Yahoo News: Female Genital Mutilation Banned by Islamic Leaders in Mauritania

This week, 34 well-regarded Mauritanian religious and national leaders signed a fatwa, or Islamic law, banning female genital mutilation (FGM). The fatwa is considered a huge stride toward women’s rights in the Islam world.
Female genital mutilation, or genital cutting, is a form of female circumcision. It entails removing all or part of the external female genitalia, including the clitoris and labia.
It is often practiced on girls between the time they’re born and their early teen years. After the circumcision is complete, many experience severe bleeding, difficulty urinating, childbirth complications and, in some cases, death.
According to the World Health Organization, the procedure has no medical benefits.
Female circumcision is not a religion practice. However, it has become a “law by custom,” says Jacqueline Castledine in an article posted on the Mount Holyoke College website.
She states, “The practice has become important to Islam because it is associated with female sexual purity. FGM is intended by its practitioners to both control women’s sexual drives and also to cleanse women’s genitalia by removing the clitoris, which is seen as masculine, a female penis.”
The law was passed on Jan. 15, 2011, by 34 Mauritanian religious and national figures. It prohibits the practice of FGM within the country.
According to Magharebia.com, “The authors cited the work of Islamic legal expert Ibn al-Hajj as support for their assertion that [s]uch practices were not present in the Maghreb countries over the past centuries.”
This new law will certainly curb the practice of female genital mutilation in Mauratania.
“It removes the religious mask such practices were hiding behind,” says Dr. Sheikh Ould Zein Ould Imam, professor of jurisprudence at the University of Nouakchott in a Magharebia.com article. “We do need, however, a media campaign to highlight the fatwa, explain it and expound upon its religious and social significance.”
Many men and women — both Islamic and not — declared this a victory for female rights, saying the fatwa was long overdue.
“Where were those imams for the past decades, when [FGM] killed dozens of girls each year? Were the imams and circumcision victims on two different planets? Personally speaking, I find no answer to those questions. All I am trying to say is that we needed that circumcision-prohibiting fatwa a long time ago. I was victimized by that brutal custom when I was seven, and it left an indelible psychological scar,” said Miriam, a 30-year-old housewife circumcised as a young girl.
Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance journalist who resides in Phoenix. Her work has appeared both online and in print for Hearst, Conde Nast, AOL, USA Today and other publications. Gould is an avid traveler who has lived abroad and traveled the world extensively. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and another in Philosophy.

Source: Yahoo News

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11 responses to “Yahoo News: Female Genital Mutilation Banned by Islamic Leaders in Mauritania”

  1. Mantiki says:

    At last!!!! Sanity prevails!

  2. Ibrahim Shareef says:

    Circumcising females is sunnah; it is neither a bad practice or harmful, if it is done within moderation. When extreme forms of female circumcision are carried out, harm may result. [Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/120]

    However:
    A hadith on the topic of female circumcision has been attributed to the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him), according to which he said: “Circumcision is a Sunnah for men, and an honour for women,” but there is some debate as to the authenticity of this hadith. See Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da‘ifah by al-Albani, no. 1935

    I’m just curious: where’s the reconciliation?

    • Hello Kitty says:

      It’s cited in the article, sicko. Alhamdulillah, there are respectable, knowledgeable scholars of Islam in Mauritania, and it’s my fervent hope and prayer that the people listen to them, and recognize that they’re opinions come from a place of knowledge and understanding of the deen. As opposed to random freaks on the Internet who want to bend and manipulate the truth so they can feel justified in hurting women. It’s appalling.

  3. Ahmed says:

    It is perfectly alright if Mauritania’s ulama had signed a fatwa banning extreme forms of female genital mutilation, but to ban Islamic female circumcision (hoodectomy. i.e.removal of the prepuce of the clitoris) is certainly going against Islam. They should have distinguished the Islamic from the unislamic circumcision and banned the latter.

    However, there are good signs coming. As more and more Muslims come to learn about the benefits of hoodectomy (Islamic female circumcision) the practice is likely to gain in popularity.

    Some countries that earlier banned it have allowed it again. This includes Indonesia which recently medicalised it and legally stipulated what needs to be removed, namely the prepuce of the clitoris. See http://jambi.tribunnews.com/2011/04/17/tak-paham-bisa-kebablasan

    Good signs indeed. Let’s pray it catches on !

  4. Abu Fatimah says:

    many people dont understand the difference between the circumcision sanctioned in islaam and the circumcision that takes place currently.

    Bringing these circumcisions in line with the sunnah (the skin above the clitoris only) is not harmful and would remove the harms of the brtalised forms currently existing. Islaam moderates and regulates those practices sometimes that are seen as barbaric rather than outright ban them and thats for a reason.

    If you try to ban circumsion in africa you wil struggle, however educationa nd regulation in line with the sunnah has more chance of success inshAllah

  5. Ali says:

    There is nothing Islamic about female circumcision. It is barbaric. A woman can get it only if she wants it done by her own will (I wonder why any woman would be so insane). People who circumcise their daughters are basta*ds

    Circumcision is NOT sanctioned in Islam. It is an act that pleases the devil, because it is always forced. Shame on people who link this FILTHY practice with Islam. Shame on them.

  6. Ahmed says:

    Sorry Ali, you’re wrong. Islamic female circumcision (hoodectomy) has been proven to ensure cleanliness and a better sex life for women. An excellent work on it is available at http://www.umatia.org/2011/Safe%20Female%20circumcision.doc

  7. laly says:

    i was circumcised when i was young…now i have a daughter and i did not think of getting her circumcise.not because it is painful…its because some say islamic circumcision is not needed because it is not practice in saudi arabia.and islamic circumcision is ear piercing. what is the truth? and i don’t think removing the clitoris is way of circumcision.thats not true.

  8. Ahmed says:

    Dear Sister Laly

    What is required in Islam is not the removal of the clitoris, but the skin surrounding it (the prepuce or hood) and this is agreed by all Islamic scholars.

    Religious works by classical scholars such as Fath Al Bari by Ibn Hajar Asqalani and Sharhul Muhadhdhab of Imam Nawawi have stressed on the necessity of removing only the prepuce of the clitoris and not any part of the organ itself. It is recorded in the Majmu Al Fatawa that when Ibn Taymiyyah was asked whether the woman is circumcised, he replied: “Yes we circumcise. Her circumcision is to cut the uppermost skin (jilda) like the cock’s comb.” More recently Sheikh Jadul Haqq declared that the circumcision of females consists of the removal of the clitoral prepuce (Khitan Al Banat in Fatawa Al Islamiyya. 1983).

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