whitewashes Islamic character of female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation is Islamic:

“Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64

Why is it obligatory? Because Muhammad is held to have said so:

“Abu al- Malih ibn Usama’s father relates that the Prophet said: ‘Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.’” — Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75

“Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: ‘Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.’” — Abu Dawud 41:5251

“Do not cut severely,” but not “Do not cut.”

That’s why it is so common around the world, and why it is certain to become increasingly common in the United States as well. But the imperative to exonerate Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings is so all-pervasive now that even a publication that presents itself as a humor magazine feels it necessary to go out of its way to assure readers that the practice has no basis in Islam, and that only greasy Islamophobes think otherwise.

Why Cracked’s editors and article author Saundra Sorenson thought this was in keeping with the mission of a “humor magazine” is not clear. But they do not mention these Islamic justifications for the practice, and they misrepresent its prevalence among non-Muslims. Non-Muslims only practice FGM in countries where there is a significant Muslim population and much contact between the Muslims and non-Muslims; its practice among non-Muslims is a product of Muslim cultural influence.

Cracked also goes out of its way to hit “Islamophobes” for opposing this practice, and does so in a particularly ham-fisted manner. It quotes Mariya Taher, a victim of FGM who has told her story, lamenting: “That’s something I didn’t realize — I was unintentionally contributing to adding fear, or to Islamophobia.”

Imagine the inverted moral calculus here: a victim of a barbaric procedure sanctioned by Islam regrets coming forward because her doing so has possibly made people think ill of Islam. For Cracked and Mariya Taher, the first and highest priority is to make sure that everyone thinks Islam is wonderful, no matter what suffering and pain it causes.

“And it’s never pleasant,” Sorenson complains, “to find that your testimony and mission have been taken out of context by the likes of Jihad Watch.”

Click on that link. It goes to a May 23 post, “Religious freedom defense planned in landmark Detroit FGM case,” by Christine Douglass-Williams. Mariya Taher is indeed mentioned in it, but not by Christine. Mariya’s “testimony and mission” appear only in the Detroit Free Press article upon which Christine is commenting.

But Cracked’s nasty little swipe at Jihad Watch, as baseless as it is, is also in keeping with standard journalistic practice nowadays: Job One is to make sure that no one thinks the slightest negative thought about Islam. Job Two is to smear and demonize anyone who dares to tell the truth about the Islamic character of practices such as FGM.

“It Happens Here: The Reality of Female Genital Mutilation,” by Saundra Sorenson,, July 31, 2017:

This April, two Detroit doctors were arrested on charges that they performed female genital mutilation — in this case, they were accused of cutting the clitoris or clitoral hood to stop girls from experiencing sexual pleasure. It is obviously a complicated topic, further politicized by the fact some of its practitioners are Muslims. We sat down with Mariya Taher, who was “cut” at age seven and went on to co-found Sahiyo, an organization that hopes to prevent other girls from enduring the same pain. She told us …

5. It’s Not Just A Muslim Thing

…But as Mariya explained, vigorous masturbation was only the nice treatment for hysteria. It was not the only one. “People don’t recognize that clitoridectomy, a form of genital cutting, was performed in Europe and the U.S. up until the 1950s. It’s a practice that you were able to find in medical books. There’s one American woman, Renee Bergstrom — she was born in the Midwest, a white American woman, and underwent it when she was three years old by a Christian doctor. She went to see the doctor because she was touching her genitals and her mother was concerned. The doctor recommended she undergo it because a clitoridectomy was supposed to prevent masturbation … But that knowledge that clitoridectomy was once accepted in the U.S. has been forgotten completely.”

Further back, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, America’s blandest mad cereal scientist, recommended removing the clitoris as a legitimate treatment for nymphomania. And it’s still a global problem: “In the last couple years, there’s been a lot of evidence has been gathered to show that it’s happening also in other places, such as Russia, Colombia, and parts of Asia like Singapore, Malaysia.”

Several Christian sects, and even one group of Ethiopian Jews, also practice cutting. “I think people like to ‘other’ it, saying it happens only in religious places and Africa, so you don’t think about the fact that it’s happening in medical settings, or that it’s happening in the U.S., or it’s happening in Ontario. That’s why I always try to emphasize it is a global issue … the large-scale data [gathered] by organizations such as UNICEF unfortunately only report FGM prevalence for 30 countries at this point, but there are many other countries where it’s been reported.”

And due to increases in immigration from regions where FGM is practiced, more than 500,000 women have undergone it, or are likely to be subjected to it, right here in the U.S. The largest risk groups live in California, Minnesota, and New York. When somebody brings up female genital mutilation, don’t think rural Africa — think Duluth….

The Quran makes no mention of female genital mutilation. Neither does the Bible or the Torah. Yet Muslims, Christians, and Jews around the world still do it. W-why?

“I found that there were so many different reasons for why it was carried out, from hygiene to sexual control — I’ve actually heard justifications that it is done to decrease your sexuality as well as increase your sexuality, or that you have to undergo it because it is an identity marker in a way …”…

1. There’s Even Backlash To The Backlash

…Unfortunately, the increased awareness of these crimes is also fuel for a certain species of bigot. Take, for example, the response when Mariya related her experience to The Detroit Free Press earlier this year. The article specified that Taher and the two arrested doctors in Detroit were from a small sect, and emphasized that genital cutting “affects girls of all socioeconomic backgrounds and occurs in all parts of the world, not just in remote villages in Africa or Asia, but here in the U.S., too.”

And now here’s a small sample of the many, many Islamophobic responses to the article…

So Mariya, and other women with similar experiences, are caught between a rock and

“That’s something I didn’t realize — I was unintentionally contributing to adding fear, or to Islamophobia. That was never my intention — my intention was to talk about violence and share the story of what’s happening in your community, because previously it wasn’t publicly acknowledged that it was occurring.”

Mariya often finds her interview quoted by websites devoted to ending the “Islamization of America.” Like this one, courtesy of career Islamophobe Pamela Geller:

Geller Report Kind of a long-winded way to say “Everything proves me right.”

Or this Federalist column that sails right past the point, arguing that “Fear Of Islam Should Not Enable Female Genital Mutilation Inside The United States.” In all of these pieces, Mariya’s interviews are quoted (read: copied and pasted); she’s never directly interviewed. And it’s never pleasant to find that your testimony and mission have been taken out of context by the likes of Jihad Watch….


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