And this comes as a surprise?
Java, radical Islam in favor of female genital mutilation
by Mathias Hariyadi
Circumcision is concentrated in particular in rural and remote areas of the island of Java. So far campaigns by activists who denounce the danger of infection and the violence inherent in the practice to no avail. The debate within the Muslim world, on compulsory nature (or non) of the rite. A civil battle, supported by more than 400 NGOs.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – In rural areas and more remote areas of Indonesia, particularly the island of Java, female circumcision is still a widespread traditional practice. Although it is not a rule set in a rigid manner by the precepts of Islam, it resists in the most populous Muslim country in the world thanks to the favorable opinion of a large part of society, due to the more extreme and integral fringe. Over the years, activists and politicians have launched campaigns and appeals in an attempt to eradicate the popular custom, which puts the physical health of girls at risk. However, efforts to stem the “tetesan” – as it is called in the country – have so far been a vain war fought on “two different fronts”, at a governmental level and on a purely religious level.
Renowned experts of Islamic law in Indonesia, interviewed by AsiaNews, stigmatize the practice of female circumcision as “damaging”, even if it continues the comparison – which in many cases results in open clashes – between the fuqaha extremists and moderate Muslims leaders. With the first in favor of mutilation, while the latter engaged in campaigns to put an end to the phenomenon.
The the Muslim intellectual Sumanto Al Qurtuby says the faction that supports tetesan is linked to the Salafi and Wahhabi community, which together with other fundamentalist groups are concentrated in Bandung and Aceh. They believe that circumcision is “morally” encouraged by Sharia, or Islamic law, and reiterated in the hadith, in anecdotes related to the life of the Prophet Muhammad. However, the expert adds, while the practice is “suggested” it is not “mandatory” and there are no moral foundations of Islamic law that state it should be perpetrated. There are in fact six different drafts of the hadith – better known as “Kutub as-Sittah” – and only one of these “calls for” the spread of female circumcision.