Think Islam isn’t a problem? What say you about this whole female genital mutilation thing?

Look, every time I make a post about a group of Muslims who read about their violent, sexist, or otherwise wicked acts being justified in the Koran, then had that reinforced by culture their entire lives, people always rush in to say that these are extremists (and presumably so are the cultures that reinforced them) and that Islam isn’t as big of a problem as the daily articles about horrors perpetrated in the name of Islam would lead one to believe.

Take female genital mutilation, a practice more frequent in Islam than any other faith.  There hasn’t even been a clinic designated to treat women who had their clitoris, and much of the pleasure associated with it, amputated at birth to please Allah.  Did I say at birth?  Sorry, I meant between the ages of 4 and 8.  This is usually performed without anaesthetic and under hygienic circumstances that lend themselves to all manner of additional problems afterward.  Knives, scissors, razor blades or pieces of broken glass are used as instruments among others.

The first, and only clinic to address this issue, just opened up in Europe (Zehlendorf, south Berlin, where 50,000 women have had this done, to be specific):

Europe’s first clinic dedicated to treating women who have suffered female genital mutilation opened on Wednesday in Berlin. The Desert Flower Centre will offer both surgical and psychological care for those who have had the procedure.

Lead by a team of experts in gynaecological and pelvic surgery as well as psychiatrists, the Desert Flower Centre opened its doors to an anticipated 50 to 100 patients per year.

But this is the only clinic of its kind, and Islam doesn’t create enough tangible problems in the world to raise concern over the faith.  So the problem can’t be that widespread, right?

Also referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM), the World Health Organisation (WHO), states that the ritual procedure is carried out every 11 seconds, to varying degrees. These include cutting off a woman’s clitoris, sewing together her vagina, or even sewing together the entire genital region.

Oh.  Well…it certainly seems like FGM is a pretty horrifying and terrible problem which, as Hitchens once said, would not even occur to a parent to cut off their daughter’s clitoris if not for the influence of religion and the cultures based upon it, particularly Islam.  And this is just one prevalent issue of many that seem to grow stronger and more frequent in Islamic societies, like cultures in a petri dish.

Nope, I’m going to have to stick with “Islam is a major problem for the world”.

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  • SabsDkPrncs

    This article is from the national newspaper in the United Arab Emirates. Although it doesn’t give a figure, I think it’s generally believed that 1/3 of the women living in the country have gone through FGM. Keep in mind that 4/5 of the population are immigrants, so it’s potentially almost all the female UAE citizens. The citizens (locals as us expats always called them) are offended by the topic and will not discuss it. They seem pretty complacent, perhaps even complicit, in some of Islam’s more heinous activities. They support the Saudi women’s driving ban by making it more difficult for women to get licenses in the UAE. They build extravagant buildings to attract tourists, but will imprison rape victims for the crime of adultery. Overall, even at it’s seemingly most benign, when Islam is used to govern it results in poor treatment of women and non-Muslims.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Take female genital mutilation, a practice more frequent in Islam than any other faith.

    And yet, Many Muslim countries do not have a problem with FGM, and in some places members of other religions practice FGM. FGM has no support in the Koran. But go ahead with your shallow fact-free preaching.

    • Brian Westley

      It’s hilarious to see some idiot try to refute something by (1) bringing up irrelevant facts, and (2) having his cite actually SUPPORT what he was trying to refute:

      [FGM] is found only within or near Islamic communities. It is praised in several hadith (sayings attributed to Muhammad) as noble, but not required, along with advice that the milder forms are kinder to women.

      • SabsDkPrncs

        But Brian, people who believe *those* Hadith aren’t True Muslims (TM)!

        Editors, please add whiny apologist voice in post.

      • MichaelNewsham

        The actual reference to that (footnote 103):

        103: Mackie 1996,
        pp. 1004–1005: “FGM is found only in or adjacent to Islamic groups
        (some Christians practice it to avoid damnation). This is curious,
        because FGM, beyond the mild sunna supposedly akin to male
        circumcision, is not found in most Islamic countries nor is it required
        by Islam. Mutilation is not practiced in Mecca or Medina, and Saudis
        reportedly find the custom pagan.”

        Mackie 1996, p. 1008 (also here):
        “FGM is pre-Islamic but was exaggerated by its intersection with the
        Islamic modesty code of family honor, female purity, virginity,
        chastity, fidelity, and seclusion.”


        Jump up ^ Gruenbaum 2001, pp. 63–66.

        Nussbaum 1999, p. 125: “The one reference to the operation in the hadith classifies it as a makrama, or nonessential practice.”
        Mackie 1996, pp. 1004–1005 (also here): “… several hadith
        (sayings attributed to Mohammed) recommend attenuating the practice for
        the woman’s sake, praise it as noble but not commanded, or advise that
        female converts refrain from mutilation because even if pleasing to the
        husband it is painful to the wife.”

        Jump up ^ “Call to end female circumcision”, BBC News, 24 November 2006.

        Video of conference, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, 22 and 23 November 2006.
        UNICEF 2013,
        p. 70: “A great deal of effort by scholars and activists has
        concentrated on demonstrating a lack of scriptural support for the
        practice. In Egypt, for example, the most authoritative condemnation of
        FGM/C in Islam to date is the 2007 fatwa (religious edict) issued by the
        Al-Azhar Supreme Council of Islamic Research, explaining that FGM/C has
        no basis in Sharia (Islamic law) or any of its partial provisions, and
        that it is a sinful action that should be avoided. Several regional and
        national fatwas have followed in the years since, with the original
        statement as their basis.”

    • MNb

      Rather than fact-free it’s (sour) cherry picking. As for the header: my female counterpart (we are not married; don’t even live together) is muslima; she even has been member of the board of a local mosque. No, her belief system and my atheism don’t collide. In fact her ethical values are much closer than mine than those of way too many atheists, especially the mysoginist ones, but also those atheists who foster their hasty generalizations and are as convinced of their Absolute Truth (AT) as say the Pope of his.
      Oh – the country where I live, Suriname, has relatively more muslims than the USA. Still as an atheist I suffer from none of the discrimination American atheists have to face.
      But of course quite a few here simply don’t want to know.

      • Baby_Raptor

        What, exactly, don’t we want to know? That you live in a Muslim country and don’t suffer for it? Congratulations. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do with this information, though.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Whether or not the book itself supports it is irrelevant. The followers of the religion do, and they’re doing it in the name of their god. That’s what matters.

      The bible openly supports abortion, but a lot of Christians are pro-forced birth because their pastors tell them that god loves little snowflake babies. We still blame the Religious Right for doing everything they can to turn women back into chattel.

      Why treat Islam any different?