Female genital mutilation widespread in Iraqi Kurdistan

“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, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.)” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3

“Kurdistan Is Urged to Ban Genital Cutting,” by Namo Abdulla and Timothy Williams in the New York Times, June 16 (thanks to AINA):

SULAIMANIYA, Iraq — Human Rights Watch urged Kurdistan’s government on Wednesday to ban genital cutting of women and girls, a practice the organization said is widespread and dangerous there, but which they said Kurdish officials had failed to move aggressively to stop.

Human Rights Watch, an advocacy organization based in New York, interviewed 31 girls and women last year and combined its findings with recent surveys by other organizations that found that at least 40 percent of girls and women in Iraq’s Kurdistan region had undergone the procedure, which typically involves cutting off external genitalia with a dirty razor blade.

One of the studies, of about 1,400 girls and women interviewed during 2007 and 2008, found that almost 73 percent of women 14 years and older said that at least a portion of their genitals had been removed….

“Although it has not been completely inactive, its efforts have been piecemeal, low key and poorly sustained,” the report said of the Kurdish government….

Mariwan Naqshbandi, a spokesman for Kurdistan’s Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, dismissed the study, saying that it had distorted reality and that Kurdistan had “issues far more important” to confront.

“The report is extremely exaggerated,” he said. “It is so unfair. It relied solely on some local reports. It relied on rumors.”

He added: “Circumcision exists as an isolated occurrence, rather than as a phenomenon in Kurdistan. It only exists in certain places.”

Human Rights Watch said Kurdish girls and women described genital cutting as being physically painful and psychologically scarring.

“Girls undergoing the procedure are forcefully held down, their legs pried apart, and part of their genitalia cut off with a razor blade,” the report said. “Often the same blade is used to cut several girls. No anesthesia is applied beforehand and if anything at all is applied to the open wound afterwards, it is water, herbs, cooking oil or ashes.”

In addition to wounds caused to women, risks include an increase in the rate of stillbirths and in the occurrence of babies with low birth weight, the report said.

It is not clear how common genital cutting is in the rest of Iraq, because it has not been the subject of a comprehensive study.

UPDATE: Mark Durie observes that the above translation of Umdat al-Salik is itself deceitful, as its editors have attempted (futilely) to soften the barbarism of the practice for non-Muslim consumption. Durie writes:

“The Reliance of the Traveller, a respected manual of Shafi’i jurisprudence, states “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris” (section e4.3). [The English translation by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (certified by Al-Azhar University) disguises the true meaning of the Arabic text by offering the following bogus English ‘translation': “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).”

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  1. says

    “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, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.)” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3 [emphasis mine”GI]

    Hasn’t poster Hesperado shown”via the research of a native Arabic speaker”that the emphasized comment above is editorial whitewashing *not* borne out by the original text?

  2. says

    It’s done with a rusty razor blade if they have one, otherwise a rusty knife will do, if none is available a sharp rock works…Islams idea of skilled surgery…An abomination…

  3. says

    This is on another topic but Mosab Hassan Yousef “son of Hamas” is about to be deported. Please consider sending a message to your representative, senators and the white house urging them to do whatever they can to give asylum to Mosab.

  4. says

    This is a critical point in the history of Kurdistan. Can it replace the Arab values imposed upon it, or will it truly retain Islamic FGM and honor killings?

  5. says

    Muslims are so afraid of their women leaving them for Kafirs they must not only beat them and intimidate them, they have to mutilate them as well.

    These savages take away a woman’s freedom, any chance of happiness, any thing that bring her pleasure or joy, and her life. All so they can have a sex toy and domestic slave.

    How cowardly and disgusting are these so-called “men”?

    Remember, muhammad inspired women’s rights

  6. says

    The way the article goes, they like to brush it off as saying it is isolated and rarely happens. The fact is, it DOES HAPPEN. Even if it where 1 in 10 girls, 1 in 100, 1 in 1000, 1 in a million etc… That is is still too much. Even if it happens in “isolated areas”, who cares they are still doing it, hurting and mutilating these poor girls for what, a life size Barbie doll?

    Islam is sick, its traditions are sick, its law is a barbaric insult to humanity, its so called “Prophet” was nothing more than a violent, warmongering pedophile, and the people who truly (totally, not the people being Muslim to avoid the beheadings and all that) believe in this garbage, have got to be sick in the head. Why would anyone want this so-called version of law, Allah’s “Sharia” law, to be put in place. So, so sad this still exists…

  7. says

    But don’t we always read that FGM is an African cultural practice? The Kurdish culture must have some deep ties to African culture. What could the connecting thread be? Hmmm ….?

  8. says

    the more you learn about islam the more you realize how cowardly their men really are. they attack women in the worst way, they need to control women in every which way. their method of attack is by ambush, they are indeed cowards to the very core.

  9. says

    Oh right, sorry, FGM is an exlusively African practise, right of course, no Islamic country or people would ever do such a thing…

  10. says

    The answer to the apologist “well, it’s a cultural thing” should always be:

    Why is Islam such a morally empty faith, and its followers so morally bankrupt that it cannot overcome the practice?

    If it’s just “cultural”, they should be able to quash it inside of six months. I mean, put out a fatwah on blue jeans or beards and everyone’s on board. Don’t tell me Islam’s devotees can’t overcome FGM??!!

  11. says

    As much as I’ve read about this practice, I still don’t understand the reason for it.
    Circumcision of the male penis probably aids in cleanliness.
    But the female genitalia are so different. What is done to the female doesn’t aid in cleanliness at all. So what is the purpose of FGM? Is it to try to remove an organ that gives pleasure, so the woman can feel no sexual pleasure?
    so she’s less likely to “stray”? Or is it simply to torture women and keep them in their place?
    Whatever, why don’t the women’s liberation people in the West beat the drums against this barbarity?

  12. says

    The reason for it is to let Muslim women know they are owned, body and soul, by some insecure Muslim man, that there is no hope and that there is no chance of escape. Scar them early and they will be your slave for life!

  13. says

    I’m sure we all appreciate how the main stream media has changed the term “female genital mutilation” to the kinder and gentler (and dhimmier) “genital cutting”.

    The original term is by far the more apt description.

  14. says

    To circumcise a man is to increase sensation. To mutilate a woman is to diminish feeling. It is yet another aspect of the Muslim male domination in Islam.

  15. says

    Dead on, DJM.

    These barbarians seem to really have issues with women, from burkas, milk drinking, and FGM. What are they so afraid of ?

    I need ” Defender of Islam ” to tell me.

  16. says

    Muslims are so afraid of their women leaving them for Kafirs they must not only beat them and intimidate them, they have to mutilate them as well.
    The male hierarchy accomplishes this “genital jihad” primarily through its women. Mutilated women victimise the next generation. It’s a cycle.

  17. says

    Kinnedar wrote:

    But don’t we always read that FGM is an African cultural practice? The Kurdish culture must have some deep ties to African culture. What could the connecting thread be? Hmmm ….?

    Exactly, Kinnedar. Not only is FGM widespread in Kurdistan in western and central Asia, it is also rife in Indonesia, in south-east Asia. Despite claims of its being merely “an African cultural practice”, it is clearly spreading with Islam.

    In her book “Nomad”, Ayaan Hirsi Ali”herself a victim of clitoridectomy and infibulation”writes about FGM’s insidious underground spread in civilized Europe”where it is either illegally practiced there, or where girls”who are European citizens, in most cases”are sent back to ‘the old country’ in Dar-al-Islam to have the barbaric mutilation done.

    I’m sure FGM has spread to the United States, Canada, and Australia as well, with the arrival of more and more members of the Ummah.

  18. says

    gravenimage, didn’t you see the “update” in the post above? (Or maybe it was added later.)

    At any rate, about the Mark Durie information: Unfortunately, there are problems with his argument and Prof. Durie in responses to me in a Jihad Watch thread, as well as emails to me, has not adequately addressed them.

    Details here.

  19. says

    “Whatever, why don’t the women’s liberation people in the West beat the drums against this barbarity?”

    To be fair, some people do call them on this, like Barbara Walters herself. Then again, she also shucks a very expensive skin cream also endorsed by Oprah to keep their faces “beautiful” and youthful looking. The secret ingredient? Male foreskins. While I’ll spare you any of my histrionic anti-circumcision rhetoric, the irony is not lost on me.

    I will concede that ripping the foreskin off and cutting it does indeed make cleaning the penis easier, but this is much like saying that cutting off the ears means you don’t have to wash behind those either, or knocking out all of one’s teeth means no need to brush any longer.

    (Hi, Mike.)

  20. says


    personally, I found Mark Durie fairly convincing.

    If you think his scholarship is junk, and should be ignored and tossed in the rubbish bin, then just come out and say so. If you think Spencer is an idiot, and ought to be ignored, and replaced by somebody better…such as yourself? – then damn well come right out and say it, instead of snarking and sniping from the sidelines.

    And then produce your alternative scholarly reading of the sources.

    How old are you? Do you have the time, and the access, to learn all the necessary languages, etc.?

    I’m 46. I can read French, Middle English, German, Italian and Latin, and the koine Greek of the New Testament. But i know, for a flat fact, that it’s too late for me to go back to university to acquire the knowledge of assorted varieties of Arabic, not to mention medieval Arabic palaeography, etc., that would be necessary to do a complete new scholarly edition, and translation, from the ground up, of something like the Umdat al Salik which is a. a text originally written in the middle ages and b. a text copied and commented upon by generations of **Muslims** who are likely to have had rather more elastic definitions of accuracy than western Christian or Jewish scribes and commenters.

    I know you have a degree. But: did you spend much time looking at manuscripts from the pre-modern period, whether western or middle eastern? I know a bit about western latin and vernacular manuscripts and the way they work. I have some idea of what’s required, to do a decent modern edition of a pre-modern (i.e. pre-Gutenberg) book.

    I did a PhD on the translations of a popular 6th-century latin work, into Old English, Middle English and Elizabethan English. To do this, I had to look at microfilms (too poor to go to Europe and see the originals in situ) of the various latin manuscripts, from different periods (9th century, 12th century, 13th, 14th, 15th) and the earliest printed books (15th, 16th century) that represented the kind of thing the translators would have used. What I saw was a core text surrounded by a constantly shifting ‘cloud’ of interlinear glosses, translations, marginalia, and in some cases, continuous commentary by named authors, written either in parallel or down the margins; and the translations frequently blended in material from these,with the central text.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the extant manuscripts of the Umdat al Salik – from the earliest to the most recent, up to the point when it finally became a printed book (and do we know when that happened?) are like that, or worse. Who knows what its ‘manuscript genealogy’ is? Do we know whether a non-Muslim scholar equivalent in stature to a Joseph Schacht has tackled the Umdat al Salik to ascertain the most authoritative manuscript or manuscripts, disentangle the author’s original text from its associated siamese-twin umbra or penumbra of associated commentary, glosses, marginalia, interpolations, etc., and provide a clear European-language translation, to boot?

    That sort of thing can take **decades**.

    We don’t **have** decades. You’re the one who’s always telling us we’re in a war! We can’t put everything else we’re doing on hold while we wait for, or prepare to undertake, **the** perfect non-Muslim scholarly edition and translation of the Umdat-al-Salik, all the Hadith, etc, etc., etc. Done, of course, by someone whose view of Islam is 100 % congruent with your own? Or else you would reject it as invalid?

    And until we have such an edition and translation, you would not permit us to draw any conclusions at all about the practice of FGM – ranging in severity from the cutting out of the clitoris, all the way through to infibulation – in certain parts of the Muslim world…those parts that, as Durie has pointed out, have a curiously close correlation with those parts where the Shafiite school of sharia – of which the Umdat al Salik is a representative text – prevails?

    If you think Mark Durie’s work is rubbish (but do bear in mind that the man does have a degree in **linguistics** – do you?) then write letters to Raymond Ibrahim and Mark Gabriel and Nonie Darwish and Magdi Cristiano Allam, all of whom speak modern Egyptian Arabic, and all of whom are bona fide apostates from Islam, and ask **them** to do us off a translation of the Umdat al Salik’s discussion of ‘circumcision’ both of male and of female.

  21. says

    Hi again, DDA.

    As a former military Arabic linguist, here’s one more person who always understood “bazr” (or “badthir,” it just doesn’t transliterate very well….) to mean “clitoris.” While I’m confident that there’s no shortage of folks who would be willing to let me know just how wrong am I–I’m the first to admit, I was never exactly a prodigy or anything, it sounds to me as though this is just another example of Islamic smokescreen; giving the language way too much credit and thinking all of the infidels are too stupid to be able to learn “dirka dirka” themselves.

  22. says

    “If you think his scholarship is junk, and should be ignored and tossed in the rubbish bin, then just come out and say so. ”

    The choice is not merely between 1) uncritically accepting Durie’s attempted argument or 2) rejecting it without reasoned argument. There is also the option of noticing and raising serious questions about Durie’s attempted argument that prevent a person from being able to accept it until he addresses them — which he hasn’t yet, even after two exchanges I had with him. In fact, he rather arrogantly abstains from engaging my concerns.

    This becomes important, for what happens when the day comes when a perspicacious and intelligent person from among the Islam apologists (both Muslims and non-Muslims) notices the same problems I have and confronts Durie and/or Durie’s defenders? Apparently, if they continue in the same vein as they now do, they will be sorely unprepared to defend their position.

  23. says

    “To circumcise a man is to increase sensation.”

    Respectfully, I’d beg to differ, and I’m wondering where it is this ‘fact’ came from. So would several thousand other males who weren’t necessarily strapped down, ripped, crushed and cut to satisfy nothing more than a cultural status quo when they were a matter of hours old, couldn’t tell the Torah or Bible from a phonebook, and too helpless to break their restraints and stick the blades in the eyes of the doctor. Plenty of boys out there who can attest to the difference, after having their mutilation done as consenting adult patients with the benefit on anesthesia. The reasons Americans have been justifying this barbarity for the last century are eerily close to the same reasons other cultures justify the same garbage we’re vocalizing against here, probably more similar than we’d like to admit. And I truly believe it’s been biting our society on the behind for that last hundred years.

    Here’s hoping someday we come to grips with this. At the very least, more Americans at least seem to be waking up, and less than half of our boys now being ritually cut. But until we can protect our sons by law as we do for our daughters this will continue to be one of our greatest national shames.

  24. says

    Apologies in advance for the two consecutive replies, wishing I’d remembered to include this last post. On the notion of male cutting giving sensation a boost, respectfully, I’m guessing you are unaware that the entire disgusting concept, all the way back to Abraham, was to curtail sexual satisfaction for both men AND women? You don’t have to take my word for it on that one. Or that the primary proponent of male circumcision in America was thanks to the efforts of Victorian era bunghole John Harvey Kellogg, in an effort to “cure” masturbation? Swell guy that he was, he also favored burning out the clitoris to fix the same problem with girls (believe it or not, while it wasn’t nearly as widespread and performed as male circumcision, legal female cutting did indeed exist in America up until 1977. Can you imagine the outrage if this was still going on?). Unfortunately, cutting up the defenseless became lucrative, and every time one long held belief about what this garbage either prevented or fixed was debunked, another had to be thought quick to keep doing it. There is no pediatrics association anywhere that recommends this, and there are zero medical reasons to do so. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Niente. A century too late, but thankfully we’re waking up now.

    I will never be able to fathom how it is we can tolerate male cutting for “religious reasons” on infants and children, but if it’s girls being cut, THAT gets our danders up. Neither one should fly in the so-called “free world.”