for Crisis Assistance and Development Co-operation
about Female Genital Mutilation in Kurdish Newspaper
independent Kurdish Newspaper Hawlati published
recently some articles debating Female Genital Mutilation in
Iraqi-Kurdistan. This debate shows that a taboo was broken and now
people do publicly criticize and defend this practice, which was before
done secretly. Here are some excerpts of this highly interesting debate.
August 28th, 2008, Falah Muradkhin, the co-ordinator of Wadi in Iraq,
published an article summarizing the various findings of WADI’s
research and activities.
He writes in the article
titled: “In Iraqi Kurdistan 62% of women female are mutilated”:
According to WADI’s statistics in 201
villages 3502 of 5628 women and girls in Iraqi Kurdistan were
mutilated. Wadi interviewed women in Dohok, Sulaimanyah, Arbil, Garmyan
and part of Kirkuk Governorate.
psychologically and from a human rights’ point of view, FGM is one of
the main forms of violence against women. It is true that FGM existed
before Islam, but at present FGM is a major problem in most of Islamic
societies, a fact that has not been recognized yet. Most Islamic
countries are not on the map of regions practising FGM because their
governments deny it.
Before WADI started this wide
campaign, FGM had not been discussed in Iraqi Kurdistan, thus
initiating this campaign meant taking a serious risk. Last year WADI
started a media campaign and collected signatures to lobby for a law
against FGM. It also organized various Radio and TV programs.
2007, WADI started a scientific research about FGM in 198 places in
Iraqi Kurdistan. Questionnaires were distributed by 6 mobile female
teams. 1836 questionnaires were filled out and are now being analyzed.
campaign was accepted by the parliament and 68 parliamentarians signed
the draft of the law which was supported by WADI. The campaign has a
special internet site (www.stopfgmkurdistan.org).
the whole article in Kurdish
Muradkhin got support from the General Secretary of the Islamic Women
Union Mrs. Bekhal Abu Bakr, who published an article in the next
edition of Hawlati, strongly making the point, that FGM is not an
Islamic practice. “Islam is against FGM”:
problems are mainly the result of bad traditions the religion is not
responsible for. The clean law of Sharia of Islam is far from problems
like forced marriage and other forms of oppression of women. Problems
like female genital mutilation or polygamy mainly exist because some
people interpret the quran in a different and false way.
is a pity that some people do not have enough information about the
religion of Islam and as a consequence declare that Islam would not
guarantee equal rights for women. But according to our knowledge Islam
considers male and female as equals who complete each other.
also did scientific religious researches about the problem of FGM and
we are fully aware of its bad effects. Therefore, we also prepared a
draft for a law banning it in Kurdistan and submitted it to the
See the whole article here in Kurdish [pdf]
articles deeply upset one of the leading Islamic clerics in Northern
Iraq, Mr Bawke Hareth. In response he published an article, strongly
defending Female Genital Mutilation as an Islamic practice. In this
article “Islam is with Circumcision” the cleric rejects even the
positions laid down by an Al Azhar University fatwa, banning FGM:
was surprised when I read that one of the Islamic sisters mentioned
that Islam is opposing FGM and polygamy! I will answer her because her
statements are against Islam and against the way we want our society to
Our prophet Mohammad (God bless him) said: You
need to do the following things: circumcision, cutting your nails and
This Hadith is accepted by the
majority of Muslims. Once upon a time a non-believer converted to Islam
and Muhamad asked him immediately to circumcise himself. We belong to
the Abrahamite family and circumcision is approved by Abraham and he
was even 80 years old when he circumcised himself.
is no difference between males and females and both are asked by their
God to circumcise and there many articles in Quran prove this.
in Hadith number 1261 and 722, you find many evidence that Islam
supports circumcision of girls.
The whole article in
September Falah Murakhin answered this cleric in another article:
Ranya region out of a total of 1733 women 1645 were mutilated. In some
areas of Iraqi Kurdistan the rate of FGM is even higher than in some of
It is a shame that the rate of
FGM in some areas of Iraqi Kurdistan is higher than in African
countries and the Kurdish government is not able to react accordingly.
Although we published detailed evidence and data about this problem,
many officials and people still keep silent. And then we read in
Hawlati newspaper the article of cleric Bawke Hareth, who openly calls
to continue practicing FGM in Kurdistan. Other Islamic mullahs issued
fatwas to show that FGM is not a problem of Islam like the fatwa from
Al Azhar University from November 2006 (the newspaper published a copy
of this fatwa). The difference between them and Bawki Harth is that he
admits openly that FGM is not only connected to Islam but required by
This is why we ask the Kurdish parliament and
government to react fast. The problem of FGM in Kurdistan is now widely
known, the data is published in the international press and most of
international NGOs are aware of this problem and it is useless to try
to continue hiding it.
From our side, as always we
participate in publishing data about this problem because we want
everybody to know about it. Therefore we now publish in this
article new data, which our team members collected in Ranya region in
25 secondary girl-schools. Out of 1733 they spoke with, 1645 (!) were
mutilated. This number is higher than the rate of FGM in some African
countries. But the difference between us and them is that they fight
FGM by issuing laws and with support of international organizations.”
The whole article in Kurdish
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