Archiv für die Kategorie ‘FGM’

FGM: Talking about numbers

Freitag, 05. Februar 2016

This was written by WADI in 2012, when still everyone was taling about 140Million girls, who are mutilated worldwide:

The number 140 million is currently the common official figure of women in the world that have undergone a procedure known as female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is defined by the World Health Organization as “partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. 140 million is a very large and deplorable number, yet today we must seriously begin to consider the possibility that the number of genitally mutilated women in the world is, in fact, much higher. How so? 140 million is the estimation primarily for Africa; but growing evidence suggests that FGM is not only an “African problem” – it may well be widespread in various parts of Asia – including the Middle East. Finding out more about the real measures of the practice beyond Africa should be on the agenda of the international bodies and campaigns against FGM in 2013 and in the years to come.

For years no one was listening, but thanks to the great work done by so many activists in Iraq, Iran, Oman, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and other countries even UNICEF has to admit now that their old numbers were inaccurate, although they just include Indonesia now, while still refusing to  acknowledge the widespread existence of FGM in other South Asian and Middle Eastern countries as well as in India, Pakistan and the Maldives:

The huge global scale of female genital mutilation has been revealed in disturbing new statistics, which show at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone ritual cutting, half of them living in just three countries.

The latest worldwide figures, compiled by Unicef, include nearly 70 million more girls and women than estimated in 2014 because of a raft of new data collected in Indonesia, one of the countries where FGM is most prevalent despite the practice being banned since 2006.

Under the Knife

Dienstag, 28. Juli 2015

Foreign Affairs Magazine about Wadi’s anti FGM campaign in Iraqi-Kurdistan:

A great case study comes from the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq, which is currently considered one of the world leaders in female genital mutilation eradication. Aid organizations there first discovered that the practice was occurring in 2003 as workers fanned out to the countryside in anticipation of a refugee crisis following the U.S. invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein. The refugees never came, but aid workers got an earful about what was happening to girls in the village.

Eight years later, in 2011, the Kurdish regional government passed law banning female genital mutilation. It was the result of an arduous, around the clock, and controversial campaign to push the politicians into action, led by WADI, a small Iraqi–German NGO. Along the way, activists faced death threats and had their personal reputations smeared. But they were ecstatic when they finally emerged victorious.

Yet today, four years after the law was passed, Kurdistan has yet to see the first person fined or jailed in connection with practicing female genital mutilation. “We fought so hard for the law, but as soon as it was passed, we realized that the fight had only begun,” Arvid Vormann, a program manager at WADI told me.

Even so, in some villages in the Kurdish region, mutilation is down by more than 40 percent, and nearly a dozen villages have officially adopted a label of “FGM-free” for several years now, a practice first started in Africa. Aid workers thus argue that the symbolism of the legislative victory was worth the effort, even if it is now clear that it was mostly the campaign itself—and not the legislation—that moved the needle.

Wadi-Newsletter Juli 2015

Dienstag, 30. Juni 2015

Liebe Freunde und Freundinnen von WADI,

seit fast 10 Jahren engagiert sich WADI gegen weibliche Genitalverstümmelung in Irakisch-Kurdistan. Seit drei Jahren haben wir mit unserer Kampagne Stop FGM Middle East gemeinsam mit Hivos den Kampf gegen diese Menschrechtsverletzung in anderen asiatischen Ländern aufgenommen.

Im Nachbarland Iran laufen inzwischen zahlreiche Aktivitäten. Laut einer aktuellen Studie sind in den Provinzen West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah and Hormozgan 40-60% der Frauen genital verstümmelt.

Wir haben die Veröffentlichung der Studie zum Anlass genommen, die UN aufzufordern, endlich Iran auf die Karte der von Genitalverstümmelung betroffenen Länder zu setzen.

Presseerklärung: FGM in Iran needs to be put on international agenda

Unsere Erklärung wurde von mehreren internationalen Medien aufgegriffen, die auch über einige einzigartige Projekte im Iran berichteten, etwa vom Weekly Standard: Confronting FGM in Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan



Im Irak konnten wir im vergangenen Jahr dank der Unterstützung von UNICEF Mitarbeiterinnen für sechs weitere Mobile Teams schulen.Diese Teams klären nun in allen Gebieten der autonomen Region Kurdistan über die Gefahren von weiblicher Genitalverstümmelung auf.

(mehr …)

Iranian singer about FGM and child marriage

Donnerstag, 28. Mai 2015

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:

‚This law is the first of its kind in Asia to address FGM

Montag, 27. April 2015

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.

The diversity of Kurdish women’s perspectives of female genital mutilation

Samstag, 14. März 2015

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.

FGM becoming more popular in Malaysia

Samstag, 21. Februar 2015

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.“

FGM in Iran

Mittwoch, 21. Januar 2015

Irfan al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz about FGM in Iran:

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.
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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.”

Event about FGM in Kurdistan

Montag, 22. Dezember 2014

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. (…)

FGC in Iraqi Kurdistan has long been a taboo, however a multitude of organisations have brought the issue into the public domain, which subsequently led to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and UNICEF’s involvement. In 2011, the Kurdistan Regional Government (the official ruling body of the predominantly Kurdish region of Northern Iraq) adopted a comprehensive law against FGC and many other forms of violence against women and children. Whilst this was a landmark bill, it is seldom implemented and therefore KMEWO is now focusing on the implementation of the law in Iraqi Kurdistan. The outline above was given as an introduction to the event, and was followed by the screening of the BBC documentary ‘A Handful of Ash’. (…)
The event then closed with the introduction of lunch (…) to discuss WADI’s work and future projects by Orchid and WADI. It was good to speak to Falah, and at the office he delved further into the challenges he faces as a researcher, a lawyer and a father in Iraqi Kurdistan through his active campaigning, and how this does not deter him from pursuing the dream of an FGC-free Iraqi Kurdistan state. However, despite the challenges of hostility, with Falah’s enthusiasm and effective community empowerment programmes we all believe an FGC-free Iraqi Kurdistan is absolutely possible.
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Die islamische Praxis der Genitalverstümmelung

Mittwoch, 26. November 2014

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 Juristentag

Samstag, 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.


Majority in Iraqi Kurdistan oppose female genital mutilation

Mittwoch, 10. September 2014
The Guardian about a recent study conducted in Iraqi-Kurdistan showing the success of the campaign against FGM in Kurdistan :

 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.

Women fear genital mutilation from ISIS

Dienstag, 02. September 2014

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.

Joint forces to combat FGM

Montag, 11. August 2014

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.

Genitalverstümmelung – Fatwa oder Falschmeldung?

Montag, 04. August 2014

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.

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New report: Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage in Iran

Mittwoch, 30. Juli 2014

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.

Read more

iran fgm report

FGM in Iraq: The hoax of a hoax?

Dienstag, 29. Juli 2014

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.

Read more on Stop FGM Mideast

Is the ISIS Fatwa demanding FGM a hoax?

Montag, 28. Juli 2014

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.



Islamic caliphate labels female genital mutilation obligatory

Dienstag, 22. Juli 2014

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:

For protecting our Islamic nation in Iraq and Syria, our land, and our people, we need to look after our women and their behavior while preventing them from the dreadful modern life they are surrounded with.
Abu Baker Al-Baghdady:
A rule to all of the Islamic nations, regions, and districts is to protect women as our Khalifa says and prophet says while the mother Aatyia was circumcising a woman, the prophet said, „Don’t get disappointed, that is good for your husband, and your face“.  In another story, the prophet saw the mother Hajer, who had been known as odalisque’s mutilated woman, and asked her whether she still practice her job or not, the mother Hajer answered with yes. Then she asked the prophet whether it is Haram or not and he answered her with being Halal and he can teach her how to do it. The prophet says, „it is brighter for the face, and luckier for the husband“. Meanwhile, the prophet says, „if you mutilate, do not exaggerate“.
Abu Harera gives another statement that the prophet says, „All Muslim women, accept circumcision but do not exaggerate on it“.  Therefore, this is a call for all women to get mutilated.


One in four women in Central and Southern Iraq is affected by Female Genital Mutilation, new study suggests

Montag, 14. Juli 2014
A first independent study on female genital mutilation in central/southern Iraq finds that 25% of the women in these regions were subjected to this practice.

 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.

  (mehr …)