According to the Aftonbladet
, Norway is preparing to clamp down on the practice of female circumcision within its immigrant community. Whether it’s being done locally or by sending the young child abroad (as many Somalis have done), all cases are to be strictly handled according to Norwegian law which forbids the cruel ritual.
Finland has similar laws on the books:
Mutilation of women’s and girls’ genitals is a punishable act under the Finnish Penal Code. Depending on the seriousness of the act the person performing or assisting in a circumcision may be sentenced to several years’ imprisonment. This is also the case when a person resident in Finland is taken abroad for mutilation. A person who has been proved to have incited to such a crime may be sentenced in the same way as the perpetrator, even though he or she would not have taken part in carrying out the mutilation.
A person who knows in advance that an aggravated inflicting of bodily injury is being prepared for, is under penalty of punishment responsible to report it to the authorities and thus prevent the act (Penal Code, chapter 15, section 10). The reporting duty does not apply to the next of kin. It, however, displaces the secrecy obligations, as well as the duty of notification laid down in section 30 of the Child Welfare Act.
While Muslims cannot look to the Koran for any specific verse promoting or even condoning such a barbaric practice, it’s also undeniable that many Islamic clerics define the nature of women as being entirely “twisted
It is this type of rationale by respected voices in Islam that is used to confirm many a Muslim male’s worst fear, that their daughter’s own sexuality will lead to a future life of promiscuous behaviour, and thereby bringing eventual shame to the family. Dymphna at the Gates of Vienna has much more on it here
It is also interesting to note that the Helsingin Sanomat had an article about female circumcision in 2004, in which it stated that:
The immigrants avoid using the word mutilation, when speaking of circumcision. For female immigrants circumcision is a tradition and part of their cultural identity, says Mohamed. Consequently, instead of accusations, it would be preferable to give the immigrants correct information about the health dangers that can be caused by the operation.
I would also add, that a strict reminder that Finnish laws exist to prosecute any Finnish citizen or resident of Finland who tries to maim their daughter, whether in Finland or elsewhere.
This is the kind of legacy that is derived from a belief that deems its women as “sexpot” simpletons, who are both emotionally and mentally inferior to men. Of course it’s true that not all Muslims practice this disgusting ritual nor do all Muslims treat their women as chattel.
But it’s also undeniable that a very large percentage of the Islamic world does so, and that has to be of major concern for all, including of course those who belong to the Islamic faith. Muslims and their leaders living within the West have the capacity and the responsibility to act as bridges of “reason and modernity” to the rest of the Islamic world.
After all, they have the benefit of both western democracy and its value system at their disposal, to help enlighten their coreligionists around the world on how best to treat their women folk …..with dignity and equality. *L*
Toby from the Northern Light blog
correctly observes that Egypt
(to their credit) has totally banned the practice. He also notes that it’s not an exclusive
Muslim practice, as the BBC article reports, Christian Copts partake in the practice as well. Like I said, it is a cultural phenomenon as well, so I indeed should have included a mention of the Coptic Christians including animists.
I don’t believe however that it is as rare
in the Arab Muslim world as the BBC depicts, with many in the Arab Islamic world practicing FGM privately, even parts of northern Kurdistan
are showing signs of an increase. Keeping one’s daughter “chaste” does have an alluring quality for many Muslim & Arabs in that portion of the globe.