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Monthly Archives: May 2014

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Egyptian doctor to stand trial for female genital mutilation in landmark case

The Guardian, by 21.5.2014.

A doctor is to stand trial in Egypt on charges of female genital mutilation on Thursday, the first case of its kind in a country where FGM is illegal but widely accepted.

Activists warned this week that the landmark case was just one small step towards eradicating the practice, as villagers openly promised to uphold the tradition and a local police chief said it was near-impossible to stamp out.

Raslan Fadl, a doctor in a Nile delta village, is accused of killing 13-year-old schoolgirl Sohair al-Bata’a in a botched FGM operation last June. Sohair’s father, Mohamed al-Bata’a, will also be charged with complicity in her death.

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Singapore: AWARE Makes a Stand Against Female Circumcision in Islam

Aware/rilek1corner, 19.5.2014.

Does Female Circumcision happen in Singapore?

Yes. In Singapore’s Muslim community, female circumcision involves nicking the prepuce, the skin covering the clitoris. It is markedly different from the more severe forms of genital mutilation. The procedure is usually done on babies or prepubescent children. Circumcisions in Singapore are done by female doctors at a handful of Muslim clinics. Anesthesia is generally not used.

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Second Middle East & Asia Conference on FGM shows that new strategies are needed

16.5.2014. By Stop FGM Middle East.

On May 7th to 10th the Second Middle East & Asia Conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was held in Istanbul where more than thirty activists and researchers from Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia and India met as well as representatives from UNICEF Iraq, Orchid Project (England) and Terre des Femmes (Germany). It was the second such conference organized by the German-Iraqi NGOs WADI and the Dutch NGO Hivos.

For the longest time FGM was regarded as an African problem, based on the African continent with some prevalence in neighboring countries like Yemen. This mantra was overcome only recently when WADI strated raising conscious, that FGM is also widespread in a Middle Eastern country like Iraq. In January 2012, the first conference on FGM in the Middle East was held in Beirut. In the last two years the STOP FGM Middle East Project by WADI and Hivos collected further evidence, that countries like Oman, Malaysia and Indonesia have a significant high prevalence rate of FGM. Therefore, this second conference widened the scope from the Middle East to South East Asia. (more…)

British girls flown to Singapore and Dubai for ‘medicalised’ FGM

London Evening Standard, by Anna Davis, 14. 5. 2014.

A spokesman for the Orchid Project, which campaigns against cutting girls, said it is not illegal in the United Arab Emirates but the ministry of health prohibits it in state hospitals and clinics.  It is not believed there are any laws prohibiting it in Singapore.

Julia Lalla-Maharajh, chief executive and founder of Orchid Project, said: “When female genital cutting is done by medical practitioners it carries the risk of the practice being seen as more ‘acceptable’, however the outcomes for the girl are still the same — she still is cut, still might have horrendous complications and her rights will still have been violated.

“Unfortunately, the medicalisation of the practice is on the rise and it must be stemmed.”

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A Pinch of Skin: A documentary that attempts to lift the silence on female genital mutilation

DNA, India, by Anam Rizvi, 11.5.2014.

The documentary A Pinch of Skin, an attempt to lift silence on this stifled memory, brings together voices of women who suffered the practice. Like millions of other little girls, this one too is being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) with a view to suppressing her sexual urges later on in life. The painful process leaves an indelible mark on mind and body and the reasons given are many. […]

“I knew nothing until I got to the place where it was to happen. I was told nothing. My mother then told me that they would scrape off a bit of skin. She said nothing would happen. I was very scared,” says Aarefa Johari, a writer at Scroll.in. A member of the Dawoodi Bohra community, Aarefa has chosen not to follow religious practices. “I’ve heard of a few cases where a small lunch party is organised for the girl where her friends are invited after the event,” she says.[…] (more…)

Some thoughts on the Istanbul conference on FGM

By Susan Al Shahri, 9.5.2014

I just realized I have not updated this blog for four months and I will not allow myself to feel guilty because my time has been occupied with things that will help my community. I intend to come back to writing as soon as possible once I’m finished with a couple of projects. To give you an update of ‘part’ of what I’m doing, I’m currently in Istanbul attending/presenting at the 2nd Middle East and Asia Conference on Female Genital Mutilation. It’s an extremely sensitive topic and one that needs to be tackled in Oman and in Dhofar in particular. No one is keen to be the one to start tackling this issue, but after years of slowly gathering data and understanding the topic, I am no longer hesitant. However, I am also a firm believer in starting any awareness-raising by gaining support of authorities instead of adopting an us-and-them approach that many activists tend to follow. Ministry of Health five-year plan 2006-2010 intended to start raising awareness on FGM; however nothing was done. Perhaps the topic was too sensitive? Perhaps they didn’t have the will to start tackling? Perhaps they didn’t find the right people on the ground to do the dirty work? I have been speculating a lot. In all cases, the government has tried. Many of you may remember that I have been writing openly about FGM since 2011 on my blogs and in the newspaper. I have received endless criticism and also a lot of support. I started studying FGM practices in Dhofar in 2006. Although no detailed studies have been conducted, the general picture is very clear. It’s extremely prevalent, it’s harmful, and it has to stop. Nuff said for the moment. Bear with me until I’m organized enough to start SAR (Smart-Awareness-Raising), which is a tricky thing to accomplish in Oman.

Read Susan’s Blog

Solidarity Against Female Genital Mutilation

Gatestone Institut, by Irfan Al-Alawi, 7.5.2014.

Although FGM is associated often with Islam, it is found commonly in non-Muslim areas of Africa and among immigrants to the West from that region. Muslims should take the initiative in opposing FGM; campaigns against this violation of women’s rights are underway already in several Muslim lands. (more…)

Yemen law on child brides and FGM offers hope of wider progress

The Guardian, by Suad Abu-Dayyeh,  6.5.2014.

Yemen is poised to vote on a comprehensive Child Rights Act over the coming months, which would ban child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). […]

As a report by Equality Now points out, child marriage does not take place in a vacuum but is rather part of a cycle of abuse and discrimination that often includes sexual violence and FGM.

With this is mind, articles in the Child Rights Act that propose banning FGM – which affects 23% of Yemen’s female population – as well as other forms of violence against children, including child labour, are to be welcomed.

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