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Lesuth

http://www.religioustolerance.org/fem_cirm.htm

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FGM is a social custom, not a religious practice. However, in those Muslim countries where it is practice, FGM is often justified by a controversial saying attributed to the Prophet Mohammed that seem to favor sunna circumcision. The authenticity of these sayings are unconfirmed, and some scholars have refuted them. Even if true, they only permit the practice; they do not mandate it.

FGM has probably been performed for at least 1,400 years (some references estimate 2,000 years), and started during what Muslims call "al-gahiliyyah" (the era of ignorance). The Qu'r'an, Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and Christian Scriptures (New Testament) is silent on the subject. The Sunnah (the words and actions of the Prophet Mohammed) contains a reference to female circumcision.

According to the Muslim Women's League:

"Those who advocate for FGM from an Islamic perspective commonly quote the following hadith to argue that it is required as part of the Sunnah or Tradition of the Prophet:

'Um Atiyyat al-Ansariyyah said: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (pbuh) said to her: Do not cut too severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband'." 1,8


One interpretation of this passage is that the woman was going to proceed with the circumcision anyway; Muhammad suggested that she remove a smaller amount of her genitalia than she had perhaps intended to.

This passage is regarded by many Muslims as having little credibility or authenticity. The Muslim Women's League comments: "According to Sayyid Sabiq, renowned scholar and author of Fiqh-us-Sunnah, all hadiths concerning female circumcision are non-authentic." 1 An extensive analysis of classical Muslim authors is available online. 2

Many Muslims see passages in the Qur'an which, by implication, oppose FGM. they reason:

God apparently created the clitoris for the sole purpose of generating pleasure. It has no other purpose. There is no instruction in the Qur'an or in the writings of the Prophet Mohammed which require that the clitoris be surgically modified. Thus God must approve of its presence. And so, it should not be removed or reduced in size or function.
The Qur'an promotes the concept of a husband and wife giving each other pleasure during sexual intercourse. For example: "It is lawful for you to go in unto your wives during the night preceding the (day's) fast: they are as a garment for you and you are as a garment for them." (2:187)
"...and He has put love and mercy between you." (30:21)


Mutilated genitalia reduce or eliminate a woman's pleasure during the act.

The Qur'an (An-Nisa': 119) states that Satan will try to trick humans into body modification: "And I will surely lead them astray, and arouse desires in them, and command them and they will cut the cattle's ears, and I will surely command them and they will change Allah's creation." This might be interpreted as forbidding FGM as well as tattoos, piercing and any other modification that alters the design of the human body as Allah created it.

Nawal El-Saadawi, a Muslim victim of infibulation, stated:

"The importance given to virginity and an intact hymen in these societies is the reason why female circumcision still remains a very widespread practice despite a growing tendency, especially in urban Egypt, to do away with it as something outdated and harmful. Behind circumcision lies the belief that, by removing parts of girls' external genitals organs, sexual desire is minimized. This permits a female who has reached the dangerous age of puberty and adolescence to protect her virginity, and therefore her honor, with greater ease. Chastity was imposed on male attendants in the female harem by castration which turned them into inoffensive eunuchs. Similarly female circumcision is meant to preserve the chastity of young girls by reducing their desire for sexual intercourse." 3

Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, head of the al-Azhar Islamic Institute has stated that the practice is un-Islamic. The Health Minister of Egypt, Ismail Sallam, announced the ban on FGM in 1996-JUL. This was upheld by a junior administrative court in Cairo.

Sheik Youssef Badri, a Muslim fundamentalist, took the health minister to court. In 1997-JUN, an Egyptian court overturned the country's ban on FGM. Eight Muslim scholars and doctors had testified that the ban exceeded the government's authority and violated the legal rights of the medical profession. Sheik Youssef Badri commented: "[Female] circumcision is Islamic; the court has said that the ban violated religious law. There's nothing which says circumcision is a crime, but the Egyptians came along and said that Islam is a crime." About 1997-JUL-6, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel interviewed Sheik Badri. He claimed that many Muslim women are pleased with this victory of Islam over its enemies. When it was pointed out to him that parents in Morocco and Algeria do not practice FGM, he replied that the clitoris in Egyptian girls was larger than in those countries and had to be cut back to a normal size. He quoted a French study which showed that circumcised girls are less likely to catch AIDS. * He believes that the United States is spreading misinformation on the health risks of FGM.

* Author's note: This may be true; victims of FGM are probably less likely to be sexually active.

The government appealed the case to Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court. They ruled that the operation is not required by Islam, and that "female circumcision is not a personal right according to the rules of Islamic Sharia (law)." Thus, FGM is subject to Egyptian law. They prohibited the procedure, even if it is done with the agreement of the child and her parents. However, gynecologists will be able to approve the surgery if it is needed for health reasons.

Fatwas are published opinions by Muslim religious scholars. They are non-binding in law. But Muslim believers are expected to follow them. In Egypt, a number of Fatwas have been issued by the influential Egyptian Fatwa Committee on FGM:

1949-MAY-28: They decided that it is not a sin to reject female circumcision.
1951-JUN-23: They stated that female circumcision is desirable because it curbs "nature" (i.e. sexual drive among women). It stated that medical concerns over the practice are irrelevant.
1981-JAN-29: The Great Sheikh of Al-Azhar (the most famous University of the Islamic World) stated that parents must follow the lessons of Mohammed and not listen to medical authorities because the latter often change their minds. Parents must do their duty and have their daughters circumcised.

*** MY SAY ON THIS : it is barbaric and unhealthy... yet i can understand why its done from a religious point of view..
i personally.. (having a vagina and all ) would NOT permit this to me performed on me... Females that get this done risk getting infections.. and possibly excesive loss of blood. I at the moment am trying to inform myself more on this so that way i could help with the prevention of this and involve the consulates and possibly aid the activists where this mutilation is performed. I can not believe this is happening to other women in the world.

LETS MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
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