by Meira Svirsky
The barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), sometimes referred to euphemistically as Female Genital Cutting (FGC) or Female Circumcision is prohibited by law in the U. S. and many Western countries. Moreover, several states have outlawed FGM, while legislation is pending in some others.
Yet, Christopher Holton, Vice President of the Center for Security Policy, reports that a fact sheet produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is blatantly false and misleading about the relationship of FGM to Islam.
Fact sheet states: “Although many people believe that FGC is associated with Islam, it is not. FGC is not supported by any religion and is condemned by many religious leaders,” and “No religious text requires or even supports cutting female genitals. In fact, Islamic Shari'a protects children and protects their rights.”
“Despite what the HHS claims, FGM is in fact associated with Islam, is supported in contemporary interpretation of Islamic scripture and has been endorsed by Islamic religious leaders,” Holton writes. “Sharia law manuals require and support the practice. Muslims in America still practice FGM. At least some Muslims justify it based on religious freedom and, in at least one state in which anti-FGM legislation is currently working its way through the legislative process, one legislator reports receiving a phone call from a Muslim constituent urging her to oppose the legislation as ‘a conspiracy against the Muslim community.’ ”
Holton cites one of the most widely read sharia law texts, Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, as proof that Islam endorses this practice. The book, available in English, has been endorsed by the president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and the president of the Fiqh Council of North America, as well as Al Azhar Research Academy in Cairo, Egypt, the Sunni Islamic world’s foremost educational institution.
Consider the following passage from Reliance (page 59): “Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna [meaning, the normal custom, or a practice decided by the Mohammad], while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.)
Holton also reports the opinion of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Sunni Islamic world’s foremost sharia scholar, head of the International Association of Muslim Scholars and European Council for Fatwa and Research, and chairman of the board of trustees of Islamic American University. Qaradawi is also considered the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual and ideological leader. Qaradawi issued a fatwa asserting that "circumcision is better for a woman's health and it enhances her conjugal relation with her husband" and that, "whoever finds it serving the interest of his daughters should do it, and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world.”
Brutally graphic and disturbing is a video depicts this practice that Qaradawi endorses as “serving the interest of his daughters.” Note that the video is about how this practice is carried out in Great Britain. Click here to see the video.
Holton also quotes Sami A. Aldeeb Abu Sahlieh, a Palestinian-Swiss sharia scholar, who quotes the origins of this practice in Islam from a hadith (a saying, story or tradition of the life of Mohammed), where Mohammed says in reply to a question if this practice is allowed: "Yes, it is allowed. Come closer so I can teach you: if you cut, do not overdo it, because it brings more radiance to the face, and it is more pleasant for the husband."
Abu Sahlieh also quotes Mohammad as saying, "Circumcision is a tradition for the men and honorable deed for the women."