Female genital mutilation in Pakistan, and beyond

Published: August 18, 2011

Warning: The following article contains information that readers may find uncomfortable or disturbing to read

“Female genital mutilation is a torture, not a culture.” Alice Walker

According to the World Health Organisation, female genital mutilation (FGM) is defined as all “procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”

The process is carried out for a wide number of reasons, none of which have positive health implications. As a social cause, young girls and their families are pressurized to surrender to the tradition of FGM that has been carried out for generations.

People who practice female genital mutilation are motivated by the belief that by mutilating the female genitalia, a girl will feel no difficulty in resisting “illicit” sexual acts. Moreover, the fear of experiencing pain that comes with the opening of the stitches of the narrowed/covered vaginal opening is said to prevent further “illicit” relations amongst women and men.

However, women who have been through the ordeal of FGM have clarified that the practice has not benefited them in any way. In fact, it is the source of incredibly painful ordeals throughout pregnancy, childbirth and intercourse.

The sad reality, however, is that although FGM is widely common in African countries, most people are unaware that this brutal practice is in Pakistan too.

What happens in Pakistan

In Pakistan, the act of FGM is practiced amongst select areas and communities – one example being the Bohra Muslims. There are roughly about 100,000 Bohra Muslims in the country, mostly in the southern regions of Pakistan, such as Sindh. In recent years, due to a rise in strict sect religious compliance by the Bohra Muslims, the practice of FGM has increased. Unless the Bohra chief, known as Dai, issues a decree to forbid the act, the practice will remain firmly rooted in the people’s culture and will continue to be practiced.

Countless news reports from all over the world have provided sound proof to support the immense damage that FGM can cause.

Take, for instance, the news report about a girl who went through the traumatic ordeal of FGM at the age of six – a fact uncovered at age 12, when doctors were investigating what they thought was a cyst. However, the girl had become infertile due to years of menstrual blood being blocked, prevented from leaving her body due to the stitching of her vaginal opening.

Another report mentioned a story of a woman who went for a check-up. The midwife was examining her and suddenly ran out of the room, retching and crying after she saw the state of the patient’s genitals.

It is not just the young women of Pakistan but also British girls of Pakistani origin who are subjected to this procedure. Young British girls pack their bags with their favourite outfits, books and toys and jump with joy at the thought of six weeks of holiday with their relatives. However, many young girls are unaware that their parents are taking them to Pakistan to carry out the FGM procedure.

What clerics say

Since the State of Pakistan is an Islamic country, let’s take a look at what Islam says about the practice.

To begin with, the Holy Quran does not bear even a single mention of female circumcision. In addition to this, there is no Hadith that mandates this practice. However, some have argued that one Hadith, although not requiring it, appears to accept the practice:

“Circumcision is a commendable act for men (Sunnah) and is an honourable thing for women” (Makromah).

This Hadith is criticised on the grounds that a distinction is made between male circumcision, which is described in a stronger way, whilst a weaker explanation is offered for female circumcision, which is not required religiously.

But ask yourself: how is cutting or partially/completely removing parts of the female genitalia an honourable thing for women? What is it that makes it honourable? Is it the pain or the abnormal sight of a mutilated body?

The glaring fact is that this practice leads to a tremendous amount of pain, infections, a battle with child birth, infertility in women, and in severe cases, even death.

Sheikh Talib, Dean of the Faculty of Shariah of Al Azhar, has said:

“all practices of female circumcision and mutilation are crimes and have no relationship with Islam.”

This statement is supported by the fact that the procedure of FGM pre-dates the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the beginning of Islam.

FGM is not something that “purifies” a woman or preserves their virginity. It is a practice that mutilates a woman’s body and damages her in the most appalling of ways. Parents who hold their daughters’ arms and legs down, forcing them to go through this terrible crime, are not maintaining their family’s honour. They are, in fact, severely reducing the chances of their daughter’s bearing children. They are, thus, eliminating opportunities that may bless them with future generations and eventually, they will have no trace of themselves on earth.

Once again, from an Islamic perspective, God creates men and women alike, in the best design possible. Surely, it is wrong to alter the design that God has put together in the human form. Everyone has the right to respect their body and demand the same respect from everyone else. No one, regardless of whether they are parents or so-called health professionals, has the right to destroy a woman’s ability to bear children or damage her body. FGM is, hence, a crime, sitting at the top rung of immorality.

Perhaps, a young girl is screaming in pain right, at this very moment, as you read this article.

However, it is not too late – we can still make a difference.

We can rise up, and raise our voices for those innocent girls whose families have FGM in plan for them. One voice may not be loud enough but when an entire assembly of voices resound together, it makes a difference and causes peoples’ heads to turn. Let us, thus, rise up together, and put a stop to this torture.

If you want to learn more about how to stop Female Genital Mutilation visit http://www.stop-fgm-now.com.

aneka.chohan

Aneka Chohan

A freelance journalist and human rights activist. She tweets @anekachohan.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • NFI

    Thank you for sharing this with us. FGM is an inhumane, despicable act and no words can ever describe the horror of it. Having such issues brought up front is the only way to deal and hopefully eradicate them. Kudos to the author for taking such a step!Recommend

  • Mastishhk
  • Majid Rashid

    My God i thought this practice was ancient history, people thought that circumcising female clitoris will reduce her sex drive, people that time think this is a fact, but these bastards today still believe that and torturing their own daughters, its waste of time to debate if its Islamic or not, its barbaric plain and simple. may i ask how does raising voices will help in in preventing that, only language these people understand is forceRecommend

  • Abdullah

    i dont think so that there is anything like that going on in Pakistan.Its drastic literally inhumane…but please share if there are any links to your study which concludes that the Bohra/Bohrii Muslims are following it??Recommend

  • Amjad

    I have never heard of female genital mutiliation being practiced in Pakistan but if the Bohra community of Gujratis has brought this from them from India, it should be banned. In the West some communities of asylum seekers from Somalia and Ethiopia take their children back to their home countries to have this cruel mutilation performed on their daughters but it is a punishable offense!Recommend

  • Ovais

    I am sorry its distorting facts, In Pakistan, this evil is not widespread , it rarely exists. I am not sure about the bohra community but most sects do oppose it and even culturally its negated . Not everything horrible should be associated with PakistanRecommend

  • Ovais

    Our Mullahs are blamed for everything , this evil is not their creation. I dont think its an issur right now to worry or write about Recommend

  • banaras

    As a health professional, I have seen several cases where the reproductive capacity and quality of life of women has been destroyed by this inhumane act perpetrated in the name of religion. As the writer points out, this practice isn’t as widespread in Pakistan compared to African countries but steps should be taken to ensure the incidence doesn’t rise. Perhaps the government should force our respected religious scholars, specially those with international outreach (e.g. hardilazeez Dr. sahib) to ensue fatwas condemning this practice. Recommend

  • http://Delhi Delhi Belly

    @Aneka : Strong and sad article about this inhuman act. It is inhuman cause it is more of imposition then a conscious or knowledgeable choice. I wish more people read this and there is quite more aware ness of this gruesome act. Wish that there would be a law soon to ban this. What surprises me is the mother of the child who has gone through same ordeal pushes her own kid to go through same. Where is the heart of a mother?
    Once again a strong and brave article. Appreciate your attempt to bring in general awareness. Cheers.Recommend

  • Hina

    Thank you so much Aneka for writing on this taboo subject. I personally believes both male and female circumcision is wrong and unesessary. If it was unnecessary for any gender then I believe God would have made the change Himself. Both believing that God created us in best image and he commanded for this cruel procedure is absurd.Recommend

  • Sana

    i hope what said about Bohra muslims is based on facts because i have a few Bohri friends and none of them ever mentioned being mutilatedRecommend

  • http://Australia Naeem Siddiqui

    This is horrible! Indeed

    Thanks Aneka for raising this issue.Recommend

  • Sarah B.

    Sad and utterly disturbing!Recommend

  • JBR

    Horrifying indeed….Recommend

  • bilal

    this is very new information for me ! i am now 25 bt still dont know what the hell this FGM Recommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari

    The circumcision of female genitilia has been emphasised in the article and no consideration have been given on male circumcision . Why ? Recommend

  • Glen

    I was really surprised that you chose such a topic to write on looking at the vast narrow minded population of our country. I heard of FGM when i was in grade six one of our sirs told us briefly about it and felt really disgusted that how women are subjected towards such pain and torture. More surprising is that it’s practiced here in Pakistan as well. A big tap on the back to Aneka for taking this step of writing such an article Good job, My prayers also for all the women who suffer such things.Recommend

  • muhammad adeel

    omg!!! i always read that fgm happened in african countries only.why hasn’t any journalist reported earlire that it was taking place right here in pakistan also!!!
    this is beyond shocking.i think that the dozens of maulvis appearing daily on ramzan specials should say it clearly that fgm is a crime and indicative of an insecure,misogynistic mentality.
    the message needs to go out , loud and clear,we won’t accept such brutalities in pakistan.Recommend

  • Imran Munawar

    ” FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CULTURE, TRADITION OR RELIGION. IT IS TORTURE AND A CRIME. ”

    Wish people grow up with better mental states, and stop following such unhealthy activities.
    Thanks to the author and Express Tribune for posting such eye opening articles.Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    A horrible thing to do to someone!Recommend

  • WT

    Again Trying to Blame and target Pakistan…!!!

    There is no act of FGM in Pakistan whatsoever..! This practice is common in Africa. The writer has shown biased approach by targeting Pakistan .. The females affected by FGM in Pakistan might not cross few hundreds but She hasn’t explained the status of affairs in others parts of the World.!!! A pathetic effort against Pakistan and Islam…..

    She should have taken up this issue as a social injustice to the female throughout the World, where ever this practice is prevalent.!Recommend

  • woohoo

    Islam is a perfect way of life given to the prophet directly by Allah.
    If it is a hadith, then, it is our beloved prophet’s opinion. If he accepts it (though not requiring it), I would recommend it rather than not.
    Follow Islam and never question or try reason it. Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Thanks for sharing. Its informative.Recommend

  • aisha

    I want to puke!Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    You’ve taken a very brave step. Well done!!Recommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari

    FGM and MGM both are equaly a baseless practice being observed in Muslim community all around the world ,Recommend

  • Anoop

    My God. I cringed while reading this article. Quite a inhuman act.

    “how is cutting or partially/completely removing parts of the female genitalia an honourable thing for women? What is it that makes it honourable? ”

    You can ask the same question with respect to men. Circumcision of Male Genitalia should be banned for Children. Since, Children are incapable to decide if they need it. Only when they reach the legal age of adults, say 18, they acquire the capability to decide for themselves.

    I know asking for this is a taboo in Pakistan, but without this your article is incomplete, dont you think?Recommend

  • JustAnotherGuy

    With all due respect to our Bohri brothers.. Please stop FGM. I feel sad for all the women who has to go through this pain. Its just said. :(Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/ahmadbabar Ahmad Babar

    We need to put an end to this heinous crime! This is NOT Islam, this is torture and Islam doesn’t allow for it!Recommend

  • parvez

    The bit about FGM in Pakistan was a bit of an eye opener. Thanks.Recommend

  • Zamer95

    See the problem of FGM does not come from religion it comes from culture. Many muslims in the East Africa have been accused of this practice because they brought religion and culture into one which ultimately will deface your religion. These practices have been done for a very long time now and some people decided to keep them and try to validate them with Hadiths or sayings of some very wise people sadly most of these people where illiterate and blindly followed them into a tunnel of self destruction. This pratice in my opinion should be rejected by the culture and then only will it have a chance to get rejected from the hearts of humans.Recommend

  • Zamer95

    @Dr,A.K.Tewari:
    Actually MGM does have some very life saving qualities, MGM provides more protection during intercourse, it is also more hygienic, it also protects your wife from getting cervical cancer when you have intercourse with her. Since you’re a doctor I thought you knew that but you didn’t. Just by the way I’m 15 years old and I know this, I believe you should do your research before you so you do not make a mockery out of yourself to the general public. Thank you.Recommend

  • fatema

    Since this author mentioned the Bohri Community and me being a Bohri I would like to say that there is a way of doing it. I have had it done and my sisters and friends and whoever i know in my community and its not painful for us. i am married and it has not hindered my sexual life with my husband in any way or any of my friends who are married and have several children. We have very normal and infact good sexual lives and childbirth. If it was that bad for us i am sure none of us would have had it done. I am very much aware of this practice in Africa and even in Pakistan but i am sorry to say people take suck things to extremes. This practice is on going in the Middle East as well which the author forgot to mention. i would just like to tell the author she shouldn’t mention such information before having it proved and verified. What this author is talking about the extremes of FGM which leads to such bad cases for the girls and we Bohri community don’t torture our girls in this way. And just to mention this practice has decreased in the last couple of years in our community. Recommend

  • fatema

    @Amjad:
    Bohri community is part gujrati and part middle eastern. and nobody brought anything with them its just a religious ritual practiced in any muslim country no matter how many the numbers. thankyou.:)Recommend

  • Frank

    It is not just the young women of
    Pakistan but also British girls of
    Pakistani origin who are subjected to
    this procedure. Young British girls
    pack their bags with their favourite
    outfits, books and toys and jump with
    joy at the thought of six weeks of
    holiday with their relatives. However,
    many young girls are unaware that
    their parents are taking them to
    Pakistan to carry out the FGM
    procedure.

    The above claim is totally false. Please Express Tribune check claims like this. This seriously damages your credibility. No paper in the world allows writers to say anything and everything.

    I have never in my life heard of this abhorrent custom being practiced in Pakistan. I swear, you liberals are scarier than the Mullahs!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/264/huma-iqbal/ Huma Iqbal

    The topic under discussion is good and most of us relate it to the African culture only. However, I think Aneka should have given some facts and data to support her point about the Bohra community or else completely deleted it from there. It seems a filler and too random; perhaps a proper thread could have been made while writing and editing. Nevertheless, this piece urges for further researches against this grossly inhumane act. Recommend

  • Asad

    Although Female Circumcision is not required as per religion.. But i guess ppl are wrongly referring FGM as circumcision. Circumcision is just removal of little bit of skin which should have no side effects. Same thing is done in Boys and we never saw any side effects of it. FGM i don’t know what exactly is being done on the name of it. But that surely has no relevancy with Islam.

    Please have a Look at these links

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?ID=1702
    http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/45528Recommend

  • maria

    i heard about it almost 3 years back and aneka is right about FGM; its one of the painful acts women go through just in the name of culture, widely practiced in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Sane

    Please refrain from commenting negatively on “Hadees” and quoting it without mentioning all the relevant Hadees on this topic.

    Don’t try to earn cheap popularity by such tacticsRecommend

  • MH

    Get some life…..when will you stop degrading Pakistan for every bad thing going on in this world. FGM practising people are way too less in Pakistan than in some other African countries. Why must you mention Pakistan. Are you too blind to see even a single good thing in Pak? Or does it not go well with your intentions! Recommend

  • Moiz

    @Frank:
    read the comment above yours.Recommend

  • SSM

    This is INSANE! And the silliest part is that these people are doing this nonsense in the name of religion. This is sheer ignorance! I wish people were more literate when it comes to religion.
    ‘female circumcision’ this is the most bizzare thing i have ever heard, how can anyone in their right mind take this seriously?!?!? – sigh -
    p.s. this article was an eye-opener! Recommend

  • saleem

    This is disgraceful even if its just one case/person in Pakistan, the writer should be thanked for bringing this up . The Bohri used to be one of the forward looking communities in Pakistan till the subtle changes brought about in the eightees with the Twin burqa for women and the regular caps for men never imagined the degeneration of humanity would go this far.Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman

    Thanks for sharing this very daring article but one thing I would like to really know is that did you actually discuued it with BOHRAS before writing this??? Because the BOHRAS I know and after reading this article I talked to a few really close friends and they were not practicing this female genital mutilation!!!. Would like a reply from you on this please.
    [email protected] Recommend

  • horrified

    oh my God..this is so bad!! oh dear :( why do people do this! Recommend

  • http://n/a Dforcent

    @hina

    its ok for males bcoz its sunnah and whole world adopting it due to medical effects.
    but i also condemns it and shame for all those who do this with little babies.Recommend

  • Sana

    @Ovais:
    And what facts or numbers support your argument? If you have tangible evidence that supports your claim that this doesn’t in fact happen in Pakistan, please share. Recommend

  • Ovais Khan

    The mere thought of it made me passout :ORecommend

  • AnisAqeel

    It is a bad shot by the author just to get little attention of the people who don’t know about this subject and is backed by nothing but bias. This practice is ancient and nothing to do with Islam rather more of Pagans, Christian and Voodoo and people with little touch to civilization do it more and is spread unequally among African territories.
    There is no comparison to circumcision that came to existence during or before Old Testament and is considered healthy enough that the religions like Hinduism, Christianity or Atheists have started using it in highly developed and civilized nations.
    Fatima has very well said and is first hand information but author has no clue to inject it religiously into her article as a Pakistani practice. If we take author’s own figures the stats come to this:
    If all the Bohra community is females and all go through FGM practice, it is 00.000,0018 per cent in Pakistan. Recommend

  • AS

    Great article Aneka and Kudos for being so so brave .It takes courage for a girl to talk about something so unknown to the general public and to voice it out to a Nation which is deeply deeply and in many cases wrongly embedded in the cultures and traditions of the sub continent and much before era.I being doctor can tell one thing to all the people reading this article that the Reason Men ( and I am sure 100% everyone will agree on this ) that men are more sexually inclined since adolescent is due to their hormones, levels of different Chemical stimulants in the brain which arent of that level in females and also due tot he fact that their gentalia is outside the body, that is the testes and sex organ.The slight touch of their organ with any cloth or anythign stimulates it.On the other hand the female organs -Ovaries and Uterus are inside the behind, hidden under layers of fat muscles and fascias.No part of her organ is outside hence there is no stimulation of it from the outer side.Hence from medical point also FGM is A HENIOUS CRIME, BECAUSE IT DOESNOT PREVENT WHATEVER the doers of FGM claim to prevent.Recommend

  • AnisAqeel

    @Dr,A.K.Tewari:
    MGM or male circumcisions are hygienic, reduces sexually acquired diseases, reduces HIV and AIDS, increases sexual pleasure saves females from acquiring some genital diseases to mention a few. Although not a part of Hindu or Christian religion, is being practiced and inceasing popularity and is being advised by physicians in USA hospitals and performed even with the new born with the consent of their parents.
    Are you a Physician or a Phd Dr.?Recommend

  • kk

    please aneka don’t quote this stuff if you don’t know the facts why you are saying that it’s happening in pakistan? do you have any authentic source for that please don’t show the bad face of our country already we are going through a bad crisis we have a much much bigger to issues to discuss and needs to be settled.

    Instead of raising taboo issues please do something some constructive things? you read on the net and think to write about it. its not fair. Do you know anyone in your friend circle who gone through this act???????? personal.

    please think of a bigger issues in pakistan think about our muslims who labelled as a terrorist all over the world. if you can do something for that it will be good thing. write blogs about it try to change the perception of the global people that our islam is not a terrorism promoters our last prophet (P.B.U.H.) was not given us this message. HE (P.B.U.H) always spread love and generosity among peoples. Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Author: “Once again, from an Islamic perspective, God creates men and women alike, in the best design possible. Surely, it is wrong to alter the design that God has put together in the human form.”

    By that logic, even male circumcision should be banned. I’ve always found it odd how religious people attack homosexuality for being “unnatural”, while not realizing that nature intended human males to have foreskins and it’s against nature to cut them off.Recommend

  • MK

    @Dr,A.K.Tewari:

    This topic is about FGM, not male circumcision. You are welcome to write one on male circumcision here.

    However let me share my knowledge about male circumcision. “The World Health Organization declared four years ago that circumcision should be part of any strategy to prevent HIV infection in men.”

    It is hygienic and helps prevent infections. Also you do not hear about complaints of trauma (physiological or physical) by circumcised males. It is not carried out to prevent men from any normal activities, and unlike FGM it does not hinder any normal male bodily function. It is carried out for religious reasons in Jews and Muslims and for hygienic and infection prevention reasons(after they “discovered” the reasons behind religious recommendations dating centuries back) in other cultures especially in the west. Recommend

  • http://g VINOD

    @Ovais:
    I think denial is the biggest malady. Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com/ Shumaila

    I don’t get why people are being so stupid about this, targeting the author for being unpatriotic or anti-Pakistan. Even if its really rare, or there are only a couple hundred cases of this occuring in Pakistan, it still needs to be highlighted! Its a disgusting practice and awareness is the first step to bringing it down. Which is why I am so glad this was written.

    I didn’t know it happened here too, but unlike some, I have the humility to accept that my personal experience may not be the whole truth, and to stand corrected when new information arises, instead of irrationally accusing the author of propagating lies. What is wrong with you guys?Recommend

  • G. Din

    @Frank:
    “I have never in my life heard of this abhorrent custom being practiced in Pakistan. “
    I can guarantee that you have not heard of many other abhorrent customs, too. Does that mean they don’t exist? Are you some kind of a”standard” in such matters? May be it pricks your balloon of Islamic superiority? A little humility will do you good and may induce you not to burst forth with your half-baked opinion.Recommend

  • kk

    aneka instead of taboo think over to get rid off the label of terrorism on the muslim community.Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com/ Shumaila

    kk, there is a very easy way to decrease our impression of being violent barbarians – by decrying violent barbaric practises and banning them. The author is doing the first thing.Recommend

  • Danial

    I am a Bohri and I can state factually that female circumcision is practiced by our community. Of course, we claim it is for hygiene reasons.Recommend

  • Objectively Speaking

    Good article but the original one in Newsline of August 2011 is betterRecommend

  • TANOLI.

    I dont think so Bohra community does this no way they are good educated and bussines
    men people this all think happend in africa even christian peoples and enimist all does this.Recommend

  • Frank

    G Din

    I can guarantee that you have not
    heard of many other abhorrent customs,
    too. Does that mean they don’t exist?
    Are you some kind of a”standard” in
    such matters? May be it pricks your
    balloon of Islamic superiority? A
    little humility will do you good and
    may induce you not to burst forth with
    your half-baked opinion.

    That is not the point, Gunga Din, The point is that the author gives the impression this repugnant practice is quite widespread in Pakistan, which is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. Where would these liberals be without their causes? They pose as great humanitarians but in fact the liberals thrive on human suffering, they revel in it. Where would they be without human pain and suffering?Recommend

  • Atif Iqbal

    Desert Flower (2009) is a movie made on the same topic. One should watch that movie.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1054580/Recommend

  • Ayesha

    This article is certainly an eye opener. But what I did not understand is why hasn’t the writer given more details about it being practised in the Bohra community? I have many Bohri friends and none of them have mentioned it or ever being tortured and mutilated. I think the writer exaggerated this fact a little bit. I’m not saying it isn’t practised anywhere else in the world, as it is a painful and useless practise, but what fatema has written above in her comment should have been written in the article to clarify that it isn’t so extreme here.Recommend

  • Sundus Shahid

    This is insane… I never knew about this thing happening in Pakistan… A daring act by the writerRecommend

  • Shabbir

    Looks like you’re targeting the Bohras for some reason. I don’t know the scientific implications of FGM, but I know it’s not the same thing what the Bohras practice. Please get your facts straight. Do not mislead others in your own “opinions”.Recommend

  • Danial

    @Shabbir, perhaps you can tell us what the Bohras actually practice.Recommend

  • Basim Ali Ja`fari

    I will not criticize the author, for to err is human, but she could have been more conscientious when choosing such a topic (kudos to her for choosing it in the first place though; I never think of writing about such things!)

    Problems I have with this article:
    1) The author says there’s one hadith, and dismisses the issue Islamically as if it’s one aberrant practice waiting to get lost. What’s more annoying is that a lot of people jump in bolstering her dismissal, saying Islam has nothing to do with this whatsoever and this is something that pre-dates Islam (so what? did you know: 7 circumambulations of the Kaa’ba pre-date Islam too?).
    She failed to mention that the Shaafi’i fiqh deems in mandatory. That’s not ‘nothing’. We have two entire chapters in al-Wasaa’il al Shi’a by Shaykh Hurr al Amili (which is a classical hadith book for Imami/Jaa’fari/Ithna Ashari Shi’ites) titled:
    ‘Chapter on that there is no harm in circumcising girls, and its etiquette’ and ‘Chapter on the obligation of circumcision upon men and the absence of obligation of circumcision upon women’. That again, is not: ‘nothing’.
    (btw, there are some very interesting ahadith in these two chapters; those willing to see them can email me at [email protected])

    2) A couple of posts mentioned this, but I thought it was necessary to reiterate: there’s a very clear difference between FMG and circumcision. The author using the terms interchangeably reflects on her insufficient knowledge on the subject (sorry for being so blunt, but all the support must be met with some serious critique!). The ahadith mention this distinction; the fatwa from sunnipath mentioned it. If the author knew the subject well, she wouldn’t have done such a mistake.

    3) And finally, avid for her article to leave a lasting impression on the readers’ minds, many of her points are made against circumcision in general and not female circumcision specifically (such as it not being mentioned in the Qur’an, God giving us imperfect bodies, people having a right to choose?!). So if we were to take them as they are stated, what we have is an article condemning the very widespread and Islamically obligatory practice of male circumcision as well.

    No offense meant to anyone. Good work raising such a taboo issue, but a bit more effort could have been put into this. Recommend

  • kk

    don’t you think fistula is worst than FGM???Recommend

  • Meera Ghani

    Aneka,

    Thanks for raising your voice against such inhumane torture of women being carried out in the name of region, culture and traditions. FGM is a crime and should be banned regardless of how many people practice it.

    And I appreciate you being so candid in your article, its understandably a very difficult topic to write about especially in a Pakistani paper. I was very relieved to see that most of the commentators agree that its a horrid and cruel practice and should have no place in any society.

    I personally am against make circumcision as well, as it serves no purpose in this day in age where most people are very careful about their hygiene.

    Some of the horror stories you shared made me very upset, angry and sad. I cant imagine any parents putting their children through something as torturous as FGM. Its nothing short of evil. The little girls story has left me very disturbed.

    I hope more people speak up against this torture and prevent little girls from being victimized. Once again very brave piece and kudos to you for raising your voice.Recommend

  • Naheed

    This is shocking! I had first come to know of it in the The Reader’s Digest in an interview with Waris Diri and had an impression that this brutal practice is followed only in Africa, but this is even more shocking to learn that this is happening in Pakistan as well. May God have mercy on us!Recommend

  • Henna

    @woohoo
    “never question or eason with islam”

    so we should become blind dogs? Recommend

  • random

    This is truly an inhumane practice which has no basis in religion and should be banned. Having said that, its well known that the practice is being done in African countries. I am not sure about Pakistan.
    Please share some credible news reports if you have any… Recommend

  • AKPK

    Well done! by the way FGM is not the teaching of Islam, it is culture…. Truly dipicted Recommend

  • Karachi Se …

    @Loneliberal PK:
    I would go to the extent to say, that male circumcision has been proven,
    to be absolutely unnecessary. It has also been judged to actually cause
    complication in the formation and development of male genitals.
    This is a subject that should receive equal treatment and voice as FGM.
    BOTH ARE REPULSIVE, REPUGNANT, PRIMITIVE PRACTICES.
    Medical science and means of hygiene have improved significantly,
    since the time of the Prophet (PBUH). It is high time, we read the scriptures,
    in the context of our time, day and age. Recommend

  • http://humasattars.wordpress.com Huma

    Indeed a brave topic. However, I would suggest you don’t talk on the basis of mere heresay. Please give references when writing on a tabboo subject like this specially since you have pointed out the Bohra community to have this as a common practice. Your readers would like to know the source of your information to consider it authentic.Recommend

  • Sana

    having two Bohra people Fatema and Danial agreeing that this is practised makes me cringe!
    i think if female clitoris is being removed then the tip of men’s genitals should be cut off as well! eye for an eye LOLRecommend

  • woohoo

    @Henna:
    If you question hadith (our belived Prophet’s own words and opinions), you are contradicting Allah’s message and the truthfulness of the Prophet’s claims of prophethood. There is only one god, Allah and Mohammed (PUBH) is his final and perfect prophet.
    Mohammed’s message is that of Allah and is perfect. Any change to that perfect way of life can only result in something inferior.Recommend

  • Freya

    @Ovais:

    I don’t get why people do not accept harsh realities to a certain issue. Do you want to witness a live event to be able to believe all this? Gang rape, female mutilation, acid, marraige of young 6, 7 year old girls to old men! dude! everything happens in Pakistan! Stop being so much in a dreamland! Recommend

  • Freya

    Arn’t you tired of blaming the rest of the world for your problems? Who is creating these problems? It’s pakistanis themselves! Refusing to see reality, refusing to raise a voice, refusing to accept that such crap CAN and IS happening in Pakistan!!! Why not raise taboo issues? Why let innocent young women die in pain and torture?? I can’t believe someone can come up with such an inhumane response to this piece of article. I assume that when someone will bring you to witness live such an event then you’re going to believe it. Please get out of denial state and start WORKING for an enlightened country. Sitting and whining, crying out why others are treating bad will NOT solve any matters for you! Recommend

  • S.A

    @woohoo:
    This is downright ridiculous. Firstly, I don’t think that such a thing is even existent in Islam and even if it is then how can you justify such a brutal act? Try going through this torture, I can bet you won’t be able to say ‘Woohoo’ again.Recommend

  • ammy

    As far as male circumcision is concerned that is followed by muslim community largely but one should has one’s facts straight before making a statement about something horrible like FGM. In Pakistan, or in muslim community all around the world FGM is not widespread. i live in pak and i never ever met a muslim girl who mentioned such a thing. may be there are some communities that follow this practice but it is not rampant in muslim world. however, male circumcision is something not as horrible as FGM, even WHO (World Health Organization)is promoting male circumcision in African countries as it can be a minor protection against HIV.Recommend

  • from India

    @ Amjad – how female circumcision be indian when islam itself is imported from arabia ? anything bad your nation has be it dowry or FGM it is always linked to india … thats ridiculous !!Recommend

  • Shariq Qureshi

    @Iftikhar-ur-Rehman:
    i wudnt b surprised if the Bohra community wasn’t contacted on the subject matter.Recommend

  • optimist

    I have been following Pakistani & foreign media since 1985 and it is NEWS for me!!!!

    Bohra community has roots in Gujrat India as mentioned by another commentator. Have they brought it from there? If yes, does it also happen in India too??

    I dont want to blame the author with conpiracy theories but something is really strange here!Recommend

  • woohoo

    @S.A:

    This is downright ridiculous. Firstly,
    I don’t think that such a thing is
    even existent in Islam and even if it
    is then how can you justify such a
    brutal act?

    Below is the reference;

    Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 41:
    General Behavior (Kitab Al-Adab)
    Number 5251:
    Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah:
    A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.

    Our beloved prophet’s words are never brutal. They are only beneficial for mankind.
    Muslim nations all over the world are dictated by khafirs only because we deviate from Allah’s message. Let female circumcision be the first small step towards the real and accurate practice of Islam.Recommend

  • Faheem

    I dont know about FGM in Pakistan but I do know much about “Foeticide in India” and I would like to ask the author to first explain this brutal practice in India before pointing fingers on us!!Recommend

  • tauha khan

    @Hina: circumcision in islam is among the highest recommended sunnah.
    “Circumcision is a commendable act for men (Sunnah) and is an honourable thing for women (Makromah).”
    hope this video will clear ur confusion.
    http://youtu.be/8W-vjtN-huURecommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari

    @WT:

    Perhaps it not the poor Pakistan but the real target is ISLAMIC republic of Pakistan., Recommend

  • Sonu

    This practice does exist in Pakistan. I am a gujrati in Pakistan, had not heard abt it before bt now that I read it showed it to my mother and she seems to think that is why the bohris have their daughters coming out parties when they are baligh. Hope it is untrue since i have been to such dawats alot. clearly unislamic. Recommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari

    @Henna: A bold statement indeed .
    I would like to know your frank opinion on MGM , TOO ..Recommend

  • Haidar Katha

    It doesn’t make sense. I have read the article and most of the comments and I fail to understand what is the point of it. Forgetting the extreme cases – there is neither enough proof to say it is bad physically or wrong/disallowed islamically. So the practice happens. Is it wrong? Why?
    To say God made men perfect the way they are and hence even male circumcision should not be carried is one of the lamest argument really. Tell me – are disabled children also perfect and we should not do anything to help and make life easier for them.
    The bohri community is one of the most educated and forward looking Islamic community in our country. To say that they follow this practice as being traditionalist and living in old times is perhaps inadequate
    All in all I feel the author wanted to highlight something which happens in our society which can be deemed as morally wrong according to the autor and has something to do with women – but unfortunately without much rather any proof and research whatsoever.Recommend

  • Reason

    @woohoo:
    There was a childhood game I played called ‘Chinese Whispers’; a couple of us, maybe eight kids, sat in a circle, and we would start the game with one of us whispering something into the ear of the person next to us. By the time the last person heard the sentence, it would be contorted into something completely different.

    In the history of all religions, from the earliest, to the latest, successive generations of clerics have contorted the simple message of goodness, kindness and humility into rigid dogma – your unfortunate ignorance of these historical facts, and the capacity of ideologies to be manipulated and changed – perhaps this article will open your eyes to the manipulations of religion by zealots (http://tribune.com.pk/story/235143/the-making-of-the-modern-maulvi–i/)
    You may feel that it is wrong to question the Ahadith, even those that condone something as brutal as genital mutilation – but for the inquisitive, thinking mind, this is unacceptable – a religion edict should be sensible, and there should be some benefit in following it – FGM has no medical, psychological or aesthetic benefits – therefore, it is overwhelmingly, wrong. Recommend

  • Reason
  • yamna hassan

    I wanna slap the man in the videoooo!!!

    Plus whats the authenticity of the hadith mentioned? I cannot believe that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) could support this act. :SRecommend

  • noreen

    for everyone who questioned the credibility of the author about the prevalence of this act in bohri’s here i would like to tell you that its very true. my best friends are bohri’s and they have told me that it does happen. HOWEVER any one with some knowledge abt FGM should know that there are many types of it and as far as bohri’s are concerned according to my friends its not the stitching up of vagina {which is the most gruesome and painful} but removal of a vein from the clitoris which according to my friends ensures that girls do not get “Horny”. and its done at around 7 or 8 years of age.Recommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari

    The given article and comments on it will again flash the real face of a religion claimiog to be a religion of peace to the people all around the world . The practice of circumcision both in male and female at immature age is done to trap one for ever within the
    Islam so that he or she could not escape after realizing the real face of Islam later on . That is how this primitive religion has maintained its existance .Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    One very important issue the author has missed is the factor of hygiene in such procedures.

    Such procedures are not conducted in a sophisticated hospital with sterile equipment. I know, that especially in Africa, there have been several cases of severe infections and deaths.

    This entire procedure is utterly inhuman.Recommend

  • Rizvi

    Inhumanity at its peak.. Recommend