Female genital mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM), sometimes referred to euphemistically as "female circumcision", refers to various forms of permanent and harmful operations performed on the private parts of girls or women. Although not exclusively Islamic — some Christians, Jews, and animists have also been known to practice it — FGM is primarily an Islamic practice.
Female genital mutilation is relatively rare in the West but is widely practiced in parts of Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, especially but not exclusively where Islam predominates. However, it is growing in Western countries due to Muslim immigration. The Swiss Islamic Council has defended FGM even though Switzerland bans the practice. Between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, an average of one FGM case every two hours occurred in England.
... practitioners look on it as an integral part of their cultural and ethnic identity, and some perceive it as a religious obligation Female Circumcision: Rite of Passage Or Violation of Rights? - Guttmacher Institute
The mutilation is usually carried out when the girl is prepubescent, often forcibly and against her wishes. It can cause many potential genito-urinary complications, including infection, urinary incontinence, and increased risk of problems during future childbirth.
In the United States, Congress outlawed the practice in 1996 and further tightened the law in 2013. Both performing the operation in the US and transporting a child to a foreign country to get the operation are felonies subject to 5 years imprisonment. However, no federal cases were brought against doctors until 2017. However, many states have failed to also adopt laws to cover situations where the child does not cross a state line to get the operation.
Indonesia was one of the first countries to ban FGM in 2006, prohibited health officials to perform FGM as a “useless” practice that “could potentially harm women’s health”. In November 2010, the government gave in to Islamic pressure and legalize FGM but with regulations allowing health care professionals to scratch the girl's area with a sterile needle.
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- Female Genital Mutilation – The Wallace Global Fund
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- 18 U.S.C. §116
- Multiple references:
- 18 U.S.C. §116
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