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Female Genital Mutilation

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Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision, is a destructive and invasive procedure involving the removal or alteration of female genital. The procedure is carried out at a variety of ages, ranging from shortly after birth to some time during the first pregnancy, but most commonly occurs between the ages of four and eight. There are three main types of FGC that are practiced: Type I (Sunna circumcision), Type II (Excision), and Type III (Infibulation). These three operation range in intensity, from the "mildness" of Type I, to the extreme Type III.

The practice occurs in Africa, the Middle East, parts of Asia, and in immigrant communities in Europe and North America. An estimated 135 million of the world's girls and women have undergone genital mutilation, and two million girls a year are at risk - approximately 6,000 per day - about one every 15 seconds. (1) Although Female Genital Mutilation predates Islam and is not practiced by the majority of Muslims, it has acquired this religious dimension. However, FGM is a cross-cultural and cross-religious ritual. In Africa and the Middle East it is performed by Muslims, Coptic Christians, members of various indigenous groups, Protestants, and Catholics; to name a few.

The type of mutilation practiced, the age at which it is carried out, and the way its done varies according to a variety of factors, including the woman or girl's ethnic group, what country they are living in, whether in a rural or urban area and their socio-economic background. The first and "mildest" type of FGM is called "sunna circumcision" or Type I. The term "Sunna" refers to tradition as taught by the prophet Muhammad. This specific procedure involves the...

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...ted with a blunt penknife.

After the operation, no one was allowed to aid me to walk. The stuff they put on my wound stank and was painful. These were terrible times for me. Each time I wanted to urinate, I was forced to stand upright. The urine would spread over the wound and would cause fresh pain all over again. Sometimes I had to force myself not to urinate for fear of the terrible pain. I was not given any anesthetic in the operation to reduce my pain, nor any antibiotics to fight against infection. Afterwards, I hemorrhaged and became anemic. This was attributed to witchcraft. I suffered for a long time from acute vaginal infections."

Hannah Koroma, Sierra Leone

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Internet Sources:

1) http://www.religioustolerance.org/fem_cirm.htm

2) http://www.fgmnetwork.org/intro/fgmintro.html

3) http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/femgen/fgm1.htm#a4
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