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Australia: TV Program Discusses FGM Among the Muslim 'Community'
From the ABC's '7.30' program, Caro Meldrum-Hanna reporting.
'Breaking the silence over genital mutilation horror'.
'Across the nation, young girls (that is, 'young Muslim girls' - CM) are being mutilated in a brutal and barbaric religious practice that most Australians struggle to comprehend.
Why should we seek to 'comprehend' something like that? Practices like FGM, 'honor' murder of perceived-to-be-uppity women, the killing of apostates and 'blasphemers', and the forced 'marriage' of underage girls are not quaint, complex customs requiring to be earnestly 'comprehended'; they require to be banned, and those who advocate or practise them should not be permitted to remain on Australian soil. However: kudos to Ms Meldrum-Hanna and the 7.30 Report for actually using the words 'brutal' and 'barbaric'. And for being prepared to mention 'religious', and to face up to which 'religion' is involved. - CM
'More than 120,000 migrant women in Australia have suffered genital mutilation - a brutal religious practice common in Islamic populations in Africa, South America, parts of Asia and the Middle East.
There were, last I heard, some 500 000 Muslims in Australia. If it is guessed that 120,000 'migrant' (presumably, 'Muslim migrant') women in Australia have been subjected to FGM, then that would comprise roughly half of all Muslim females in Australia. - CM
'There is no data held on how widespread female genital mutilation is in Australia, but 7.30 has spoken to women who are voicing their concerns despite the fear of rejection from their communities.
'The genital mutilation is carried out by women on girls between the age of four and ten.
'It is a crime in Australia and is not sanctioned by the Koran.
But it is mentioned - without condemnation - in the most authoritative Hadith, and there is not one of the four schools of Sunni Sharia that explicitly condemns it. Indeed, one of those four schools - the Shafiite school, which is prevalent followed in Egypt, southern Arabia, Bahrain, Kurdistan, Somalia, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia , regards it as compulsory, and two others - the Hanifi school and the Hanbali school - while not going so far as to make it compulsory, see it as 'an honor', or an honorable thing to do. And the fourth does not condemn it. One of the authoritative manuals of Sunni Sharia law, the Shafiite 'Reliance of the Traveller', states that 'circumcision' is mandatory for both males and females; it states that 'circumcision', for the female, is 'by cutting out the clitoris'. (The English translation, by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, obfuscates the brutal bluntness of the original Arabic, by claiming that it is not the clitoris itself but the clitoral hood that is meant to be cut but this is not so. The Arabic plainly says that the clitoris is to be cut out.) - CM
'Nonetheless, it is happening behind closed doors.
Like so many other ugly Muslim practices that sharia permits and prescribes. - CM
'7.30 understands the women chosen to do the cutting often do not have any medical qualifications, with the procedures being carried out in people's homes using crude surgical implements.
'The procedure can range from a small cut to a girl's clitoris, to the entire removal of the genitals (that should be, the entire removal of the clitoris and much of the labia, which is done in infibulation, or so-called 'Pharaonic' mutilation - CM).
'In extreme cases the wound is sewn up to leave only one opening - the size of a matchstick - for urination and menstruation.
This is what is done to Muslim girls in Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia; it is what was done to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and to the Somali-background model, Waris Dirie. In Ayaan's 'Infidel' and in Waris Dirie's 'The Desert Flower' one can read their descriptions of what it feels like to have your clitoris and much of your external genitalia sliced out and sliced off and then crudely sewn up to form a 'chastity belt' of rock-hard scar tissue, all without benefit of anaesthesia or antisepsis or antibiotics for the resultant infection. And the fact that urine and menses 'back up', unable to quickly and easily flow out. Intercourse and giving birth become painful and difficult; a woman usually has to be cut open with a knife, at marriage and for childbirth. - CM
'Imam Afroz Ali, one religious leader prepared to break the silence, says female genital mutilation is a "clandestine practice".
"I have had people mention it has happened to themselves, it's happened to members of the family or they are aware this is happeningi in Australia", he said.
He should have been asked more questions. I would have asked him whether he was a Sunni or a Shiite, and which school of sharia he adheres to, and what that school says about FGM. - CM
'It is also common for the women doing the cutting to charge a fee for their services.
"The figure could be around $2,000 to $3,000...the reality is that they are not qualified at all", Mr Ali said.
"These are women from a village who have migrated to Australia and have access to a razor blade and are considered to be an elder or wise person in their community".
And we admit such people into our country. Women who will chop out a little girl's clitoris with an unsterilised razor blade. - CM
'zarine, who moved to Australia six years ago, comes from a Muslim sect known as the Dawoodi Bohras, who originate in India.
So much for FGM being an 'African' custom...The Dawoodi Bohra are a Shiite-aligned Muslim subgroup, they are mostly found in India today, but in fact their roots are in Yemen. - CM
'In India, female genital mutilation is called traditional cutting.
And I would be very, very surprised if anyone other than Muslims does it, in India. - CM
'Zarine was five when her grandmother told her they were going to the market. Instead, she was taken to a house where she was pinned down and mutilated.
"There were about three other women there - they were sitting and chatting. They were from the same community because they were speaking the same language", she said.
"They asked me to take my underwear off...I just wanted to run out of there. I knew there was something going to happen to me.'
"I don't know if it was two of the women or just one. She pinned me down with her legs pretty much and I had my legs wide open and one of them was holding my hands behind me.
"I don't remember seeing anything but after that I felt a very sharp pain. I still remember that. I still remember that pain".
'Five weeks ago, New South Wales police arrested and charged eight people with the alleged genital mutilation of two girls in Sydney and Wollongong in the past 18 months.
See our earlier coverage of that story, here:
'The arrests followed an anonymous tip to the office of the NSW Child Protection Minister, Pru Goward.
"The secrecy [with] which this is carried out makes it very difficult for police to collect evidence", Ms Goward said.
'The eight people arrested all belong to the Dawoodi Bohra community in New South Wales.
'The identities of all those arrested have been suppressed (why? - CM) except for one - Kubra Magennis, a 68 year old retired nurse.
"Kubra"? In other earlier reports that I saw, her first name was given as 'Helen'. Is she a convert to Islam? - CM
'There are fears the practice of female genital mutilation spreads much wider than this one case suggests.
'In September, West Australian police arrested and charged a couple with female genital mutilation after they allegedly took their daughter to Bali for a traditional cutting ceremony.
'7.20 has also been told that girls are being mutilated in the town of Katanning, 200 kilometres south of Perth, home to a large Malaysian Muslim population.
Indonesian and Malaysian Muslims largely follow the Shafiite school of Sharia, which regards FGM as obligatory. - CM
'At the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, a discreet clinic is transforming lives by reversing extreme forms of female genital mutilation.
They cannot restore the sliced-off clitoris and labia, but careful surgery can make it easier for the woman to urinate and menstruate. Waris Dirie in one of her books recounts how a non-Muslim doctor in the UK did this type of surgery on her, and what a wonderful difference it made. - CM
'The clinic sees around 25 women every month.
And I would hazard the guess that Medicare is footing the bill. Add the trouble and expense of ameliorating the damage done by sharia-sanctioned FGM, to all the other costs incurred as a result of having foolishly permitted the entry into Australia of hundreds of thousands of Muslims. - CM
'Through family planning officers like Zeinab Muhamed, the broader aim in Victoria is to break the cycle of mothers subjecting their daughters to the procedure.
'People tell Ms Muhamed that female genital mutilation is a cultural practice that is hard to move away from.
That is because it is there - uncondemned - in the Hadith and because three schools of Sunni Sharia see nothing wrong with it and the fourth doesn't question or condemn it. To get an idea of how Muslims approach this matter, see here - a discussion of 'circumcision', and of FGM, by a Muslim doctor resident in the USA.
'They say it is women who are pushing it.
"When they tell their story, it's heartbreaking. These women have been through an experience that we can't even imagine", Ms Muhamed said.
'They spend days after the procedure when they can hardly urinate. Their legs may have been tied together so the labia actually fuses together".
'One woman who spoke to 7.30, Samira, has been surgically reopened.
'She says women in Victoria are being stitched closed again after they have given birth, even though it is a criminal offence.
I would like to know whether this is being done by non-Muslim doctors and/ or midwives, by Muslim doctors and/ or midwives, or by nonmedically-qualified members of the Muslim 'community' - CM
'Samira says female genital mutilation is "torture".
Yes. Sharia-sanctioned torture.. Islamically sanctioned torture. - CM
"I was told whether I wanted to be stitched back up or not and I refused, and [my midwife] said some women insist on being stitched back, so I was quite surprised", she said.
'Samira is strongly against the cutting of young girls but says not everyone in the community agrees.
"I think that a lot of people would still like to do it...they've been brainwashed by their families [who say], 'It's good for you, it's important, it's part of our culture", she said.
'It's part of our culture'. That is; part of Islam, part of the Sharia. Pre-Islam, it was only practised in parts of Africa, and some non-Muslim African groups still also practise it; but a large swathe of Islam has absorbed it and perpetuated it and carried it to many places - Indonesia, Malaysia, India, for example - where it was completely unknown prior to the arrival of Islam. See my note above, about the four schools of Sunni Muslim sharia 'law', one of which teaches that clitoral excision is obligatory, two of which teach that it is sunnah, recommended, and one of which refuses to condemn it. Further, as I have already pointed out above, the Dawoodi Bohra are aligned with the Shiite stream of Islam, which suggests that there are least some Shiite traditions that also permit the practice. And anything that a large chunk of Islam - as we see from looking at the Hadiths and the authoritative handbooks of sharia - refuses to condemn, and indeed on more than one occasion requires, or recommends, or approves, is going to be extraordinarily difficult if not impossible for pious Muslims to reject. - CM