Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an issue that has affected women for centuries. The practice is prevalent in communities across the world, but more far more prevalent in parts of Africa, Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. FGM is proven to have extremely negative consequences that last a lifetime and often cost girls and women their lives.
The lines have often been blurred between the teachings of Islam and cultures that justify female circumcision as a way of protecting girls and women, no matter what religion they follow.
Karema (19) was forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation by her mother in. Giza, Egypt.
Islam’s line is clear. While in many cultures, FGM is seen as an initiation into womanhood, a way of enhancing femininity and a method of reducing female sexual desire, thereby protecting their virtue, such claims have no theological grounding in Islam. Female Genital Mutilation is not an Islamic practice nor is it recommended. In fact, the Prophet (PBUH) discouraged the practice and prohibited his daughters from enduring the inhumane procedure.
The results of FGM
2015 saw the first legal action taken against an FGM incident in the UK and yet the true physical and psychological effects of FGM remain virtually unknown because of the reserved nature of its practice.
The aftermath of a procedure as traumatising as FGM continues throughout a woman’s lifetime. Some of the most common physical issues women and girls face include frequent or chronic vaginal, pelvic or urinary infections, menstrual problems, kidney damage and possible failure, cysts and abscesses, pain when having sex, infertility and complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Not to mention the host of emotional and mental health problems including depression, anxiety, anger and irritability.
All women in the UK have the unquestionable right to determine what happens to their body, but many young girls are denied the right to decide by families and traditions.
While the United Nations recognises FGM as a violation of human rights, as women, we need to make a stand against traditions that damage us and other women. We need to protect each other from the dangers of such a cruel practice and we need to let our communities and our elders know that we reject a tradition that causes so much harm to girls and women.
At WARN, our mission is to fight radicalisation through education, empowerment and engagement. Women have the power to educate future generations, inspire change and protect vulnerable people against the evils of radicalisation.