozafarian determined, “Despite the practice being liable to prosecution, practically nobody is charged. . . . No victim files charges against her own parents.”
On November 13th 2014, the Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women Organisation (KMEWO) held an event to promote their campaign titled ‘The Campaign: Stop FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan’. The event was held in correspondence with their annual general meeting, as KMEWO sought to bring together an array of people to discuss FGC in Iraqi Kurdistan. (…)
Vortrag und Diskussion mit Arvid Vormann (Wadi e.V.)
Freitag, 28. November 2014 ab 18:30 Uhr
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hörsaal 2002
[Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin]
Weibliche Genitalverstümmelung (FGM) ist auch außerhalb Afrikas weit verbreitet, namentlich im Mittleren und Fernen Osten. Diese Tatsache ist noch immer wenig bekannt und wird noch weniger diskutiert, was auch daran liegen mag, dass hier kaum Anknüpfungspunkte für kulturalistische Narrative auszumachen sind. Auch lässt sich das Thema nicht sinnvoll behandeln, ohne die Rolle des Islam ausgiebig zu beleuchten – ein im Orient wie im Westen gern vermiedenes Unterfangen.
Im Kampf gegen FGM nimmt Irakisch-Kurdistan eine Leuchtturmfunktion ein. Über das einstige Tabu wird heute in den Medien offen gestritten, das Regionalparlament hat ein sehr weit gehendes Gesetz gegen häusliche Gewalt, einschließlich FGM, verabschiedet, dessen Umsetzung allerdings in weiten Teilen auf sich warten lässt, und glücklicherweise nimmt die Genitalverstümmelungsrate derweil kontinuierlich ab.
Arvid Vormann von der Organisation Wadi, die seit 20 Jahren vor Ort tätig ist, wird nachzeichnen, wie es zu dieser Entwicklung kam und wie sich die Situation heute, auch angesichts der Bedrohung durch ISIS, darstellt. Zudem wird er auf die von Wadi, neuerdings im Verbund mit UNICEF, angewandte Strategie im Kampf gegen FGM eingehen. Einleitend werden wir den halbstündigen Dokumentarfilm »Eine Handvoll Asche« zeigen.
Weibliche Genitalverstümmelung demnächst erlaubt in Deutschland? – Wadi warnt vor Vorschlag beim JuristentagSamstag, 13. September 2014
Seit einiger Zeit ist der Versuch zu beobachten, bestimmte – angeblich „harmlose“ Formen weiblicher Beschneidung umzudefinieren, so dass sie nicht mehr als „Verstümmelung“ gelten sollen – und entsprechend nicht unter die Definitionen der UN oder der WHO fallen. Federführend bei diesen Versuchen waren bisher vor allem bestimmte Kreise muslimischer Kleriker, etwa in Indonesien, die weibliche „Beschneidung“ als religiös geboten ansehen. Dabei wird immer wieder auf angebliche Formen bloß „symbolischer“ Beschneidung verwiesen (etwa „Pricking“, das kann der Einstich mit einer Nadel sein), oder auf die im muslimischen Kontext „Sunnat“ genannte Beschneidung der Vorhaut der Klitoris, die mit der Bescheidung von Jungen verglichen wird.
Das ist die Beschneidungsform, die auch Tatjana Hörnle anspricht. Doch ist diese Form der weiblichen Beschneidung keineswegs harmlos. Fraglich ist auch, inwieweit sie in der Praxis überhaupt existiert und nicht nur das Einfallstor für weitergehende Verstümmelungsformen darstellt.
The majority of people in Iraqi Kurdistan think female genital mutilation (FGM) should be eradicated and blame traditional beliefs for its continued practice.
In the first survey to investigate attitudes towards FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan, conducted by a coalition of UN agencies and the Kurdish regional government, 68% of people, including religious leaders, said the practice should be eliminated, and almost the same number said it should be banned as a tradition.
Excerpt from a report prepared by a Wadi mobile team operating in Garmyan (southern border area of the Kurdish Region):
In Garmyan district in Rzgary, the team explained the law and talked about FGM. One of the participants asked to help the team voluntarily in order to eradicate FGM in all the neighboring and far villages. In Rzgary, women know a lot about the side effects of FGM and about the law. They said that FGM is not practiced anymore and they were so glad about it. They knew what they have done to their daughters . A woman started weeping and said, “I know I am guilty and my daughter will never be happy with her life and especially her family”.
Women are so afraid in Kalar because of ISIS. They are frustrated after learning that ISIS tries to mutilate all the women and girls in any place under their control. However, some others are trying to mutilate themselves, so that when ISIS attacks they do not need to go through that procedure again. The team in Garmyan is doing whatever is possible to convince them that the situation is safe and mutilation is not a solution to change the situation.
Women in this area know a lot about the negative consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM) and FGM rates have dropped sharply because for many years Wadi has raised awareness there.
Although security situation is tense, life is continuing in Iraqi Kurdistan, and we still pursue our goal to make FGM a practice of the past.
We assembled seven members organizations for trainings on how to effectively raise awareness on FGM on the ground. In total 20 people are taking part, receiving lessons from lawyers, doctors, human rights activists, and those most experienced in the field: Wadi’s mobile team members.
All participants were extremely motivated and eager to learn about strategies to convince the people. This training is offered as part of the joint Wadi-UNICEF project to advance the elimination of FGM in Kurdistan.
Hannah Wettig, Koordinatorin von Wadis Stop FGM Mideast Kampagne, in der Welt über den Islamischen Staat und FGM:
Vergangene Woche berichtete “Spiegel online”, die Vereinten Nationen (UN) hätten sich mit einer Falschmeldung blamiert. Die militant islamistische Gruppe Islamischer Staat (IS), vormals Isis, habe nicht die genitale Verstümmelung aller Mädchen und Frauen im irakischen Mosul befohlen. Das hatte zuvor die humanitäre Koordinatorin der UN im Irak, Jacqueline Badcock, behauptet.
Doch die Falschmeldung ist womöglich nicht so falsch wie behauptet. Badcock bezog sich auf ein im Internet kursierendes religiöses Gutachten (Fatwa). Dabei handelte es sich nicht um einen Befehl und der Ausstellungsort war nicht Mosul. Doch die Behauptung, das Gutachten widerspreche dem von IS vertretenen salafistischen Islam, ist falsch.
For the first time ever Iranian activists published a report based on interviews and data collections proving that Female Genital Mutilation is much more widespread in Iran than previously assumed. According to interviews done in several provinces in Northern Iran far more than 50% of females in these regions are mutilated.
The supposedly hoax fatwa by ISIS circulating in Social Media is a very mainstream fatwa about FGM. Who ever wrote it knows the hadith (sayings of the prophet) which most clerics use when defending “female circumcision”. Contrary to general perception mainstream Islam is not opposed to this practice. There are small groups like the Ahmadiyya which oppose it fiercly, there are individual prominent clerics who oppose it and there are regions where it was not ever practiced like in the Maghreb. However, most law schools say it is Sunnah, sometimes meaning it is a good thing but not obligatory, sometimes meaning it was done in the times of the prophet and not prohibited by him, therefore people are allowed to practice it. Mainstream Islam views it as a private matter leaving it to the parents. However, one law school, the Shafa’i, say it must be done. The fatwa in question reads like a Shafa’i fatwa. It seems quite plausible that IS would make this interpretation their own as they tend to always pick the most extreme interpretation of an issue.
The Guardian should know better
Shortly after a Fatwa was widely distributed ordering all girls and women to be mutilated in territories controlled by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) some doubts arose this document could be a hoax. Very fast international media took that claim, although no high rank member of IS denied the existence of this Fatwa so far and in Iraq Human Rights organisations and Women Activists believe IS is going to forcibly mutilate girls and women in the near future.
Although the evidence against the authenticity of this Fatwa is weak, Ian Black and Fazel Hawramy are claiming in the Guardian “that FGM is not required by Islam and is not prevalent in Iraq. It is most widespread in Egypt, Sudan and east Africa”.
Well, FGM is – and the Guardian should know better – prevalent in Iraq, the Guardian in 2013 even started its own anti-FGM campaign with a film about this practice in Iraqi-Kurdistan and recent studies show, that mutialtion is also practiced in other parts of the country such as Kirkuk and Southern Iraq.
It should be known by now that at least one Islamic Law school considers Circumcision for Girls obligatorywhile Salafis and radical Islamists do promote this practice as religious duty. Egyptian Cleric Wajdi Ghoneim is only one of many examples.
Recently the Islamic state issued a fatwa which called female genital mutilation a religious duty for every woman and girl living within the caliphate’s boundaries.
It is telling that this is one of their first worries when establishing their terror reign… The existence of this “state” is a shame for whole mankind, and every day is a day too much.
This is a translation of the Fatwa:
One in four women in Central and Southern Iraq is affected by Female Genital Mutilation, new study suggestsMontag, 14. Juli 2014
The study was conducted in early 2014 in cooperation between physicians, women’s rights and civil society organizations. The researchers’ identities remain undisclosed due to securitiy concerns.
500 women in Wasit province and 500 women in Qadisyiah province were sampled for the study. The data collected suggests that most women are subjected to FGM in childhood, especially before the age of 10. The most often cited reasons for the practice are religious belief, cultural heritage and tradition; it is most commonly performed by a nurse or a midwife.
In light of the challenging security situation and social circumstances under which the study was conducted, the results are to be taken as preliminary indicators urgently demanding further research. Data presented by UNICEF last year suggested that FGM is almost inexistent in southern and central Iraq. The new findings cast considerable doubt on this conclusion and are calling for further thorough investigations.
For ten years, Hivos partner WADI has been campaigning against female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iraqi Kurdistan. Director Thomas von der Osten-Sacken finds that communities are slowly but surely turning away from this degrading tradition.
The Iraqi-German human rights organisation WADI first came upon the harrowing consequences of FGM in the Kurdish Autonomous Region through its mobile teams. “At that time, it was thought that FGM barely existed in Iraq. FGM was seen as an ‘African problem’,” says von der Osten-Sacken. “Right now in publications people talk of about 140 to 160 million women who have been genitally mutilated worldwide. But Indonesia – the country with the largest Muslim population in the world – is not included, and it is estimated that about 80 percent of women are circumcised there. If you add Iraq, Iran, Oman, Yemen and Malaysia, you come to the conclusion that the number of victims of FGM is probably twice as high.”