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In Oman more than 80% of women could be mutilated – Results of a two-week field trip

Stop FGM Middle East, 3.2.2014. By Hannah Wettig

Oman is not on the map of countries where female genital mutilation is practiced. Neither the United Nations nor international NGOs have taken notice of FGM in the Gulf region – except Yemen. Yet, there are quite a number of reports about its existence in Oman and in most other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, some old from the 1960s, others are medical studies about cysts and other complications.

Stop FGM Middle East picked Oman for a first field trip to the Gulf region because of its relatively liberal political climate and the government’s concern for women’s rights.

Several Omani bloggers and journalists have written about FGM. The Ministry of Health mentioned it as a matter of concern. It was certainly a good sign that the issue was discussed openly – even if seldom.

From the different reports it was hard to assess how widespread the phenomenon really was. Some articles estimated a prevalence of 20% to 30%. Several authors assumed that FGM was mainly practiced in the Southern governorate of Dhofar with some pockets in the mountainous area in the North where a “pricking”-type was practiced. We were skeptical: Other reports hinted that FGM might be much more widespread than these authors believed. (more…)

Australian girl circumcised in Indonesia

ninemsn, 28.1.2014. An Australian father charged with organising to have his baby daughter circumcised allegedly travelled to Indonesia for the procedure.

The man from New South Wales, who cannot be named, took his then nine-month-old girl overseas, where she was circumcised sometime between February and March of 2012, police allege.

But it wasn’t until the girl’s mother took her to a doctor six months later that authorities were alerted to what had allegedly happened. Following an investigation, the father was arrested on December 31 last year by officers attached to the Sex Crimes Squad. He was later charged with aiding, abetting or procuring female genital mutilation. Read more

New study in Oman shows high prevalance of FGM all over the Country

By Stop FGM Middle East. 22.1.2014.

According to a new study from Oman, female genital mutilation constitutes a widespread phenomenon in Oman in all age groups, and among women from all regional and educational backgrounds. Out of 100 women questioned 78 stated to be “circumcised” (they were asekd if had undergone “khatana al banat”). The human rights activist and statistician Habiba Al Hinai conducted the study “Female Genital Mutilation in the Sultanate of Oman” in cooperation with Stop FGM Middle East for which she interviewed 100 female and 100 male participants in hospital waiting areas, shoppings malls and fast food restaurants in the capital Muscat.

64% of all female participants said FGM was still practiced in the family

The practice of female genital mutilation was long only considered prevalent in the Southern region of Dhofar with only small pockets in the North. Thus, it is most notable that the participants in this study originated from Northern regions with only two coming from Dhofar. The highest prevalence of FGM seems to exist in the regions Sharqiya North and South (18 out of 19), the Dakhiliya (11 out of 13) and the coastal Batina region (33 out of 38 questioned). Participants who originate from Muscat were less likely to be circumcised, but still more than half of the participants were affected. (more…)

Mufti of Oman: “We can’t describe it as a crime against women”

By Stop FGM Middle East. 21.1.2014.

The Omani human rights activist Habiba Al Hinai send the Grand Mufti of Oman Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalili an inquiry about the stance of Islam towards FGM. The Mufti of Oman replied in a letter in early December 2013:

Circumcision  is allowed in Sunnah, and none of the old Ulama (religious legal scholars) have said it was “hated”, but they have disagreed if its a “must” or a preferable sunnah to do, or allowed to do. The confusion was based on different hadiths by the prophet, and whether to consider these  hadiths as true and correct. They (the hadith) never mount up that it is a must, and it was always mentioned in relation to male circumcisions.

Even though its not an operation you must perform on women, we can’t describe it as a crime against women or as a violation of women’s rights. What is referred  to as FGM is not the practise that the Sunnah talked about. Circumcision is simple and clear to cut a piece of the clitoris without causing any damage, every thing that is not this shouldn’t be called circumcision.

Therefor what ever the WHO described as circumcision is not accurate as these are bad  practises of those unable to perform proper circumcision.

Therefore, circumcision is not allowed by sharia if it causes damages, this is a rule: to damage and no damager, and if it was medically proven by well trusted doctors that circumcising women will cause damage, it should be banned based on the no harm rule of the sharia.

Study in Yemen shows decline in FGM rates

A recent study about female genital mutilation (FGM) in Yemen based on the UN and government implemented Domestic Health Surveys shows a small, yet relevant drop in FGM. This decrease can be connected to campaigns and government measures taken against FGM.
The authors evalutated the answers of 10,345 (in 1997) and 11,252 (in 2003) ever married women. They found that the percentage among most-recently-born daughters who received FGM declined from 29.3% in 1997 and 22.4% in 2003 according to the mothers. The rate among daughers of women who had undergone FGM declined from 61.9% in 1997 to 56.5% in 2003. The percentages of women who had undergone FGM and who supported the continuation of FGM and of husbands who also supported its continuation decreased from 78.2% and 60.1% in 1997 to 70.9% and 49.5% in 2003, respectively. At the same time precentage of women who had heard about FGM increased from 50.5% to 56%.
Th results seem to underline the effectiveness of awareness raising even if measures are minor. In Yemen, a ministerial decree prohibiting health providers from performing FGM was passed in 2001. No larger campaigns were undertaken.
Non-surprisingly, the study also found that daughters whose parents opposed the practice were less likely to undergo FGM. Important was the finding that not only the mothers but also the husbands opinion plays a role here.
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Al-Khulaidi GA, Nakamura K, Seino K, Kizuki M (2013) Decline of Supportive Attitudes among Husbands toward Female Genital Mutilation and Its Association to Those Practices in Yemen. Dezember 2013, PLoS ONE 8(12): e83140. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083140