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Trust Law: Activists press Indonesia to ban genital mutilation

12.2.2013. By Emma Batha

ROME (TrustLaw) – Indonesian campaigners fighting to end female genital mutilation (FGM) have told their government it must ban the practice in the light of the new U.N. General Assembly resolution on eradicating FGM.

It is believed to be the first case where campaigners have used the U.N. resolution to exert pressure on a government.

Indonesia banned FGM in 2006, but the Health Ministry issued a regulation in 2010 which allows the practice if it is carried out by medical professionals, such as doctors, midwives and nurses.

Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) told an international FGM conference in Rome last week that it had written to the health minister urging him to revoke the regulation. Read more

Huffington Post: De-linking Female Genital Mutilation From Religion

by Ufuk Gokcen (Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, United Nations)

Female genital mutilation has long survived, hidden under the cloak of religious, cultural, and tribal practices, but this week, as we commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), it is time for every leader whether political or religious, whether male or female, to unequivocally stand in opposition to FGM. We can no longer allow the ignorance surrounding women’s rights and FGM to be perpetuated by traditions and rituals disguised as religious teachings.

As the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Ambassador to the United Nations, I personally find it important to combat any notion that FGM is in the true nature of Islam. OIC Secretary General Professor Ihsanoglu recently stated that FGM “is a ritual that has survived over centuries and must be stopped as Islam does not support it.” Yet, despite statements from political and religious leaders and studies such as the Frontiers Program report put out by USAID de-linking FGM from Islam, the practice continues at an alarming rate. This can be explained by the fact that the practice takes its roots primarily in tribal culture, not religion; though some misguided local religious scholars might contest otherwise. Read more

Global Post: Egypt’s top court upholds female genital mutilation ban

CAIRO, Egypt — Egypt’s top court reinforced a ban on female genital mutilation Sunday. The court rejected a lawsuit that challenged a 2007 health ministry decision to criminalize FGM, according to Al Ahram Online.

The suit was first filed in 2008 by Islamist lawyers who claimed the FGM ban violated Article 2 of the 1971 constitution and was inconsistent with the principles of Sharia Law.

FGM, according to the World Health Organization, includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. They can cause severe bleeding, problems urinating, and later lead to cysts, infections, infertility and complications in child birth. Read more

Muscat Daily: The issue of female genital mutilation in Oman

by Susan Mubarak

A year and a half ago I wrote a column titled ‘Woman with an incense burner’ where I tried as delicately as possible to highlight the issues concerning female genital mutilation (FGM) in Oman, and Dhofar in particular where the practice is still very common.

The feedback I received from readers and acquaintances was overwhelming. Most of them expressed how horrified they were to learn this tradition was still going strong in Dhofar. Some advised me to tread carefully, whereas others told me to keep spreading awareness.

Naturally, I also received plenty of negative feedback from relatives and colleagues claiming I was hanging Dhofar’s dirty washing for the world to see and criticising a practice that they believe is purely Islamic. I paid little attention to these criticisms because I know the practice is harmful and primitive. Read more