Our Complicity in Female Genital Mutilation

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Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Ines Laufer, founder of the TaskForce FGM in Germany that is lobbying for the safe protection of immigrant girls. In recent years, the organization has been initiating several court-proceedings to prevent girls from being taken to their countries of origin where they would face the risk of mutilation. Since April 2010, the TaskForce has been running Germany’s unique emergency-hotline, SOS FGM, which provides immediate help if girls are at risk and also offers access to medical, psychological and legal help. With big success, the TaskForce launched the charity-campaign VISION ACTION CHANGE in November 2010 to unite musicians, artists and designers to take a stand against FGM. At their homonymous music-album , 14 artists from Africa, Europe and the U.S. dedicate their music to the efforts for an end of FGM.

FP: Ines Laufer, welcome to Frontpge Interview.

In our first interview two years ago, we talked about the European policy of tolerance and non-interference towards FGM. Has there been any change?

Laufer: Thanks Jamie.

Yes, we discussed the lack of protection for immigrant girls who, despite living in the EU, continue to be subjected to the mutilation with a prevalence of up to 80% within the high-risk-groups (i.e. from Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt, etc.) Although politicians continuously affirm that FGM is a grievous violation of human rights, they still refuse to even discuss effective strategies, such as medical check-ups and medical professionals’ duty to report mutilation when they detect it. These strategies can help pave the way for the prosecution of the perpetrators within the families and lead to a prohibition of parents taking their minor daughters to the countries of origin where they would face a high risk of being subjected to FGM.

FP: So what are these politicians proposing to do to change this situation?

Laufer: They support education and information campaigns. Their thinking is that by educating the governments and the population in the concerned countries — as well as immigrants — about the devastating consequences of FGM, we increase the chances of persuading the perpetrators to abandon the mutilations.

FP: And what do you think of this strategy?

Laufer: It is destined to badly fail because it is based on the very wrong assumption that those who perpetrate Female Genital Mutilation do this because of a lack of knowledge, education and awareness. The premise is that they are in a state of uninformed innocence. This approach lets the perpetrators off the hook and disguises the true nature of FGM as a form of systematic violence which intends to keep the subordination of girls and women in the concerned – predominantly Muslim – societies alive.

We can prove with empirical facts and data that those who are in favor of FGM are far away from being unknowing: The educated elites at a high level of wealth mutilate their children at the same or even higher extent than the uneducated and poor classes of population.

FP: Give us some examples please.

Laufer: Sure:

In Sudan, after 70 years of awareness-raising campaigns, the prevalence of FGM did not decline a single percent and remains as high as 89%. The mutilation-rate in highly educated families is 3% higher than in uneducated ones. In the wealthiest class of population, the prevalence of FGM is even 20% higher than in the poorest class.

In Ethiopia, in the cities including Addis Abeba, there’s a 20% higher prevalence of FGM than in rural areas. Almost 80% of victims are to be found in highly-educated families (secondary and higher). This number is only 2% lower than among uneducated, illiterate ones.

In Egypt, there is no significant difference to be found: Almost every girl in highly educated families (92%) is subjected to Female Genital Mutilation. And 75% of mutilations are executed by educated medical professionals (first of all nurses) who propagate the continuation of this practice for their own monetary benefits.

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  • KathleenP

    I agree that the time to take aggressive action against FGM is long overdue; hopes that it would quickly fall out of fashion as education, prosperity and contact with the West increased, as happened in China with the practice of female foot-binding, have not materialized. China is a very different culture from the savage tribal cultures that practice FGM. Once the Chinese as a culture began to be modernized and westernized, foot-binding was rapidly abandoned, within a single generation. The last Chinese women to have been subjected to this mutilation will soon die of old age .Meanwhile little girls barely past toddlerhood are having their genitals mutilated all over the Muslim world. Perhaps we can't completely eliminate it in the countries of origin, but Western countries can sure as hell do something about it happening to their own citizens, if they have the courage and the will. It's time to stop this B.S. about "respecting cultural differences" in immigrant communities. Torture is not culture.

  • Jhon

    No one have the right to mutilate a part of someone else's body without his/her concern, this is a gruesome violation of human rights… only in Islam such practice can be found and still practiced to this very minute. But what can we do about it? that religion of abomination even condone parents who kill their children or grandchildren.

    • Ozzy

      Everyday around the world, members of a blood only desert tribe maim their infant boys to mark them for life as the property of the tribe. They claim they have ordered by god to do so, someone who no one has heard from for over a millennium. No it is not only Islam that maims children.

      • tanstaafl

        Do they cut of the boy's penises? Scarring and sexual mutilation would seem to be just a bit different. Don't excuse Islam, it practices gender aparteid.

  • crackerjack

    Our complicity in male genital mutilation goes hand in hand with our complicity in female genital mutilation.

    In Germany, many of the same "doctors" who peform male circumcision also conduct female circumcision.

    As long as we accept ritual male genital mutilation on the basis of cultur, custom and freedom of religion, we put custom and religious tradition before the right of infants to physical integrity.

    • waterwillows

      Male circumcision does not leave the boy unable to experience the sexual experience. It is the female that is turned in a wooden board.
      How dare you compare the two. That like saying the boo-boo you got on you arm is the same as having it chopped off.
      Circumcised men are actually pretty good sexual partners. Circumcised females are little more than a semen toliet.

      • No dhimmi

        How dare YOU say it's okay to strap a baby BOY on a board and hack off his genitals?! The foreskin is not some inconsequential bit of skin – it's an ORGAN with miles of nerve endings. Your sexual excuse is morally repugnant, frankly. And it is false as well. The foreskin moisturizes and protects the inner skin – circumcised men are clearly MUTILATED and lose sensitivity. I wager you are simply justifying male genital mutilation because you've either done it to your children, or your father, brother or other male relative have been mutilated, or you are a religious fanatic.

        Perhaps you are one of the many who are making money off the multibillion-dollar foreskin industry?

    • StephenD

      I knew it wouldn't take long before some dolt tried to compare Male circumcision to this atrocity. I'm only surprised that you hadn't also equated the practice as held in "Religious rituals" and compare that as equally legitimate. What is so befuddling to me is you guys will ALWAYS try to find an excuse. Never have I seen one of you lefties admit that, yeah THIS is wrong. I disagree with everything else you've said thus far but on this, the intentional mutilation of girls, I agree with you that it is wrong. You won't even take that brief quick step. Pathetic.

      • Mowgli

        Nobody (well, excluding the practitioners in certain miserable countries) is making excuses for FGM, and in general what happens* to these unfortunate girls is much worse than what happens to nearly a third of boys around the world (the majority of whom are Muslims, as it happens). However, defenders of FGM tend to use _exactly_ the same arguments for maintaining their practice as do those who defend male circumcision (health, cleanliness, religion, etc.). It's not hard to imagine a world where male circumcision is almost unheard of in the developed world (the US, Israel and South Korea are the outliers), in which case we in the West would be uniformly outraged at another barbaric Muslim practice.

        * It seems that in Indonesia and Malaysia the most common procedure is to remove only the clitoral hood (prepuce), which is directly comparable to male circumcision. Even so, try reading this and see if it doesn't make your skin crawl: http://aandes.blogspot.com/2010/04/circumcision.h

    • William_Z

      To present the two as equal means you're a fool.

  • Chezwick_mac

    My God. The American Association of Pediatrics actually tried to co-opt the practice of FGM by floating a trial balloon a year or two ago suggesting their willingness to engage in "ritual nicking" of immigrant female patients. I suppose their hope was to replace the mutilation with a less invasive procedure, but all they were doing was legitimizing the custom. It was an obscene example of multicultural dhimmitude….our trusted and respected professionals willing to engage in un-necessary surgery in order to placate Muslim immigrants.

    They backed down after a fire-storm of protest. I still don't know whose brilliant idea this was within the AAP. As far as I can remember, no one took ownership.

    • yrd4soundingoff

      I sure would like to know how that even got to be a statement that the AAP released. It must have been discussed and passed through many hands before being sent out to the media. It seems we may have even more of a problem than we realize when our own medical personnel would rather give in to such barbarism than help stop it.

      • mike B

        The American Psychiatric Association stormed homosexuality into acceptance as something healthy, wholesome, normal, and natural, with the fiction that it is simply another benign stop on the wide spectrum of human sexuality, and without underlying trauma and emotional disorder.

        These same medical doctors also accept the notion that a reasonable treatment of gender identity disorder or sexual preference disorder is to surgically carve a male into a female, or a female into a male, yet cry outrage at the notion that sexual preference can be modified with success by non-destructive talk therapy.

        The medical profession is subject to the same socio-political follies and fictions as is every other category of human kind.

  • http://unmoderatedfreespeech.blogspot.com/ Philip Smeeton

    I don't understand why the world, especially the female population, does not rise up in horror and bring an end to this savagery. Forbid this on a global basis and hand out prison sentences to it's practitioners. How would you like someone to do this to you? Sanction nations that are not actively engaged in eradicating this monstrous behaviour. Whatever happened to feminism?

    • davarino

      feminists probably had theirs removed a long time ago.

    • mike B

      When women rise up they get their Muslim heads cut off, as well as their Muslim clitoris.

      And Feminism!?! Do you seriously believe that feminism has anything to do with the liberation of women and girls? Good grief. Open your eyes.

    • samsgran1948

      Feminism, Liberalism, all those other -isms have nothing to do with advancing anyone's welfare except their own. It's all about power — their; power. In its early days, the feminist movement actually was concerned with the welfare of non-Liberal, non-academic, non-credentialed, truly oppressed women around the world. Today's so-called feminist movement is all about credentials, tenure and power.


  • waterwillows

    I have said it before. I'll say it again. The countries that treat their women poorly are the countries that are backward, with no chance of doing better.
    To send foreign aid to these countries is just throwing money away. They need to get 'things right' first before they can expect any prosperity.
    As the medical west has taken on the job of imposing this practice on females, they too can expect a continuing decline in prosperity. Things can always get worse.
    The west needs to get things right and then they can look to an upturn.

  • Linda

    We send or tax dollars to these barbaric countries?? Why? Cut them off( pardon the pun).They are "mindless" subserviant fools! IQ's of the moron..to allow this. I do not care what they do ..but we sure as hell need> not <sustain it!

  • mikeB

    I'm looking forward to seeing a clitoral circumcision booth at the next corporate diversity and multicultural fair!

  • Guest

    I understand, and agree with, the general premises of this article but I would like to raise the following point which is NEVER dealt with: why should we, the people of the West, have to concern ourselves — financially, medically, socially, morally — with these barbaric, inhumane and destructive practices of this evil ideology? It would be far preferable, for OUR sakes — individually, nationally and civilizationally — if we were to forbid ALL immigration of Moslems and, of those presently here, take steps to DEPORT them. For example, I agree that Moslem females of school age should be regularly examined (I see no reason to subject non-Moslem children to such an exam). However, if they are found to be genitally mutilated, then the child, its parents, the perpetrator (if her identity can be discovered) should all be deported back to the 'home' country, and the imam of the mosque the child's family attended should be put on formal notice that any further instances of FGM among children of his 'congregation' will result in his and his family's deportation as well. Deportation back to their hell holes is what they really fear and it would help to send the message that WE, the West, refuse to be 'colonized' and forced to live under Sharia.

    Since those who understand Islam realize that it is a colonizing political ideology, I see little reason to continue tolerating these practices, nor of our expending our concerns, labor, medical assistance and the enormous financial costs to the average citizen of trying to alleviate the sufferers' condition or reform the ideology (which cannot be done).

    Such a view as mine may initially seem heartless but I am thinking of what the presence of Islam and Moslems does to our society, our civilization AND our overall moral standards. The West is being bled dry by this parasitic force of Islam and by the misdirected notion of 'liberalism' in which we are burdened, very unjustly and suicidally, with the sins and injustices of Islam and with trying to clean up the messes resulting from the insanity of tolerating the intolerable.

    • Tanya

      I agree with EVERY word Guest has written – we really needn't concern ourselves with their tribal, primitive practices, and those who carry out such practices in the civilised West should be deported forthwith. On top of that all Muslim immigration should be halted immediately and there should be a staggered deportation of all existing Muslims living in Western countries. Extreme? Wait till they get the upper hand and then you'll see what extreme means.

  • waterwillows

    I do agree with Guest that Islam appears to be in every respect unlikely to clean itself up. It is too far gone in the barbaric.
    But we do need to discuss and concern ourselves with the barbaric. It is in our own best interest to understand what leads to the destruction of any society.
    For instance, there could be an excellent debate on what is the motive for the crime of FGM. Who stands to gain from such a practice that it continues to be ongoing?
    Some could well argue that a homosexual agenda would find 'benefits' in such a practice.
    But one thing is for sure. The females are the only losers in this practice.

  • Raymond in DC

    There needs to be a price paid for such a barbaric practice. Jail-time and fines of course. But since this is a problem most associated with a Muslim immigrant population, I'd say the option of stripping them of citizenship and deporting them back to where they came from would send the message that there's no place for such practices in the host country.

    • PhillipGaley

      No. No deportation: We should take a firm hand: Until the victim is restored in her health, the perps must be imprisoned and set to work of 12hr work days, at least 6 days per week, at some productive task which is beneficial to society—obviously, this would actualize as a lifetime sentence, but would, I think, suffice as both the least and the most which could be done in establishing fairness for the situation. Legal appeal should be disfavored, and the mosque whence the brutality proceeded, razed.

  • Amazed

    Ten years ago, while a student, I gathered information on this topic for an assignment. I was intrigued and dismayed to learn that women of Islam are economically disenfranchised so desperately that they are entrenched in the perpeuation of this atrocity often for their own survival. Many women perpetuate it on their children out of fear of abuse by their husbands (and other family males) and a grown woman who has not been surgically violated (often without anesthesia of any kind) may not marry under their Laws. This would be a sure life of want and deprivation for her…

  • Amazed

    2/3 the data I found then suggested a guesstimate of about fifteen thousand girls, had FGM in the US with up to two thousand in clinical settings by "sympathetic" providers. for the immigrant population which could not afford to travel to their country of origin where the procedure would be readily available. What are the numbers today? Is every girl with a mother in a burqua systematically mutilated? Probably.
    The truth is that this is about Domination and Supression. All the data and information in the world will not change the evils of it.
    For example: the "players" can have all the rules of the game provided and cheating or dirty tactics can still occur… referrees can be utilized, but they may not be impartial. This ananlogy can be effectively applied to many situations.
    So, all our laws and demands will not be as effective as the sway of withholding money or goods or enforced jail time. These girls are held as hostage and require ransom.

    • PhillipGaley

      Yes. Any aid money should be tied to. Also, as Reagan did in quieting Gaddafi for 14yr., missiles should be detonated on the spires of various mosques and specific private residences, . . .

  • Amazed

    3/3The same brute evil that maintains this corruption is also responsible for sexual abuse of the boys in that culture ~ and every perversion, in every culture.
    I have come to understand the Power of God through Jesus the Messiah has given the world an opportunity to be right with God. This is one person at a time and this does change the heart…

  • Freedom John

    All of these arguments are very good, provided you've been raised in a society where common sense and rational thought prevail. Not so in the Muslim world. In their eyes, we're the barbarians and because they've read it in that funny little book they adhere to (the Quran) they have absolutely no intention of doing anything other than what's there and interpretered by the class of socially ignorant immans they listen to. I feel bad for the women in Islam because I see a woman in a burka now and wonder why bruises she might possibly be hiding under that veil. These are the evils of Islam. We cannot change this culture. They do not come here to learn, they come to teach and convert and only the grossly ignorant and pathetically misguided fall for it. And that goes for those that attempt to bring Islam into the church through Chrislam. They have no part of each other.

  • Ken

    I do not agree that new laws need to be made in ANY country to address this horible crime. You cannot tell me EVERY normal country has child abuse laws. The real problem with the Islamic Bull Siht that happens in many catagories is that peole are affriad to offend them. BEAT THEM AND TAKE THEIR CHILDREN AWAY!! PUT THEM IN JAIL!!! You cannot tell me that in any civilized country, if you cut the citoris off your child, its not a crime. Governments are cowering to Muslims. I love the with holding the financial aid idea.

  • waterwillows

    no dhimmi,

    Perhaps your do not care for the idea that a circumcised male who has a SLIGHT loss of sensitive feelings, is usually able to provide better, longer, more enjoyable sex for the female?
    But……if you prefer your women as wooden planks, I suppose that is an idea that would definitely not appeal to you?

  • Dennis

    Twenty years ago, several of us worker-bees were discussing college courses, books we've read, etc. One of the college "kids", a young lady, talked about her "WOMEN'S STUDIES" courses. I asked if she had ever read the Leon Uris book, THE HAJ? She had not. One lady who was involved in this conversation – Lebanese Catholic / Orthodox – stated she had read the book. We both asked the College Kid if her courses were discussing FGM. They were not. In fact, she had never even heard of FGM. The Lebanese-born lady and I looked at each other and wondered aloud what, if anything important, was being taught in Women's Courses. The College Kid was aghast when the Lebanese lady explained FGM, the procedure, and the youth of girls when it was performed on them.

    Can PCisms, Diversity, and Fairy Tale Courses ever reach a saturation point at which time, people begin to realize some of these fables have been hiding many ugly truths?

    As Agent Moulder believed, "THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE". Search for it.

  • Lisa Richards

    This is scary. Egypt, where there is supposed to be a new normal of freedom has 92% of it girls being genitally mutilated. We must fight this by speaking up and out.

  • Antony

    Here is an article on FGM in the UK from the usually islamo-apologist Guardian newspaper ; http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jul/25/fem

  • Danica

    MGM inspired FGM and will always be used to excuse it. The two practices are not equal. Nor is foot binding or scarification equal to FGM. And FGM isn’t equal to bombing whole villages. Regardless, nobody has the right to promote or excuse these practices. Let me say that again: You do not have the RIGHT to support these practices. Freedom of speech doesn’t include telling people it’s okay to sexually abuse their kids. And if you support any of these practices, you support all of them. Violence is violence, and torture is not culture.

  • kaguy

    Have you ever read about the personal life of Mohammad? You'd be very uncomfortable knowing about is sexuality.