22 April 2012

Female Genital Mutilation in the news

The Sunday Times today has undertaken an investigation into the appalling and illegal act of female genital mutilation or FGM (well legally so but there seems to be little interest in pursuing people who practice this foul act). The report itself is behind the Times paywall but there are plenty of references on other news sites

The report claims that as many as 100,000 women in Britain may have been mutilated in the name of culture and religion, a report claims. FGM is performed on young girls and women around the world, especially in African countries.  The practice seems to be perpetuated by refugees despite it being illegal.

 Sky News reports that The Sunday Times uncovered evidence of three medical practitioners offering advice on how it could be done, or in one case charging £750 to carry out the procedure.

Omar Sheikh Mohamed Addow is a dentist in Birmingham, but was filmed describing how the clitoris could be pierced with a needle and then clamped.

"Once they won't feel anything, then you cut with scissors. It will bleed. Then you take the stitches. You close." 

When contacted by Sky News he denied he said ever been involved in the act. "I have not referred anyone for this treatment. I am a dentist. I am aware of female genital mutilation and have campaigned against it." 

 Yet he was he recorded by the Sunday Times apparently agreeing to mutilate two young girls, aged 10 and 13, in secret:

Omar Sheikh Mohamed Addow: I will do it for you. 

Sunday Times reporter: Thank you. 

Addow: Nobody should know. Between you me and Allah only. 

The Sunday Times say they were put in touch with the Birmingham dentist by Dr Ali Mao Aweys, who has practices in Birmingham and London and was recorded suggesting it was safer to have the surgery outside the UK.

 "Yes it must have (sic) confidential. But I think it's better if you go to Africa, and then do, and then stay for 14 days, and then I give you some medication you can take and then give them." 

When Sky News visited his practice in north London his receptionist told us he was not prepared to comment and asked us to leave.  But he may have to speak to the General Medical Council. The council’s chief executive, Niall Dixon, said he was concerned and has begun an investigation.

Mohammad Sahib describes himself as an alternative medicine practitioner and the newspaper said he wanted £750 to perform surgery on the genitalia.

The newspaper secretly recorded this exchange:

Sunday Times (ST): You'll cut the clitoris? 
Mohammad Sahib (MS): Yeah 
ST: You'll cut with blade? 
MB: Yeah 
ST: You'll do it here? 
MB: Yeah. 
ST: What about stitching? Sew it? 
MB: Yes I can do both

There is no medical justification for any of these procedures. Waris Dirie Dirie was a victim of female circumcision And despite them being illegal, no one in Britain has ever been prosecuted for being involved.

Equality Now campaigner Efua Dorkenoo told Sky News: "Members of the community,family members know about it... there's a lot of pressure. "And if you expose it you could be ostracised and you could be persecuted in the community. "So people are frightened of coming forward."

Somali-born supermodel Waris Dirie, who was mutilated as a child, is an vociferous opponent of the practice. Calling for a crackdown on it, she said:

 "If a white girl is abused, the police come break down the door. If a black girl is mutilated, nobody takes care of her. This is what I call racism." 

As far as I am concerned FGM is an act of extreme violence. I don't care about cultural traditions, it is an evil act. Any parent who has their daughter violated in such a manner is not fit to be a parent. Anyone who performs the act is guilty of grievous bodily harm at the very least and should be punished accordingly.

Criminal sanctions alone will not stamp out the practice. Awareness and other persuasive campaigns will assist to some extent . Still I do find the apparent lack of will by the authorities to address the issue an utter disgrace.  It's not that the Sunday Times report tells us anything that is new. Just two doctors have been struck off for performing the FGM and there have been no other arrests in connection with it. 

Don't for a second think that I am against multiculturism. Personally it has brought a hell of a lot that is good; but there are some things that should never be tolerated in its name. 

As for Waris Dirie's comment, sadly she has a point. I just wish that she didn't.


Francis Sedgemore said...


jams o donnell said...

It's not just the act that sickens me, the lack of will to take action angers me.

susan said...

As I've said before, even the concept is beyond horrible. It can't hurt that you're willing to discuss it here.

jams o donnell said...

It is a revolting act of violence in my view Susan

nursemyra said...


jams o donnell said...

It is, Nursie

Gledwood said...

Any man who lets his daughter get genital mutilation should get his helmet cut off

jams o donnell said...

A bit drastic Gleds, but my git feeling is not different!

Sean Jeating said...

Another very sad aspect: Very often elder women, not seldom the grandmother would do "the job".

See? My father would not beat me, because he was beaten as a boy. And once he told me why: "I could not do to you, what has been done to me."

So, how could any woman do to her daughter, her grand-daughter what has been done to her?

Ah, there'd be so much to write. Why, though? Each of us here will condemn such atrocity; No one we would like to convince will read it.

Personally, I'd like to tell all men who do (still) agree to or even insist on FTG, how wonderful, how magic, how undescribable lovely it is on an expedition to Venus to hear your partner's/godess' whispers of love and little screams of joy and ecstasy. ...

jams o donnell said...

Ach I know I a preaching to the converted Sean. Legal sanctions are one thing, it's getting to the women themselves that is the hub of the issue