Sunday, 22 April 2012

female genital mutilation: Sunday Times exclusive

Today, the Sunday Times publishes an investigation into female genital mutilation in Britain – FGM, sometimes called "female circumcision", which suggests a relation to the male kind: a lie. If you are alarmed by this phenomenon and the growing presence of its supporters in the UK, I recommend you buy a copy, which costs £2.20 (if you don’t subscribe you can’t read the website).

The investigation - by Mazher Mahmood and Eleanor Mills - uncovered a doctor, a dentist and an alternative medicine practitioner who involved with the procedure, which involves excising much of the genitalia and which "is widespread across large parts of Africa".

Police are accused of not investigating allegations "for fear of inflaming racial tensions"; mutilation survivor and model Waris Dirie claimed "if a white girl is abused, the police come and break down the door. If a black girl is abused, nobody takes care of her. This is what I call racism."

Going off the page, I sympathise with Ms Dirie’s position, symbolised by the case of Victoria Climbié (right), tortured to death amid countless visits by police and social services. But then Baby P’s (below) case was very similar

I don’t challenge the Sunday Times’ analysis that FGM is widespread through Africa, but the first names of the three perpetrators can be heard everywhere: Mohammed, Ali and Omar [Sheikh Mohammed].

The names, of course, are Islamic. I’m neither accusing all Muslim families of abusing their daughters in this sick way, nor absolving all animist-African families of it. But teachers, social workers and police will much more willingly challenge non-Muslim black parents than Muslim parents of any ethnicity, as is shown by the 9-11 year-old girls forced into marriages in Islington with the knowledge and inaction of their teachers.

In summary, full marks to the Sunday Times for this goundbreaking investigation, but nul points for failing to name the beast...or are they hoping their readers will join the dots?

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Click for an overview of female genital mutilation from the World Health Organisation

Click for a case-study of female genital mutilation. WARNING: DISTURBING AND EXPLICIT CONTENT


  1. I came here precisely because I wanted to get some idea of what the article said despite not having a membership to The Times, and your post illuminated a bit. I probably will have to start a membership to read it even though I loathe being forced into memberships :p

    However I have a criticism, though I hope you won't take it as anything more than a suggestion for re-edit:

    I think its unfortunate you linked to a site that is Anti Islam and openly claiming in its blog title to be posting about subjects where a connection between Islam and the abuse of women is definitive. A true interpretation of the Koran shows it has NOTHING to do with FGM, the reasons and mythologies behind it being practiced so widely are numerous and though you may find some bad apples who claim the Koran advocates it they are always twisted interpretations. Twisted interpretations can account for all the reasons that any groups and parts of Africa use to advocate FGM, that gets to the centre of the issue. That site would hope to convince some visitors that their weasly way of pretending issues with far reaching scope and connotations are actually only about Islam is truthful, it isn't. I've left a comment to that effect on their post.

    So I wish you had chosen another link, preferably from a respectable organisation like the world health organisation [they have a section with subtopics -], or by someone who has extensively studied the issue from a non biased perspective. There are many out there. The wikipedia page is quite comprehensive and reasonably accurate as well from a brief scan of it:

    Hope you don't find my suggestion inappropriate, all the best.

  2. Hi Hels, thanks for your comment. I have looked at the site you provide, and have put the link underneath the post, above the link you're happy about.

    The bloke who wrote the original article about Female Genital Mutilation is a doctor, and is coming from a medical viewpoint.

    I agree that the Koran doesn't justify all types of FGM, but neither does it say that women should be stoned to death for adultery, but this is the practice in Iran and Saudi Arabia. At a time when the most mysogynous types of Islam are resurgent in the UK, I find it hard to swallow that three health professionals who at the very least enable FGM would have Islamic names by coincidence. That said, as I mention, I do not accuse all Muslim households of buying into this violation, and realise that it is also a problem in African animist communities.

    I found your blog interesting - I have bipolar disorder, thankfully under control (more or less!) with medication. Best wishes.

  3. If I may also state, that as a country we are so focused on the Africa communities that practice it, that we forget it doesn't just happen in Africa. Countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and South America all practice this horrifying form of abuse! As a country we need to protect ALL girls! Its easy saying its an African practice but what about the poor girl from South America whose cries are being ignored.

    As much as I truly agree with your article in some sense, I also see the easy assumptions one can make after reading it.

    Best wishes.


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