We have seen this in Europe before — in fact, in Britain the National Health Service pays for it. Eurabia Alert: “Surgery Offers Muslim Women Illusion of Virginity,” by Elaine Sciolino and Souad Mekhennet in the New York Times, June 11 (thanks to Al):
PARIS: The surgery in the private clinic off the Champs-Ã‰lysÃ©es involved one semicircular cut, 10 self-dissolving stitches and a discounted fee of $2,900.
But for the patient, a 23-year-old French student of Moroccan descent from Montpellier, the 30-minute procedure represented the key to a new life: the illusion of virginity.
Like an increasing number of other Muslim women in Europe, she had a “hymenoplasty,” a restoration of her hymen, the thin vaginal membrane that normally breaks during the first act of intercourse.
“In my culture, not to be a virgin is to be dirt,” said the student, perched on a hospital bed as she awaited surgery Thursday. “Right now, virginity is more important to me than life.”
As Europe’s Muslim population grows, many young Muslim women find themselves caught between the freedoms that European society affords and the deep-rooted traditions of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.
Gynecologists report that in the past few years, more Muslim women are asking for certificates of virginity before marriage.
That trend in turn has created a demand among cosmetic surgeons for hymen replacements, which, if done properly, they say, will not be detected and will produce tell-tale vaginal bleeding on the wedding night. The service is widely advertised on the Internet; there are medical tourism packages to countries like Tunisia where the procedure is less expensive.
“If you’re a Muslim woman growing up in more open societies in Europe, you can easily end up having sex before marriage,” said Hicham Mouallem, a doctor in London who performs the surgery. “So if you’re looking to marry a Muslim and don’t want to have problems, you’ll try to recapture your virginity.” […]
One 32-year-old Macedonian-born Muslim said that she had chosen the surgery to avoid being punished by her father after her relationship with her boyfriend of eight years ended.
“I was afraid that my father would take me to a doctor and see whether I was still a virgin,” said the woman, who owns a small business and lives on her own in Frankfurt. “He told me, ‘I will forgive everything, but not if you have thrown dirt on my honor.’ I wasn’t afraid he would kill me, but I was sure he would have beaten me.”…