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As efforts to expose the reality for women living under sharia have gained momentum, so has the mantra that for non-Muslim individuals to critique such issues is "Islamophobic".
It is only very recently that the issue of FGM has entered popular discourse in the UK. After decades of being fed the guff — from politicians, prosecutors and, ironically, some campaigners fighting to eradicate FGM — that it is a cultural rather than criminal practice, the message has finally started to sink in that it is nothing more or less than child abuse. Even the Guardian, an outlet that has continually defended radical Islam, is supporting a campaign to eradicate it. This is a far cry from a few years ago, when I was told by a senior section editor that the paper could not run my story on private doctors in Harley Street performing hymen reconstruction operations for Muslim women before marriage because "these operations can save women's lives".
Female genital mutilation — which involves the total or partial removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons — is recognised as a violation of human rights. The World Health Organisation describes the practice as reflecting "a deep-rooted inequality between the sexes" and constituting "an extreme form of discrimination against women". Almost always carried out on girls below the age of 16, FGM has numerous short- and long-term consequences and complications, including severe pain, shock, haemorrhage, bacterial infection and infertility. Women who suffer FGM often forfeit the possibility of any sexual pleasure and may face serious complications — even death — in childbirth. They are mainly from communities with links to sub-Saharan or north-east Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Faduma Ali offered this vivid account of the suffering she endured when she underwent the procedure in her native Somalia: "My grandmother and mother had it done, so it seemed natural. There were four of us, but because I was the bravest, I was told to go first. My grandmother and the other girls' mothers held me down and the woman cut me with a knife. It's like someone is cutting your finger off without pain relief. My blood was shooting into her face and eyes."
FGM was first criminalised in the UK in 1985, and the law extended to cover cases where girls are taken out of the UK to be cut. Since then, hundreds of thousands of British girls — ranging from babies to young women — have had large parts of their vaginas sliced away with knives, scalpels or razor blades, sometimes with anaesthetic, often without. It is now estimated there are around 170,000 women and girls in the UK living with FGM.
Despite this, there has not been one successful prosecution under the Female Genital Mutilation Act.Furthermore, my recent report for the New Culture Forum, which investigated this inaction, found evidence that women and girls were being brought to the UK to be mutilated. Such "FGM tourism" occurred precisely because it can be perpetrated with impunity. I wanted to find out why we had failed to punish those who carry out FGM, by interviewing professionals in health, social care, and the justice system. (I do not oppose male circumcision because it is not mutilation, and very few health problems arise from the procedure. Also, it is healthier for men and their sexual partners.)
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April 25th, 2014
8:04 AM
Where in the Koran is Mohammed telling a cutter not to "do it too much". Qaradawi (Livingstone's chum) was advising parents to do it until 2006. Indeed this "advice" may still be out there on the web somewhere. The MB kept it legal in Yemen and they offered to "do it cheaply" in Egypt.

April 18th, 2014
12:04 PM
This points to what is wrong in the UK and other EU countries. I'm shocked by the apologists and the PC and realized that 3 decades at least have actually been under an official policy of 'cultural relativism' or multi culturalism in the UK and other EU countries. All workers in social services, courts, police, teaching etc have been taught that every 'culture' or religion must be treated differently even if they are breaking the law. I realized this after the Rochdale scandal. Some people wrote articles saying this. I witnessed this myself during a stay in the UK where ordinary people were afraid to say anything because they've been pushed to silence with the 'racist' card. I've seen it in the press, where muslims are called 'asians'. I say this from France as an expat, where this system has been criticized and rejected for the integration policy. French laicity means separation of religion and the state. Britain is not a secular country with an official church and imposed religious instruction in schools. France has battled to keep the church and other religions out of state institutions and whereas before it was the Catholic church, now it's mainly Islam. Whereas the UK claims to respect and accept religious or cultural differences by allowing clothes or symbols in schools, hospitals, etc, France considers people are first of all individuals, or nationals, without their religious identification that is considered a private matter. So children or teachers or doctors, nurses, town councillors, or politicians aren't allowed to wear veils or outstanding religious symbols because they are supposed to be neutral as serving the whole population. Allowing girls to wear veils in school means they are first of all muslim, and not just a child that can have a neutral environment to learn. It refuses the notion that a child is 'born a muslim, jew, catholic' etc. Banning the niqab in public was after a scandal of a polygamy and abuse case of a family who drew attention to themselves after the woman was fined for driving with 'impaired vision'. The law was passed by a majority parliament vote for the offical reason that nobody is allowed to hide their face in public. This was, of course, decried by many 'human rights' people in the UK as a scandal. However, it is now becoming a problem in France for two reasons, that are the same all over Europe : 1 - resident muslims have become more radicalized, especially the youth, 2 - more new immigrants from poorer muslim countries who have no intention, or are incapable of integrating. What is needed is far more people like this to speak out on all the hypocrisy of feminists and leftist apologists. It's urgent, not just because of the rampant continuation of abuse, and social problems, but also because the whole subject has been given to the extreme right for the lack of courage and willingness from the other parties and civil orgs. Being of the generation that had to fight for contraception, abortion and equal rights, I find that the younger generation have forgotten this. They are now into another form of 'equality', meaning differences for some women and not others. When I see a woman in the street wearing a veil or niqab with little girls in a hijab, I feel it's an agression, a slap in the face. I feel that all 'our' work has been stolen by an alien culture that is even welcomed, not even criticized for forms of abuse that never even existed before in our countries. What has gone wrong ? Ignorance and naivety, incompetence and now fear. ps I'm against male baby or child circumcision too, males can decide when adults.

April 17th, 2014
4:04 PM
Poppycock. Bindel's opposition to FGM is clearly justified, but to blame 'Islam' is to exhibit complete ignorance in respect of the cultural and historical development of 'Islam'. Where, for example, in the Qur'an is the justification for FGM. It isn't there! And so she might consider moving on to the hadith, yet the use of this material is fraught with difficulty, especially after the work of Goldziher and Schacht. Nevertheless Bindel et al will continue to blame 'Islam', and one wonders how the failure of feminism impacts upon this decision to generate copy for magazines. Note also how Douglas Murray (Standpoint's resident expert on all hings 'Islamic') remains silent regarding this Western feminist discourse.

hegel`s advovate
April 11th, 2014
7:04 PM
Maybe the anthropologist Lloyd de Mause and his `The Origins of War In Child Abuse` should be featured in Standpoint ? There`s an instinctive opposition to islam from all `non-believers` that islam thinks shouldn`t exist. Islam can`t rationalise it without destroying itself. The more it engages the more it destroys itself. It`s not eternal. It`s got a shelf-life.

April 11th, 2014
9:04 AM
"It is fine, for example, to be appalled at widespread child sexual abuse by the likes of Jimmy Savile, but "racist" to respond in the same way to forced marriage, gender segregation, or the requirement that girls and women are veiled from head to toe." No that's really stupid. It's fine to respond with horror to sexual abuse among Muslims, just like it's fine to respond with horror to sexual abuse among old rich white men like Jimmy Saville. What's not acceptable is to generalise it to "Islam" or "Muslims" just like you shouldn't respond to Jimmy's abhorrent actions with that's "Whites" or "the English". How is this hard to understand? Don't be a bigot *AND* don't excuse sexual abuse.

Rachel L
April 9th, 2014
8:04 PM
And Julie too...has her Damascus moment, mixing my metaphors I'm afraid. The extraordinary capitulation of Western feminism to the militant Islamic agenda, together with the implicit and sometimes enthusiastic support for practices like FGM and honor killing defies comprehension for many. But in Ms. Bindel and others there is still some hope; that a real-and-powerful feminism can struggle from the ashes of the disaster that academia has inflicted upon it. Just how feminism can get over the association it has now with supporting oppression of women and children (including rape, mutilation, torture and murder) remains to be seen. Retrieving feminism for women will be tough and perhaps one of the greatest cultural battles to be witnessed early this century.

Sharon Presley
March 23rd, 2014
8:03 PM
It's one thing to not condemn, say, face painting, tattoos and eating odd things--that's what cultural relativism was supposed to be about--not overlooking monstrous crimes against innocent women. But harming innocent females is morally corrupt regardless of culture.

hegel`s advocate
March 20th, 2014
2:03 AM
Anonymous is being academicI`m not aware of any circumcised males who want the foreskin back. Is there a website campaigning against it that we should know about? The Mayor of London has joined in the anti-FGM campaign. Who will stand up for the lost foreskins ? It`s only a joke about male circumcision but don`t most women like 20% off everything?

March 17th, 2014
10:03 PM
To add to my earlier comment, Hegel's Advocate continues to be an apologist for relativism. Clearly the author knows very little about Islam and relies on more than one simplistic dichotomy, 'Islam' and 'non-Islam', 'Feminism' and 'non-Feminism'. It makes for provocative copy but can not stand against sustained informed criticism. Let us consider, for example, the issue of male circumcision, justified within 'Islam' and 'Judaism' as a cultural practice. You can hear the silence....from the cultural relativists and the Standpoint editorial team.

vera lustig
March 8th, 2014
3:03 PM
I agree with the cavil above that FGM isn't a purely Muslim phenomenon. I also do believe that some (adult) women wear the niqab out of their own free will; it's a kind of "up yours" gesture to what they perceive as Western decadence. I may be accused of "whataboutery", especially as I'm posting on Int'l Women's Day, but I do think too little is said about the harsh treatment of children from Muslim families: physical abuse is widespread in after-school madrassahs, and I'd regard a child's being forced to undertake an 18-hour fast, without hydration, 30 days in succession, as abuse.

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