Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Are FGM and Male Circumcision really so different?

Are FGM and Male Circumcision really so different, or are we just interested in keeping the blinders on? See it in the words of UNAIDS.

Image: Boys Deserve Better

November 2012 http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/nov/27/un-ban-female-genital-mutilation

Campaigners against female circumcision have scored a major victory with the approval by a United Nations committee of a resolution calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation (FGM).
The resolution, adopted by consensus by the UN general assembly's human rights committee, calls the practice harmful and a serious threat to the psychological, sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.

It calls on the UN's 193 member states to condemn the practice and launch educational campaigns for girls and boys, women and men, to eliminate it. It also urges all countries to enact and enforce legislation to prohibit FGM, to protect women and girls "from this form of violence" and to end impunity for violators.

The following one is an opinion article from someone who denounces that the UN will call for a ban on FGM while promoting Male Circumcision:

January 06, 2013. http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/feminist-violence/u-n-calls-for-circumcision-ban-for-females-only/

U.N. calls for circumcision ban — for females only.
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution on December 20, 2012, calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation, or as others such as myself call it, female circumcision.

It’s a centuries-old practice which stems from religious and cultural beliefs that circumcising girls controls women’s sexuality and enhances fertility when they are of child bearing age. It’s along the same line of nonsensical reasoning that is used for justifying male circumcision when people say it is necessary in order to keep the penis clean, that it helps prevent the spread of STD’s, and that it’s more appealing or enhances sexual performance.

These are just ridiculous, unproven claims used to justify mutilating someone’s genitals. The difference is, mutilating a females genitals is seen as barbaric and needs to be abolished globally. Mutilating a males genitalia? Well the UN has not said a peep about it except in 2011 when the UN launched a plan to accelerate male circumcision for AIDS prevention in Africa.

And what's the current status of affairs?

Indonesia - January 22 2013 http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/01/22/mui-pushes-govt-circumcise-girls.html

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) is bucking a United Nation’s campaign to ban female circumcision, demanding that the government keep the practice legal.

MUI deputy secretary-general Amirsyah Tambunan told reporters at a press conference on Monday that the government should continue to allow female circumcision, calling it a constitutional right.

“Circumcision is a part of the Islamic teachings that were recommended for Muslims, both male and female,” Amrisyah said at MUI headquarters as quoted by Antara news agency. “The MUI and Islamic organizations in the country firmly stand against any efforts to ban
female circumcision.”

Female circumcision performed by licensed doctors, nurses or midwives was legalized by a Health Ministry regulation issued in 2010 that defined the practice as “incising the skin that covers the front part of clitoris, without harming the clitoris”.

 Tanzania - January 09 2013 http://thecitizen.co.tz/component/content/article/37-tanzania-top-news-story/28105-we-cant-end-fgm-government-says.html

In the face of circumcision of thousands of girls last month, the government now admits that it is powerless to end the complex traditional practice that has led to untold pain and even death for the victims.

About 5,000 girls aged between 10 and 16 were rounded up for circumcision in Mara region alone from mid-last month, according to statistics provided by regional authorities, but a campaign spearheaded by the government failed to net the culprits. Female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation,is a crime in this country.

Uganda, January 07- 2013 http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/638695-into-the-land-of-the-sabiny-to-witness-female-circumcision.html

The female surgeon looked like she relished the moment she would cut the girls. Her assistant was by her side with yeast. The girls assembled on a blanket on the ground.

With no hot water to sterilise the knives, the surgeon started to cut off a girl’s clitoris. The assistant sprinkled yeast on the thighs and in the private parts which is said to reduce friction and wetness.
The girls have to pretend to be strong and not show any fear, as weakness is culturally unacceptable and would have attracted scorn and ridicule from the crowd watching.

As blood gushed from the girls’ private parts, the crowd urged: “Be strong! You are almost done! Remain calm!” The cutting lasted about a  minute for each girl. The mutilated girls lay helpless.

Then they were ordered to kneel so that the blood could pour out. Once cut, a girl would be pushed aside, giving way to another. They lay facing up, with their legs pressed together as if to stifle the pain.
Most of the girls were in their 20s, although there were a few older ones. I am told the older ones had dodged the practice, but were tricked by their husbands who gave them a herb called “etyanyi” which hypnotises them.

Tanzania, November 2012 http://circumstitionsnews.blogspot.com/2012/11/tanzania-boys-to-boycott-circumcision.html

Serengeti. Elders in Mara Region have embarked on a campaign to convince boys to boycott circumcision as a protest against global condemnation of female genital mutilation (FGM) whose season starts in December.

The elders believe that their move to prevent boys from getting the cut will evoke anger among practitioners who will react by enforcing a revival of both types of the cut (female and male) and pretend it is an order from ancestors to cleanse the community, failure of which will lead to punitive measures

Egypt, October 2012  http://f1000research.com/articles/1-23/v2

Mohammed Kandil (OB/Gyn)  from Egypt calls for studies on FGM concluding: Law makers around the globe are invited to review the legal situation in relation to female genital cutting. Proper counseling of parents about possible risks is a must in order to make informed decision about circumcising their daughters. The procedure should be offered to parents who insist on it; otherwise, they will do it illegally, exposing their daughters to possible complications. (In the second version of the article he states that he does not condone female circumcision)

Egypt, January 2013 http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentP/4/62152/Opinion/Keeping-FGM-on-the-run--Between-Resolution-and-Con.aspx

Though the banned practice of female genital mutilation has nothing to do with Islam, Egyptian Islamists look determined to re-legitimise it. The implications for Egyptian women are dire

Australia, December 24 2012. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/female-circumcision-is-a-right-says-imam/story-fn59nokw-1226542730442

A MUSLIM leader and outspoken opponent of female genital mutilation says female circumcision, which he defines as the partial removal of the clitoral hood, is not only an utterly distinct practice, but the "divinely ordained right of a woman" under Islam.

Sydney-based Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development founder and president, Imam Afroz Ali, appeared on the ABC's 7:30 program in October, condemning female genital mutilation and saying he had been told by community members of its occurrence in Australia.
But Imam Afroz defines female circumcision and female genital mutilation as "two very different, and unrelated, kinds of acts; the former being permissible and the latter completely forbidden under Islamic law".

The imam, who was yesterday unable to be contacted, made the argument in a paper entitled Mutilating Facts: Setting the Record Straight About Female Circumcision & Genital Mutilation, published this year on his SeekersGuidance website.

"Islamic law permits by definition, by prophetic statement and by practice female circumcision," he wrote. "The definition under Islamic law for female circumcision is exclusively the removal of the uppermost extra skin at the top of the clitoral glans.

"Female circumcision in its legitimate form is a personal and human right of a woman; genital mutilation is a horrible crime."

Imam Afroz indicated he believed the practice should only be performed on post-pubescent women. The imam argued his definition of female circumcision was the same as labiaplasty, or genital cosmetic surgery, which was legal in Australia.

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