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Press Review


Independent: Isis may have issued a fatwa introducing FGM in Mosul – but cutting in the Middle East is not new

11.10.2015. By John Chua.

Nearly a decade ago, the NGO I work with began to document Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Iraqi Kurdistan. At first people there wouldn’t talk about the issue and some denied its existence. Kurdish grandmothers even told us their own sons would beat or kill them if people found out they spoke about this taboo subject.

When we published the result of our surveys that showed the overall mutilation rate across most of Kurdistan was 72 per cent of women. Experts in the West were shocked. Few had realised the problem even existed in this region before, let alone the extent we had been able to expose. (more…)

Cutting the clitoris: Indonesia continues practice to prevent women from having sex

5.10.2015. by Kate Walton. One reason piercing the clitoris is popular in Indonesia is because it is believed to reduce women’s sexual desire and libido

A friend of mine recently messaged me in shock: “I just read a UNICEF brief that says millions of women in Indonesia have undergone female circumcision. I had no idea.”


Jakarta Globe: Despite Ban, Female Genital Mutilation widespread in Indonesia

18.9.2015. By Bastian Scheerpen.

More than 140 million women worldwide have experienced female genital mutilation, but not everybody knows that many of them live in Indonesia, where over half of girls under 11 are subjected to the dangerous practice that is widely condemned internationally.

Now, with research indicating that government regulations and religious decrees have little to no impact on the prevalence of FGM, activists and officials are making themselves heard once more, to call for a comprehensive solution. (more…)

In Australia, three Dawoodi Bohras face Supreme Court trial for circumcising their daughters

17.9.2015. By Areefa Johari. Female genital mutilation is illegal in Australia. But in India, where Dawoodi Bohras are the only known community to practice the ritual, there is no law against it.

In the first case of its kind for the Dawoodi Bohra community, three Bohras living in Australia are facing a Supreme Court trial for practicing genital mutilation on two minor girls. (more…)

DIWA: Nigeria bans Female Genital Mutilation: Shouldn’t India follow suit?

16.9.2015. Nigeria made history by outlawing female genital mutilation. The act falls under the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 and the bill, which was passed in May was recently enacted into the law.

While Nigeria joins hands with a worldwide movement that aims to eradicate the practice from all countries – U.N. eradicated the practice worldwide in 2012 – India, along with several Asian and African countries still continue the unlawful practice. The barbaric act, defined by WHO as the act of partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, continues to be carried out in tiny bylanes of the country, well hidden not only by those who do it, but also those who are exposed to it.


DW: For some Egyptian women, FGM is not all bad

15.9.2015. By Mai Shams Al-Din. It’s neither a lack of education, nor a religious custom that allows female genital mutilation (FGM) to prevail in Egypt. Three mothers explain their motivation for getting their daughters cut.

Living in a village in the south of Egypt, Mounira*, a 47-year-old government employee, remembers her experience with FGM as “horrible and painful.” Women like Mounira – who have been cut themselves – usually want the practice to end. But not Mounira. (more…)

Foreign Affairs: Under the Knife

27.7.2015. By Christina Asquith

Grading Iraqi Kurdistan’s Progress Against Female Genital Mutilation

Last month, Nigeria became the most recent African country to formally ban female genital mutilation, a barbaric practice performed on 150 million girls across the world. The move was cheered around the globe, but the celebration was tinged with some reservation. Realistically, most recognize, a piece of paper issued in parliament isn’t enough to combat a deeply rooted tradition stretching back thousands of years. Indeed, although the law “is a major boost not only for Nigeria’s women, but for the nation as a whole,” Stella Mukasa of the International Center for Research on Women told me, “The question is: Will it make a practical difference?”


Global Post: ‘I hate it. It hurts’ — Egyptian women talk about sex after female genital mutilation

16.7.2015. By Laura Dean. CAIRO, Egypt — In a small hall in central Cairo, a group of women are gathered around talking about sex.

All of them have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), a procedure that usually causes the victim to take little if any pleasure in sexual intercourse. And many report a familiar problem in the bedroom: “borouda” — a word that translates to the English “frigidity” in bed. (more…)

Radio Free Europe: Radio Farda Wins Gold, Silver At New York Festivals

24.6.2015. WASHINGTON – RFE/RL’s Persian language service was lauded in New York this week as Radio Farda journalist Roya Karimi Majd’s special report “Tradition of the Blade” won a gold award, and Kambiz Hosseini’s weekly show ” Five in the Afternoon” took home a silver award at the 2015 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards.

“Tradition of the Blade” (excerpt here), a program about female genital mutilation in Iran that Karimi Majd called “one of the hardest and most painful reports that I have produced in more than 20 years of working on women’s issues,” was recognized in the Information/Documentary Magazine Format category. Hosseini’s program, which is a joint production with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and airs on Radio Farda’s satellite stream, was entered in the Entertainment/Best Regularly Scheduled Comedy Program category. (more…)

Weekly Standard: Confronting FGM in Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan

17.6.2015. By Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz. Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) exists in the Islamic Republic of Iran even while the redoubt of clerical dictatorship is absent from a recent survey of FGM in 29 countries, published by UNICEF. The UN agency examined states in Africa and the Middle East. The UNICEF document did not specify them in full, but named eleven. Four – Djibouti, Egypt. Guinea, and Somalia – are Muslim, and feature “universal” incidence of FGM, or a rate above 90 percent of all women.  (more…)