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.
Archiv für die Kategorie ‘FGM’
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.”
Hannah Wettig, the coordinator of Stop FGM Middle East, a joint project of Wadi and Hivos, held a lecture at Bold Talks Women Dubai on May 31, 2014:
Participants of the 2nd Conference against FGM in the Middle East and Asia say: Stop FGM!
On May 7th to 10th the Second Middle East & Asia Conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was held in Istanbul where more than thirty activists and researchers from Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia and India met as well as representatives from UNICEF Iraq, Orchid Project (England) and Terre des Femmes (Germany). It was the second such conference organized by the German-Iraqi NGOs WADI and the Dutch NGO Hivos.
For the longest time FGM was regarded as an African problem, based on the African continent with some prevalence in neighboring countries like Yemen. This mantra was overcome only recently when WADI strated raising conscious, that FGM is also widespread in a Middle Eastern country like Iraq. In January 2012, the first conference on FGM in the Middle East was held in Beirut. In the last two years the STOP FGM Middle East Project by WADI and Hivos collected further evidence, that countries like Oman, Malaysia and Indonesia have a significant high prevalence rate of FGM. Therefore, this second conference widened the scope from the Middle East to South East Asia.
Irfan Al-Allawi writes for Gatestone Institute about the efforts to fight FGM in Islamic Countries with examples from Iraq, Oman and Iran quoting activists who were also present on the Second Middle East Conference on Female Genital Mutilation WADI and Hivos jointly have organized in Istanbul:
Although FGM is associated often with Islam, it is found commonly in non-Muslim areas of Africa and among immigrants to the West from that region. Muslims should take the initiative in opposing FGM; campaigns against this violation of women’s rights are underway already in several Muslim lands.
The best known such effort has taken place in Iraqi Kurdistan. In a recent interview, Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, who is affiliated with WADI, an Iraqi-German organization supporting human rights and civil society in the Middle East, described the beginning of the Kurdistan campaign. Von der Osten-Sacken recounted, “Following the toppling of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, mobile teams we organized [went to] various Kurdish villages and towns to offer medical services. One year later, women started approaching the team members about having been cut… It was a taboo to discuss but… we started helping women in 35 villages.” The Kurdistan anti-FGM movement gained attention in media.
In 2011, the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq made FGM a crime, and interviewer Heidi Basch-Harod states that FGM “in Iraqi Kurdistan has significantly decreased, from 90 percent to zero percent in some areas. Nevertheless, the practice has not disappeared.”
The conference will tackle two myths about Female Genital Mutilation. It is commonly believed that FGM is mainly practiced in Africa and that it has no religious grounds. Both claims are not true.
FGM is practiced widely in Asia: In Middle Eastern countries such as Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Iran, but also in Southeast Asia: in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, India and the Maledives.
New study from South Iraq
We have invited the most prominent Anti-FGM activists from Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia to present new studies about the prevalence of FGM in their countries and talk about their struggle against the cruel practice which much more than 140 million girls and women have fallen victim to worldwide. Highlights will be three new studies, which have not been presented before: from Southern Iraq, from Iran and from Oman. For South Iraq it is the first study ever on FGM.
A doctor will stand trial for the first time in Egypt on charges of female genital mutilation, after a 13-year-old girl died following an alleged operation in his clinic last year.
In a landmark case, Dr Raslan Fadl is the first doctor to be prosecuted for FGM in Egypt, where the practice was banned in 2008, but is still widely accepted and carried out by many doctors in private.
Sohair al-Bata’a died in Fadl’s care in June 2013, and her family admitted that she had been victim to an FGM operation carried out at their request.
Dass FGM mit Islam nicht zu tun habe, hört und liest man ständig. Nur leider stimmen viele muslimische Kleriker dieser Einschätzung so gar nicht zu. Auch nicht dieser Herr von den Malediven:
A fatwa has been issued by an influential Islamic scholar here, citing specific hadith or sayings of the Prophet Mohammed.
FGM is one of the five things that are part of fitrah, or nature, says the fatwa by Dr. Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef, Vice President of the Fiqh Academy of the Maldives, posted on www.mvislamqa.com, a website which seeks to ‘convey the true message of Islam.’
The other four things are: ‘shaving the pubes, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and plucking the armpit hairs,’ writes Latheef, who is also a candidate of the Adhaalath Party, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, for the upcoming parliamentary elections in the South Asian archipelago.
Latheef quotes a hadith of the collection by Prophet Mohammed’s wife, Aisha, as saying, ‘A bath becomes obligatory if one sleeps with your wife and the circumcised parts touch each other.’
The cleric concludes: ‘The word circumcision has been applied to both men and women here. The hadith demonstrates that women must be circumcised as well.’
The gender researcher Rayeheh Mozafarian has tackled the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iran in a new scientific study. Sie demands an open discussion about the problem to stop the practice.
Rayeyeh Mozafarian who is working at the University of Schiraz conducted interviews about FGM in several Iranian provinces between 2007 and 2009. Yet, only recently was she permitted to publish her study after waiting for five years. According to her research 70 percent of female circumcisions are taking place in the provinces Kurdistan, West Aserbaidschan, Kermanshah, Ilam, Lorestan and Hormozgan. The practice can be found among both Shia and Sunni Muslims.
With support from the US consulate in Erbil, WADI implemented a three-months project to support the implementation of law No. 8 which outlaws violence against women in the Kurdish Region of Iraq.
During the project two publications and a special calendar were produced which aimed at introducing the law to the public. In the first publication the text of the law against domestic violence was printed with 4000 copies in the three languages Kurdish, Arabic & English. The second publication is a guide for Stopping FGM with 3000 copies printed. And the last one is 2000 copies of a calendar designed and carved by the famous Kurdish artist Rostam Aghala. These publications were distributed in the 12 seminars and many other events in the Kurdish region.
In a second step of the project 12 meetings were held in different regions of KRG focusing on the three areas Halabja, Ranya and Garmyan. The aim of these meetings was to make the domestic violence law known and to spread awareness among people. In discussions people shared their thoughts about the law and how they will deal with it. In total 388 people participated in the meeting, 326 women and 62 men.
In the region of Garmyan region, the Director of the department for domestic violence Ms. Lameea and the local NGO-network NBO could be won to participate in organizing four seminars.
This project got huge media interest and during the project six satellite channels, four radios and two newspapers covered the activities.
On February 6th, the eleventh international Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, a number of media outlets have picked up on the topic of Female Genital Mutilation in Asia. Many non-governmental und international organizations tackling FGM, including the World Health Organization, still don’t mention the existence of FGM in many Asian countries. Breaking the silence is a first step to saving millions of girls in these countries from being mutilated. WADI and Hivos stressed this in their press declaration on this year’s February 6th. Therefore, we are happy that many journalists have now brought out this message. In several cases Stop FGM Middle East and WADI were able to provide information.
De Vokskrant, the largest newspaper of the Netherlands also reported on the work of Wadi in Iraqi Kurdistan on February sixth. On February 7th, they ran a long story on FGM in Indonesia, underlining the importance to stop ignoring the brutal tradition in Asia.
Y-Magazin, an Omani English language culture and lifestyle magazine, ran a large feature article on FGM in Oman quoting the activist Habiba al Hinai, presenting her study and mentioning Stop FGM Middle East mission in Oman.
The Iraqi Kurdish channel KNN interviewed Wadi’s women project coordinator Souaad Abdelrahman in Suleymania. And the Kirkuk Torture Center published a declaration condemning FGM.
By HIVOS and WADI; The Hague, Suleimania 5 February, 2014.
On the fourth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice is far from being eradicated. While the numbers of mutilated girls are decreasing in Africa after decades of concerted efforts, large regions where FGM is practiced are entirely neglected in this worldwide battle. This is particularly true for Asia. The practice is widespread in Indonesia and Malaysia, it exists in Iran, Iraq, and Jordan. In several countries of the Arabian peninsula FGM is practiced by relevant parts of the population.
These countries need to make an effort to fight FGM among their population. We also call upon Indonesia and Malaysia, where the practice is legally carried out in hospitals, to ban FGM and initiate a strong campaign against it. In some Arab countries and Iran the practice is not legal in hospitals, yet governments shy away from tackling the issue. As a first step reliable studies must be conducted and a campaign initiated. In some countries authorities must stop censuring voices that talk about FGM.
In Europe FGM deserves far more attention. The United Kingdom has seen an immense campaign this last year against the practice common among several migrant communities in Britain. France has taken some action. Yet, little to no campaigning has been seen in other European countries – even though migrant communities known to practice FGM are present in most European countries. It is more than likely that some have kept their tradition and practice FGM in their new homeland – just as has been found out for Britain. FGM can certainly not be viewed as a solely British problem. Governments and politicians all over Europe need to take initiative.
WADI conducted a couple of community dialogues about Female Genital Mutilation in Kurdistan. This project was supported and funded by UNICEF.
Last week one of the first discussions with men took place in Kalar. Without the support of men campaigns against FGM are only partly successful. Therefore Wadi is planning to hold many more of these meetings.
Now, after we visited Oman and spoke with a variety of people – activists against FGM, hospital personal, a cutter, journalists and proponents of the practice – we can be certain that FGM is widespread in Oman – and that the results of this study on adolescent women are credible. And not only that: It is probable that FGM is widespread all over the Gulf: From hearsay many Omanis are convinced that it is also widely practiced in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.