Female genital mutilation is not strictly speaking an Islamic practice. It is not found in the Qur’an or in generally accepted ahadith. However, it is widespread in some Muslim countries (most notably Egypt), and is often justified on Islamic grounds — as I demonstrate in Islam Unveiled. Now it has come, in a supposedly modified and humane from, to Italy. The larger concern, even beyond the human rights of the girls involved, is the question of how far will multiculturalism go? Can it be resisted on human rights grounds? If not — and if every custom from around the world must be accepted and officially sanctioned in the West in the name of tolerance — how will Europe prevent the Sharia and dhimmitude from coming in as well? On what basis can a multiculturalist society stop them, after it has relativized all moral standards? This report is from the The Star, with thanks to Twostellas:
Health authorities in Florence have sparked an outcry after they officially welcomed a version of female circumcision.
A gynaecologist in Florence is proposing to perform a “light” version of infibulation, the mutilation of the genitalia of young girls which is practised in many African countries.
Dr Omar Abdul Kadir, a gynaecologist who has been working in Florence for several years, claims that his operation satisfies the traditional demands for the operation of many African mothers, yet causes neither pain nor damage.
But the proposal, and its acceptance by the local health authority, has outraged Italians campaigning against female genital mutilation (FGM).
Cristiana Scoppa, who works for Aidos, a Rome-based non-governmental organisation working in Third World countries on women’s development, says the operation will break Italian law.
“You can be prosecuted for cutting an organ that is healthy,” she said. “If the damage is so big as to eliminate the organ, you can get 12 years in prison.”
Kadir’s procedure involves making a small hole in the girl’s clitoris and drawing a drop of blood.
He said: “We have proposed to make a small, pinhole-sized puncture in the clitoris of the child after applying a local anaesthetic, making a drop of blood appear. The little girl will then go home to celebrate this type of ‘baptism’.”
Kadir said he had received support from immigrants from 10 African countries, who wrote in a joint statement: “It is not enough merely to say one is opposed to infibulation.
“While some of us have realised that this practice is useless, cruel and not prescribed by religion, others among us are too attached to their culture and do not accept that the mutilation has negative consequences for their daughters.”
The proposal for the operation to be performed in Florence’s hospitals will go to the regional health authority’s bio-ethics committee in March. It would have to be agreed at regional level before hospitals could carry out the procedure.
A councillor on Florence’s health authority, Enrico Rossi, said: “The opinion of the regional committee is fundamental, but we must also involve women immigrants in the decision-making process.
“We are dealing with a delicate question which must be confronted without prejudice, and we must listen to all opinions.”
But Aidos, which is working to combat the practice in many African countries, is incensed that it might be about to take root in Italy.
Scoppa said: “The reason for the operation is to control women’s sexuality.
“But they don’t say that is the reason, they say it is tradition. It’s like the many Italian families who do not go to church but who send their children to be baptised because it has always been like that and the parents want to do that. It’s the power of custom.
“But the custom can be changed. You will not get people to give up FGM unless you work on the demand for FGM.
Working on the demand means working within the culture.
But if you legitimise this in a hospital in Italy, it legitimises the whole cultural belief system that is behind it.”
Scoppa is also sceptical that Kadir’s proposed light mutilation will prevent girls being mutilated in traditional fashion later on, with the removal of most of the genitals and the stitching up of what is left to form a cover over the vagina.