Muslim Leaders Stance on FGM/C (also known as Female Circumcision)

We, Muslim organizations, FGM/C Survivors, Islamic scholars, and leaders, strongly condemn the remarks made in the video of Imam Shaker El Sayed where he clearly distinguishes between Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) and female circumcision, and recommends the performance of female circumcision on young girls “when needed” to prevent them from becoming “hyper-sexual”. We commend Dar Al Hijrah on their response to these remarks condemning FGM/C. To further clarify, FGM/C is the same as female circumcision. When we refer to FGM/C, we are including female circumcision which falls within the definition of this practice. More than half a million women and girls living in the U.S are at risk of undergoing FGM/C both in the U.S. or abroad, or have already undergone the procedure, including 169,000 girls under the age of 18, creating a clear urgency for action. The following presents our stance on the issue of FGM/C:

  • FGM/C includes all forms of excision of the female genitalia. FGM/C is known as female circumcision, but they are the same practice. There is no reference to FGM/C in the Holy Quran and the practice is against Islamic doctrine.
  • According to the World Health Organization guidance from 2016, FGM/C has no health benefits and serves no medical purpose. All forms of FGM/C can cause lifelong physical, psychological and spiritual harm to the young girls forced to endure this. Because FGM/C causes harm, it is prohibited under Islam. Examples include:
    1. Physical harm: This includes health complications such as severe pain: excessive bleeding: general infections; urinary tract infections; wound healing problems; injury to surrounding genital tissue; menstrual problems (painful menstruations, difficulty in passing menstrual blood, etc.); sexual problems (pain during intercourse, decreased satisfaction, etc.); increased risk of childbirth complications; the recurring need for additional surgeries; and death
    2. Psychological harm: This includes mental illness diagnoses of depression, anxiety, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder/ low self-esteem
    3. Spiritual harm: This includes tension on one’s spiritual relationship with God and with one self; detachment from the spiritually-ordained sexual self; strain of physical and mental harm on one’s spiritual connection; feeling ostracized from one’s community as a result of feeling unworthy and ashamed
  • Islam is a religion rooted in social justice. Arguing that FGM/C is recommended to curb the sexuality or so-called “hyper-sexuality” in females is wrong. Islam supports the sexual health of both males and females, and controlling female sexuality is a form of patriarchy, not Islam.
  • We would like to reiterate that all forms of FGM/C are against the law in the United States. Federal Law makes it illegal to perform FGM/C in all its forms, including female circumcision on girls in the U.S or to transport a girl out of the U.S to have FGM/C performed in another country. In addition, 25 states in the U.S, including the state of Virginia, also have laws against FGM/C.

We would like to make clear that FGM/C is a universally recognized human rights abuse. It is a form of child abuse, sexual assault, and gender-based violence.

We, the undersigned, unequivocally stand against the practice of FGM/C. We cannot and will not stand for any leader who endorses human rights abuses antithetical to our beautiful faith.

We call on all Muslim organizations to provide sexual/ reproductive health education and sexual violence awareness trainings to ensure that leaders are well equipped to serve the needs of their community. Muslim organizations must provide access to both accurate information and support resources on FGM/C and create safe spaces where open conversations about FGM/C and sexual health can take place and FGM/C survivors can share their stories and have their voices heard without judgment.

Every one of us has a moral responsibility to work toward creating safer communities for our children. Support for this unjust practice under the guise of religion has gone on too long. Today, we invite you to join us in facilitating this change in the following ways:

  1. Speak up when you hear someone promoting FGM/C in the community
  2. Share information and raise awareness in mosques and other community centers
  3. Link up with other service providers to be up to date with latest policies, legislations and referral systems in your state
  4. Be visible and engage at various inter generational, multi-sectoral forums
  5. Make a commitment to educating yourself, your families , and your communities on sexual & reproductive health and sexual violence in general, and reach out to social workers, and other expert organizations when necessary

Organizations that are equipped to facilitate these activities and conversations are: Dahlia Project, Face of Defiance, Safe Hands for Girls, Global Campaign to End FGM, Sahiyo, WeSpeakOut, HEART Women & Girls, and RAHMA. These organizations can be reached at:

 

WeSpeakOut – info@wespeakout.org

Sahiyo – info@sahiyo.com

HEART – info@heartwomenandgirls.org

Global Campaign to End FGM – Naimah@globalmediacampaign.com

RAHMA – info@haverahma.org

Dahlia Project – Leylatheraphy@hotmail.co.uk

Face of Defiance – Leylatheraphy@hotmail.co.uk

Safe Hands for Girls – info@safehandsforgirls.org

 

 

DAH statement:

1- The harmful practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is prohibited in Islam as well as the laws of the land.

2- We at Dar Al-Hijrah, DO NOT condone, promote, or support any practice of FGM.

3- The reference to “Hyper-sexuality” is offensive and it is unequivocally rejected. The Board of Directors is particularly disturbed by such comments.

4- We call upon the Muslim Scholars (clergy) to be on the forefront of the campaign against FGM and to condemn silence in the face of these harmful practices.

5- We at Dar Al-Hijrah, are committed to continue sensitivity training of our staff regarding these critical issues.

The Imam of Dar Al-Hijrah, Sh. Shaker Elsayed, in response to his recent statements reaffirms that, “FGM is very harmful to women’s health, and anything in Islam that is harmful is in fact prohibited”.  He also advises the community to seek their doctors counsel to inform them why it is illegal and harmful. He follows that his reference to “hyper-sexuality” is an observation that he admits he should have avoided. He declares, “I take it back, and I do apologize to all those who are offended by it”.

You may refer to Imam Shaker’s statement below.

Statement of clarification
By Imam Shaker Elsayed

On May 19th, 2017, I gave a lecture about the rights of children in Islam at Dar Al-Hijrah. The lecture was aired live online and was later posted on our YouTube channel. The part in which I talked about children’s circumcision created a lot of misunderstanding, specifically regarding girls. I would like to clarify the following:

1.     I specifically said in the lecture that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is considered by Islam to be a very harmful to women’s sexual health. And in Islam anything harmful is prohibited. Therefore, Islam agrees completely with the legal prohibition of FGM, and hence the laws of USA. That is why I referred the audience to their OBGYN to inform them why it is illegal and harmful.

2.     Islam would never support anything that harms anybody’s well-being, such as FGM. As such, this is my position and the position of Dar Al-Hijrah. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Let there be no harm upon yourself or others.”

3.     Regarding the statement I made on “Hyper-sexuality”, I admit that I should have avoided it. I hereby take it back. And I do apologize to all those who are offended by it. 

 

 

 

Signed By:

Imam Mohamed Magid, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center

Imam Johari Abdul- Malik, Director of Outreach, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center

Imam Suhaib Webb, SWISS

Imam Khalid Latif, Executive Director, The Islamic Center at NYU

Imam Jamal Rahman, Interfaith Community Sanctuary, WA

Khadijah Abdullah, RAHMA

Zehra Patwa, WeSpeakOut

Farzana Doctor, WeSpeakOut

Alifya Sulemanji, WeSpeakOut

Mariya Taher, Sahiyo

Leyla Hussein, Dahlia Project

Naima Dido, Horn of Africa Development Initiative

Jaha Dukureh, Safe Hands for Girls

Sister Linda Sarsour, New York, NY
Albert Pless, American Muslim Health Professionals
Mirriam Seddiq, American Muslim Women’s Political Action Committee

Shayma Mohammed Ali Al-Hanooti, Arlington, VA

Safia Abulaila, Resident in Counseling, VA.

Ilana Alazzeh, Muslims Against Homophobia

Salam Al-Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council

Laila Al-Marayati, Muslim Women’s League

Eman Hassaballa Aly, Collaboryst

Shahed Amanullah, Affinis Labs

Dr. Saman Hamidi-Azar, Orange County, CA

Yasmine Badaoui, MissMuslim

Alejandro Beutel, Washington, DC

Imaani Chowdhury, Springfield VA

Samia El-Moslimany, The Cherry Street Mosque-Seattle

Maha Elgenaidi, Director, Islamic Networks Group (ING)

Seemi Ghazi, Lecturer in Classical Arabic, U. Of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada

Nadia Hassan, Young Leaders Institute

Khalil Ismail, Finding Peace Project

Ameena Jandali, Islamic Networks Group (ING)

Rizwan Jaka, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center
Ghada Khan, Washington, DC

Maryam Khan, Community Leader, Islamic Center of Connecticut in Windsor

Youssef Kromah, Do it for the Deen

Edina Lekovic, Muslim Public Affairs Council

Jenan Matari, MissMuslim

Priscilla Martinez, Salam Mama

Dr. Karen McDonnell, Washington, DC

Nadiah Mohajir, HEART Women and Girls

Naeem Muhammad, Native Deen

Nabeelah Naeem, Good in Action

Muhammad Oda, Muzbnb

Manal Omar, CEO and Founder, AcrossRedLines

Riham Osman, Muslim Public Affairs Council

Angela Peabody, Founder/Executive Director, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation

Tynan Power, Founder/Leader, Masjid Al-Inshirah

Sameera Qureshi, HEART Women and Girls

Asifa Quraishi-Landes, Madison, WI

Mariam Rauf, Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project

Raquel Evita Saraswati, Activist against FGM/C and Gender-based violence

Hadi Shakuur, Muzbnb

Sis Sarah Smith, Pennsylvania, USA

Hanaa Soltan, Mideast Global Advisors

Hussain Turk, Esq., Los Angeles HIV Law & Policy Project

Asma Uddin, AltMuslimah

 

Photo Credit.

21 Comments

  • Asiff says:

    You need to distinguish between Islamic female circumcision and FGM. These are two different things with different effects. Female circumcision is an obligatory Islamic duty and involves removing the skin (prepuce) around the clitoris, which enhances, not curbs women’s sexuality. This procedure allows the clitoris to be exposed for greater stimulation since it does away with the prepuce which serves as an obstacle to sexual satisfaction. The clitoral prepuce also harbours germs such as the cancer-causing HPV. Thus female circumcision as required by Islam prevents urinary tract Infections and transmission of cancer-causing HPV to husbands through oral sex. Even Western women are going for it under the name hoodectomy. See: http://asiffhussein.com/2015/04/02/female-circumcision-the-hidden-truth/

    • I am afraid you are wrong on all your “facts” on Islamic Female Circumcision. It is not true that it is an obligatory duty in Islam. It is not true that it enhances sexuality. It is not true that the prepuce is an obstacle to sexual satisfaction. HPV is a virus, not a bacteria, it does not rest in the prepuce and it usually does not cause cancer. Circumcision does not prevent urinary tract infections, good hygiene does. HPV causes eventually cervical infection. I don’t know if Muslim men have extraordinary long tongues, but it is quite a feat to lick the cervical. Hoodectomy is just as misunderstood as male circumcision. Where in all the world did you pick up all your misinformation? Is this the quality of Muslim education on sexual matters?

    • Smood says:

      Asiff,
      Altmuslimah has another – follow-up? – article to this one. It addresses some or the things you’ve mentioned:

      http://www.altmuslimah.com/2017/06/islam-sexuality-fgm-one-doesnt-belong/

      Check it out! It should help move this discussion along to greater lengths.

  • Asiff says:

    Finn, is that all you can say, a string of empty denials? Did you even bother to read the link I sent which gives all the evidence, that it’s Islamic, that it’s obligatory, that it facilitates genital hygiene and that it improves sex life. Why do you think it’s women who support it most? In fact, they are now speaking out in support of female circumcision, and with good reason. See. https://dbwrf.org/

    • You are referring to an article written by yourself as the facts behind this. It seems totally based on hadiths and traditions from a bronze age desert tribe. Most of it seems like sheer nonsense to me, but then I am an infidel and able to see the lies in all religions. Reading your article does not convince me that I am wrong in any one of my denials. Your heading shows your attitude: “How Misogynists and Feminists are feeding upon each other to denigrate an Islamic practice that brings untold benefits to women”, there is not much science and knowledge in that. Your article clearly shows the tradition of sickly interest in women’s sexuality by Muslim men. There is nothing wrong with the construction of the female genital organ, no need to modify it if it wasn’t for the perverse need to control women’s sexuality. You seem like an intelligent person even if you believe that the Prophet rode on horseback through the heavens to Jerusalem and back to Mecca. It is hard for me to understand why you will use your intellect to support this ritual nonsense. Leave the pussies of little girls alone. If they want surgery when grown up, fine.

  • Asiff says:

    Finn, again you are resorting to empty talk instead of coming out with hard facts to counter the evidence presented.References from peer-reviewed journals and personal experiences of Western women who have undergone the procedure are very much part of the evidence if you cared to read. And on top of it you have betrayed your contempt for our beautiful faith. That’s obvious from your reply. And still you have the audacity to declare that this religious duty of ours (which all our classical scholars were agreed on) is not Islamic. Come on, be a bit more scientific!

    • Your starting point is wrong. It is not in the Koran. You refer to a hadith which is a hearsay on a man who lived 1400 years ago and heard voices in his head. That is just as unscientific as the Jews claiming that God ordered them to cut the foreskin of defenseless little boys. Anecdotal evidence is not usually considered science. There are way more stories from women who have experienced this in a negative way. I would like to know what is so beautiful about your faith. Cutting in the genitals of defenseless little girls is definitely not beautiful. All actually boils down to this: Keep your hands off the pussies of defenseless little girls. If a grown up woman wants genital surgery, fine. Religion is never an excuse for child abuse. And step down from your high horse.

  • Ghada Khan says:

    Assif, female circumcision is FGM; there is no distinction. There is no benefit to any form of cutting of a little girls genitalia, including the so called cutting of the prepus area that you are referring to. WOMEN who undergo this procedure chose to do so as a result of a clear medical need should their clitoris be covered fully by the prepus. Their sexual state is not enhanced, it becomes normal, relative to their state prior to the procedure, as their clitoris was covered. Again, there is NO medical need or benefit to performing this on little girl. In fact, performing this on little girls who have not fully developed increases the risk of injury to the clitoris, and even the slightest cut causes future decreased sexual sensation, and the research has shown that women who undergo this form of FGM experience less sexual pleasure, in addition to the trauma of the experience in and of itself. The Islamic evidence you present with regards to enhanced sexuality is based on a hadith of weak narration that has clearly been rejected by scholars. The remaining evidence that you present has also been proven by many scholars to incorrectly include females under the obligation of circumcision. FGM in all its forms, including female circumcision is not part of our Islamic teaching.

  • Asiff says:

    Ghada, let’s be frank. You say “WOMEN who undergo this procedure chose to do so as a result of a clear medical need should their clitoris be covered fully by the prepuce”. But isn’t this true of all women? The prepuce fully covers the clitoris just as the foreskin covers the penis of uncircumcised males.

    • ASIFF. “The prepuce fully covers the clitoris just as the foreskin covers the penis of uncircumcised males.” This clearly shows your ignorance on the subject. You are probably circumcised, which eliminates your chance of feeling the pleasure of moving your foreskin backwards to expose the fully sensitive area of the penis head and the foreskin. You may have lost as many as 70% of the nerve endings in your penis, greatly reducing your sexual pleasure. Same thing goes with the clitoris, it is like a miniature penis with the same possibility of moving away the “foreskin” to expose it for full sexual pleasure. No need for any cutting on either men or women. On young boys and girls the foreskin may seem partly stuck to the penis/clitoris head. This is a normal condition which will solve itself as the child grows into adolescence. Why are you so desperately concerned with the clitoral sensitivity of women? Is your culture having a problem with male or female sexuality?

  • Asiff says:

    The study Defective sexuality and female circumcision by Thabet & Thabet (2003) studied 30 uncircumcised women (the control group), 30 minorly circumcised women (Islamic circumcisions involving excision of the clitoral prepuce) and 30 circumcised mutilated women (circumcisions involving excision of the glans, clitoris and labia minora). It found sexuality was not affected in minorly circumcised cases though it was markedly affected in the mutilated cases. In the sex scores, the control uncircumcised group showed an Orgasm Score of 12.5 ± 1.1 as against the minorly circumcised group which scored 12.4± 1.7 and the mutilated group which scored 6.0 ± 0.9. As for Sexual satisfaction, the control uncircumcised group scored 8.0 ± 0.9 as against the minorly circumcised score of 8.3 ± 1.1 and mutilated score of 7.3 ± 0.84.Thus in the orgasm score the uncircumcised and minorly circumcised were the same while in the sexual satisfaction score the minorly circumcised (those who had undergone Islamic female circumcision aka hoodectomy) did even better than the uncircumcised group. Now what does that tell you?

  • Michael Glass says:

    Asiff, it seems that your opinion on female genital cutting has been rejected by mainstream Muslim organisations. I therefore suggest you reconsider your ideas about female genital cutting.

    • Asiff says:

      Michael. These so-called Muslim organisations are not mainstream at all. They are on the fringe of Islam and are too cowardly to speak out the truth. They are simply kowtowing to neocon and Zionist interests. Else why would they want to lump the beneficial Islamic practice of hoodectomy with FGM instead of clarifying the correct Islamic position? They don’t have the guts to speak out the truth and have no right to represent Islam or Muslims. simple as that!

  • Ghada Khan says:

    Asiff, once again, the position taken by these Muslim Scholars and Organizations is based on sound scholarship which affirms that the form of FGM that you are referring to, “hoodectomy”, is not part of Islam, nor is it in any way beneficial. They speak on behalf of Islam and all the innocent young girls whose lives will be forever altered should those who hold on to a differing opinion such as yourself continue to call for the perpetuation of this cultural practice.

  • Asiff says:

    Ghada, it’s certainly part of Islam, and obligatory according to many of our classical scholars.Sexologists are generally agreed that hoodectomy does improve women’s sex lives. Upon removal of the excess skin of the clitoral hood, the clitoral node is more prominent and has a greater ability to be stimulated. This can result in increased sexual stimulation, improved sexual response and ability to achieve orgasm during intimate situations. There is also some evidence to suggest that this procedure contributes to a lower incidence of yeast and bacterial infections related to the female vulva.And It’s not just me who’s saying this. See:https://www.miami-institute.com/body/hoodectomy/

    • Asiff. It is still nonsense most of what you are saying. Or maybe I have misunderstood. We are talking little girls here, not grown up women? And it is based on a hearsay from 1400 years ago? Your reference this time is about women who may have some particular problems, and definitely no age old religious nonsense. Miami Institute offers help to:
      1. Women who are unhappy with the appearance of their vulva, or who feel that the appearance has changed due to aging and childbirth
      2. Women who find it very difficult to achieve orgasm or have little stimulation of the clitoral node
      3. Women with enlarged labia (the labia majora meet at the clitoral hood, so excess labial tissue can also be associated with a large clitoral hood)

      It is truly dishonest to use this as an argument for your religious conviction.

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