Tag Archives: Female Genital Mutilation

Rise in female genital mutilation in Londonistan

Cultural Enrichment

(as usual, nothing to do with Islam. Except when it does: ‘its the sunnah of the profit’)

The number of cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) reported in London has risen and some procedures are taking place in the city, a doctor has said.

BBC/thanks to the RoP

Dr Comfort Momah, who runs a clinic in Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, said she sees 350 women and children a year.

The Met said it was aware that FGM was taking place in London and had intervened in 122 cases since 2008, including 25 times this year.

But it said that as it was a “taboo” subject there had been no prosecutions.

FGM is illegal in the UK and anybody convicted for it can be jailed for up to 14 years. The law protects British citizens even if they undergo the procedure abroad.

Dr Momah, who runs one of the 11 African Well Women Clinics in London, said a majority of the cases she saw were from African countries, including Somalia, Eritrea, Gambia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

‘Need to prosecute’

She said: “In London FGM is widely spread and in my clinic we see about 350 women and children with FGM related problems every year and do reversal in about 100 cases every year.

“We do have people calling me or calling other clinics saying I know a circumciser in Leytonstone, I know a doctor who is performing it within the community, but they won’t give you the information.”

She added that more cases are being reported since 2005.

British girls undergo horror of genital mutilation

Continue reading Rise in female genital mutilation in Londonistan

Retreat From the "Nick?" Not So Fast…..

Tim Blair: MUTILATION NATION

FORMER sex discrimination commissioner Pru Goward says genital mutilation of girls is widespread as doctors here consider the practice.

By Padraic Murphy and Kate Sikora/Daily Telegraph

“There’s not been one prosecution. People coming here as a refugee or a migrant need to have it explained to them it attracts a jail sentence, we will prosecute you and if they don’t like that they should apply to go to another country.”

The Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians will next month discuss backing “ritual nicks”, a modified form of genital mutilation.


With the rise in Somali and Sudanese living in Australia, doctors are seeing more cases of young girls, and women, needing surgery after illegal operations. Backers of “ritual nick” said it was a superficial procedure leaving no long-term damage.

RANZCOG secretary Gino Pecoraro said the policy would be discussed at next month’s Women’s Health Committee meeting.

“We will need to start to think about [its introduction] but we would have to speak to community leaders from Australia,” Dr Pecoraro said.

“If a nick could meet the cultural needs of a particular woman, then it might save her from going through what can really be drastic surgery.

“But we need to make sure we do not legitimise the ritualistic maiming of children.”

But many are outraged, some saying a “ritual nick” is still child abuse and legitimises female mutilation.

Read it all

Related links:

Just a little “NICK”, right?

Warning: Graphic Stuff!

Continue reading Retreat From the "Nick?" Not So Fast…..

Horror in the U.S.: 228,000 women have undergone or are at risk for female genital mutilation

H/T JW

“Cutting” doesn’t describe it. “Circumcision” doesn’t, either. It is mutilation, plain and simple, and must be recognized as such. But at least this story doesn’t entirely tiptoe around the prevalence of the practice in Muslim countries.

It may be a millennia-old practice, but the fact remains that Islamic law embraced it, and that is the reason for its persistence — it is not at all merely “cultural.” From the Shafi manual of Islamic jurisprudence, Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveler), certified as “reliable” by the Misunderstanders of Islam Al-Azhar University in Egypt:

“Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.)” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3

Regional variances of the practice in Muslim communities depend just as much on the justification of the principle in Islamic law. Those who would defend “just a little” cutting as somehow more acceptable — including the American Academy of Pediatrics, with their approval of a “ritualized nick” (background and commentary here and here)– miss the point: Mutilation is mutilation, and must not be allowed to happen on U.S.soil. Period.

“Pressure for female genital cutting lingers in the U.S.,” by Stephanie Chen for CNN, May 21:

Continue reading Horror in the U.S.: 228,000 women have undergone or are at risk for female genital mutilation

"Don't cut too deep…"

Clit-cutting in Indonesia.

Look out for ‘defenders of Islam’ who’ll pop up to tell us its all ‘cultural’ and has ‘nothing to do with Islam’. 30 years ago virtually unheard of in this formerly Hindu nation, female genital mutilation is now common like the hijab. According to a 2003 study by the Population Council, an international research group, 96 percent of families surveyed reported that their daughters had undergone some form of circumcision genital mutilation by the time they reached 14.   Islam, the gift that keeps on giving….

Farahat Sa’id Al-Munji: The Prophet said that circumcision is obligatory for men , and is noble for women.  She said: Yes. He said: “Trim it, but don’t cut it off. ……

Bagus BT Saragih ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Makassar, South Sulawesi/thanks to Mullah

Some of our readers requested to post the photos below the fold, since they cause nightmares. Although these pictures were originally printed in the NYT, it seems their horror is

The butchers of Indonesia

Warning: the following images are VERY GRAPHIC!

Continue reading "Don't cut too deep…"

Are You a Sponsor of Female Genital Mutilation?

Are you sending money to any of the 5 big aid organizations?

Chances are your help does more damage than good:

400,000 sponsored girls who are marketed by the big development organizations PLAN International, World Vision, Kindernothilfe and ChildFund do not receive protection from female genital mutilation. We have started a new campaign, at sponsoredgirl.com, to protect the girls from female genital mutilation. We invite our readers to come join us.

Update:

Will Naomi Wolf fight female genital mutilation?

2nd Update:

Female Genital Mutilation, Islam and Leftist Complicity /(FrontPage Magazine)
“Within the context of Islamic FGM, the barbarity is kept alive and legitimized by Islamic theology.”

As our readers will be familiar, Wolf went on a political pilgrimage to Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt and found a “thriving sexuality behind the veil.”

Obviously Wolf was not at all concerned about what state women’s vaginas were in within the sexual paradises that she visited and praised, seeing that the barbaric crime of female genital mutilation is perpetrated with high frequency in the areas she visited.  Read more from JW

female-genital-mutilation-mali-photo-robert-skinner

How much female genital mutilation is okay?

“Lets do it for them here so they don’t have to go back to the home country” doesn’t cut the mustard. We can’t allow this, period. Not a nick and not a cut. But here’s an article which tries to “balance pro’s and con’s.” What could be more important? Spero News

Will You Help Save a Girl From Mutilation? – by Jamie Glazov

Continue reading Are You a Sponsor of Female Genital Mutilation?

Europe’s Helping Hand To Female Genital Mutilation

Update:

Video on FGM in Islamic communities

Posted on September 18, 2011 by Eeyore/Vlad Tepes

This is good but brace yourselves. I like how black women activists, what we used to call ‘feminists’, meaning they fought for rational rights for women, like the right not to have all your sexual equipment removed for example, are being told that banning this practice is ‘neocolonialist’ and they have to fight the moronic left who pretend to be on the side of the oppressed by not stopping them from being mutilated in the genitals.

Kafka, did you ever think things could go this far?

By: Jamie Glazov /FrontPageMagazine.com

How European governmental and non-governmental development-policy bolsters a horrific crime against hundreds of thousands of girls.

Update: A 19-year-old girl in Gothenburg has been awarded compensation after having been subjected to genital mutilation in Somalia as an 11-year-old.

More>>

Warning: graphic image(s)

Continue reading Europe’s Helping Hand To Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation, Update

* Regular Winds of Jihad readers are well aware that  our post “Female genital mutilation is part of the Sunna of the Prophet”- has attracted thousands  of readers, many, if not most of them Muslims, who are clueless about the teachings of the the Koran and the sunnah, the sayings of traditions of the meshugga prophet pretender Muhammad.  Here is an update:

Saving Girls From Mutilation: 

European activist Ines Laufer discusses how migrant girls in Europe are defenselessly delivered to Female Genital Mutilation. 

By: Jamie Glazov /Frontpage

 

Frontpage Interview’s guest is Ines Laufer, founder of the Task Force for Effective Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation, a network of Human-Rights-organisations and activists that is committed to measurable, broad prevention of genital mutilation among migrant girls in the EU. With the Task Force’s prevention-programme, for the first time true protection of minor girls from this violence comes into reach.

Continue reading Female Genital Mutilation, Update

Dutch News: Moroccan Man Arrested For Sexually Mutilating His Daughter

Dutch news

In Haarlem a man has been arrested on suspicion of having genitally mutilated his five-year-old daughter. The man of Moroccan origin was taken into custody at the end of October after the girl’s foster parents had made a report to the police. The case has only now been made public. Doctors have confirmed that the girl’s genitals have been mutilated, but the father denies responsibility. He has been charged with grievous bodily harm. The case is expected to come to trial in May.

Here’s more: Female genital mutilation “is part of the Sunna of the Prophet”


Continue reading Dutch News: Moroccan Man Arrested For Sexually Mutilating His Daughter

"Female Genital Mutilation has nothing to do with Islam" Update

Egyptian Parliament Okays Female Genital Mutilation (again)

* Well, it was never really ‘outlawed’, was it? Take a look here

* and here: Female genital mutilation “is part of the Sunna of the Prophet”

(IsraelNN.com) Conservatives in the Egyptian parliament have made female genital mutilation (circumcision) legal again in Egypt. The conservatives succeeded in striking several laws that had been passed by the parliament’s religious Shura Council in the past. The laws canceled also include a law limiting marriage age to 18 and up, a law permitting a mother to register a child on her name and a law allowing neighbors of a family that beats its children to report the beatings to the police.

One of the parliament’s members said that the law permitting a mother to register a child on her name “encourages adultery.”

A Cairo appellate judge who is also the legal advisor to the Council for the Mother and Child said that the decision to strike the laws contravened international agreements signed by Egypt.

* Here’s more from Dhimmi Watch

* dont be afraid: you won’t lose your clit reading it!


Female Genital Mutilations: Islamic Agonies on Women

Islam Watch

Female Genital Mutilation that afflict mostly Muslim women today is one of worst horrors suffered by today’s women…


Religion: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices; a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith” — Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Female Genital mutilationsIn today’s world, an estimated 130 million Muslim women, averaging nearly 6,000 a day, have undergone sexual mutilations. This gruesome act is performed in many African countries, including Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Chad. It is also a tradition among Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia, in Pakistan, and also in a number of countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, the UAE, and parts of rural Saudi Arabia. Coptic Christians in Egypt and animist tribes in Africa, as well as Muslims, undergo the rituals. Subincision is also practiced by some Amazonian tribes and by the Bohri sects in the Indo-Pak regions.

It appears to be driven originally by man’s desire to have power over woman’s sexuality, to remove fear of paternity uncertainty by keeping women chaste, and uninterested in love affairs, but the lasting practice has become so rooted in those societies that it is now perpetuated even by women upon women all over the world…

Female circumcision is frequently described as an “age-old Muslim ritual”; in fact, it predates Islam, and is even believed to be pre-Judaic. Strabo claimed that “the Egyptians circumcised their boys and girls as do the Jews”. The Virgin Mary was likewise said to have been circumcised (Briffault R76v3 324). Islamic traditions say that it was practiced by Sarah on Hagar, and that afterwards both Sarah and Abraham circumcised themselves by the order of Allah (the Old Testament makes no mention of female circumcision, while making it mandatory for men). There is no evidence that any of Muhammad’s wives or daughters were ever circumcised? While there is no mention of it in the Koran, an authentic hadith states: “A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet said to her: Do not cut severely, as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband”. Because of this hadith, some scholars of the Shafi’i school of Islam (found mostly in East Africa) consider female circumcision obligatory. The Hanafi and most other schools of Islamic thoughts maintain, ‘it is merely recommended, not essential’ (Goodwin).

The majority of the rural Egyptian women are still circumcised: they normally undergo removal of the clitoris, not do the more extensive procedures. Even then, there are many complications: infections, bleeding, urinary tract damage, sepsis, and in some cases even death…

female genital mutilaion tools

More than 90% of the Sudanese women undergo the most severe forms of circumcision, known as “pharaonic” or “infibulations”, done at the age of seven or eight; it removes all of the clitoris, the labia minora and the labia majora. The sides are then sutured together, often with thorns and only a small opening, of the diameter of matchsticks, is left for urine and menstrual flows. The girl’s legs are then tied together and liquids are heavily rationed until the incision is healed… During this primitive yet major surgery, it is not uncommon for girls, who are held down by their female relatives, to die from shock or even hemorrhaging of the vagina, urethra, bladder, and rectal areas may also be damaged, and the massive keloid scarring can obstruct walking for life…

After marriage, Muslim women who have been infibulated must be forcibly penetrated by their husbands. This may take up to forty days, and when men are impatient, a knife is used to slit it open… Special honeymoon centers are built outside these communities so that the screams of the brides will not be heard. Sometimes the husband traditionally runs through the streets with a blood-stained dagger to show that he had conquered his maiden…

Waris Dirie had to be operated on as an adult before she could have sexual relations with her husband. Dirie’s mother, believing that she was doing the best thing for her daughter, walked her into the brush, held her down and told her to bite on a root. A gypsy woman then cut at the lithe girl’s genitalia, using a dirty, broken razor blade. “I heard the sound of the dug blade sawing back and forth through my skin”. The woman used thorns from an acacia tree to puncture holes in her vaginal skin and sew her up, leaving only a tiny hole for the urinal and menstrual flows. “My legs were completely numb, but the pain between them was so intense and excruciating that I wished I would die”! Five-year-old Waris was left in a hut to recuperate her infibulations. Her two cousins died from severe infections.

suturing in female genital mutilationsUncircumcised Muslim girls in those societies are seen as unclean and treated as outcasts by their family. For more than 20 years, Dirie suffered health problems from her radical circumcision. Menstruation was a long and agonizing process each month, as the menstrual blood backed up in her body. It’s when we touch on the subject of sex that Dirie becomes agitated. “Please,” she implores, “let’s not talk about that. Just use your imagination. I will never know the pleasures of sex that have been denied to me. I feel incomplete, crippled and knowing that there’s nothing that I can do to change all this, which is the most hopeless feeling of all”.

“When I met Dana (husband), I finally fell in love and wanted to experience the joys of sex with a man. But if you ask me today, ‘Do you enjoy sex?’ I would say not in the traditional way…! I simply enjoy being physically close to Dana, because I love him. It never gets easier. It is emotionally draining to talk about something, which has been locked deep for so long. The hardest part is to start somewhere”… “Everybody is waiting; they don’t know what to do. The West is aware of the problems. But they’re told to back off, and it’s none of your business”…???

Hawa Adan Mohamed was born and raised in Somalia. At the age of 8 she underwent the most radical forms of FGM practiced infibulations performed by her aunt in a small village. The procedure was carried out without anesthetics, using basic cutting tools and thorns. She lost an older sister, who died after the operation. In Somalia, circumcision is such a deeply rooted part of a Muslim girl’s life. “From the moment we are crawling, we know about circumcision; we know that our grandmothers and mothers and sisters are circumcised, and we look forward to it being done to us also”…. Back then, no one would have even dreamt of not being circumcised??? “If a mother doesn’t get her daughter(s) circumcised, her daughter(s) will be an outcast, no one will marry her, and everyone would think she is a prostitute; so it is a very difficult situation; we can’t be angry at anyone, because the mothers’ intentions are always good”.

In 1995, Hawa returned home despite ongoing civil turmoil, to help her countries women deal with the menace of circumcision. “I was devastated by what I saw. It seems that we have gone back 40 years. Girls were being infibulated every day with razors and thorns. Two young girls recently died following the procedure, and yet still many don’t question it? My dream is that, in my lifetime, there will be young girls living in the heart of Somalia, who can run free and play without pain, without the cruel and devastating effects of FGM circumcisions…. Even just a few, even 10…!!!” (NZ Herald 25 Nov 98)

At the age of 18 Zebebu Tulu, was kidnapped by her future husband, Getachew (Getu) Moneta, and taken to his brother’s home. Such forced unions are not uncommon in Ethiopia, where men often have near-total control over Muslim women’s lives. Traditions forbade tearful Zenebu from returning to her parents’ house, and the pair was married after negotiations between the two families (NZ Herald).

Nawal el Sadaawi has been a prominent campaigner against female circumcisions, which has earned her the ire of the mullahs.

The Naked Face of Eve contains several commentaries on female circumcision:

My blood was frozen in my veins. It looked to me as though some thieves had broken into my room, and kidnapped me from my bed. They were getting ready to cut my throat, which was always what happened with disobedient girls like myself in the stories that my old rural grandmother was so fond of telling me… I strained my ears trying to catch the rasp of the metallic sound. The moment it ceased, it was as though my heart stopped beating with it. I was unable to see, and somehow my breathing seemed also to have stopped. Yet I imagined the thing that was making the rasping sound coming closer and closer to me. … At that very moment I realized that my thighs had been pulled wide apart, and that each of my lower limbs was being held as far away from the other as possible, gripped by-steel fingers that never relinquished their pressure. I felt that the rasping knife or blade was heading straight down towards my throat. Then suddenly the sharp metallic edge seemed to drop between my thighs and there cut off a piece of flesh from my body. I screamed with pain despite the tight hand held over my mouth, for the pain was not just a pain, it was like a searing flame that went through my whole body. After a few moments, I saw a red pool of blood around my hips. I did not know what they had cut off from my body, and I did not try to find out. I just wept and wept and I wept, and called out to my mother for help. But the worst shock of all was when I looked around and found her standing by my side. Yes, it was her, I could not be mistaken, in flesh and blood, right in the midst of these strangers, talking to them and smiling at them, as though they had not participated in slaughtering her daughter just a few moments ago…

Elizabeth Lloyds in making a case that ‘female orgasm is just for women to have fun with and no reproductive values’, has claimed that FGM has little effect on fertility:

  1. Women who have had FGM do suffer a significantly increased fertility risks. Women who have had the procedure are more likely to need Caesareans and the death rate among their babies is up to 50% higher” WHO said in a new report. The study, reported in the Lancet, involved 30,000 African women (BBC “Female circumcision ‘birth risk’ 2 June 2006).

  2. A study by Jones et al. in Burkina Faso also found that women who have been cut are more likely to experience obstetric complications, a 1998-1999 NHRC study found that women who were circumcised and married off earlier than uncircumcised women, and that circumcised women had greater total fertility than the uncircumcised women (Reason 2004).

  3. Another study based on DHS surveys in the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, and Tanzania found that, “when controlling for confounding socioeconomic, demographic and cultural variables, circumcised Muslim women, grouped by age at circumcision, did not have significantly different odds of infertility nor of childbearing than uncut women” (emphasis added, Larsen and Yan).

  4. The Relationship between Female Genital Cutting and Fertility in Kassena-Nankana District of Northern Ghana“, noted a Paper presented by Elizabeth F. Jackson, Philip B. Adongo, Ayaga A. Bawah, Ellie Feinglass, and James F. Phillips  at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Philadelphia, March 31 – April 2, 2005)

It is clear that, patriarchal societies that diminish or eliminate the Muslim women’s capacity for orgasms, by genital cutting or any other means, also have an agenda to make the Muslim women bear more children—i.e. more ‘reproductively successful’. FGM also occurs because men fear, not without good reason, that female arousal does influence reproductive choice. See also the Dogons, the Shipibo and the Sunnah.

In 2004, an international conference on FGM—female genital mutilation—has ended in Kenya with a fresh call to ban these inhumane practices amongst Muslims. The campaigners urged more Muslim countries to ratify the ‘Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa’ adopted in July 2003. It has so far been ratified by just three states, Rwanda, Libya and Comoros. Although, female circumcision is banned in 14 Islamic African countries, including Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana and Togo, the practice is still widespread…

Further reading:

1. Female Genital Mutilation PSA co-produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt. 

2. FGM –how it is done…

"Islam elevates women"- by genital mutilation

Yemeni Parliament votes down bill to outlaw female genital mutilation

* While Islamic spokesmen lie and deny and even blame ‘ indigenous pre-Islamic practices’,  clit-cutting continues and increases, wherever the prophets followers pitch their tents:

liars-11.jpg

 Yusuf Irfan: “Perhaps our imams can remind Indonesian imams that not all vestiges of Indonesia’s indigenous pre-Islamic customs are worth holding onto.”

We keep hearing from Islamic spokesmen in the West how this practice has nothing to do with Islam — and yet Yemen now votes down attempts to outlaw it. Jordan did the same thing a few years ago on another practice that is supposed to be solely cultural: the Parliament voted down attempts to stiffen penalties for it, on Islamic grounds. And here a Yemeni pol explains that since religious authorities haven’t forbidden genital mutilation, they can’t very well outlaw it.

“Yemen’s MPs debate female circumcision, pre-marriage tests,”

from the Yemen Times via DW

*
SANA’A, April-13 — Preventing female circumcision and pre-marriage medical tests evoked turmoil and disagreement among Parliament members (MPs) in last week’s session.
The session ended with a unanimous agreement to cancel the term 3, which would prevent female circumcision, and delay the discussion of pre-marriage tests.

The two terms were part of a draft written by the Safe Motherhood Law Project, and introduced by the heath committee inside Parliament.

Najeb Ghanem, the Chairman of the Health Committee in Parliament, expressed his sorrow over the way Parliament discussed the two issues.

“These two topics are very important for guaranteeing women’s rights in Yemen,” he commented in a phone call to the Yemen Times after the session.

According to Ghanem, who belongs to the Islah party, most of the MPs who disagreed with the terms represent the conservative attitudes of most Yemeni citizens. “The committee is aware of the Yemeni conservative community’s positions on these issues. So we [the committee] suggested applying the law of emphasizing pre-marriage medical tests after ten years… that is after we carry out extensive awareness campaign to educate people about the importance of such tests.”

Zid Al-Shami, an MP who suggested delaying the approval of the two terms, confirmed that such topics are “sensitive and need more awareness.”

“I suggested canceling term number three, about preventing female circumcision, for many reasons. First, the term, which was written in the draft, included inappropriate and shameful sentences. Second, female circumcision exists in few regions in Yemen, like in Hodeidah and Hadramout, so it not common practice. And finally, there is still religious debate regarding the issue, so as we have no directives by the heads of religion to forbid female circumcision, we do not have the right to ban it,” Al-Shami explained….

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Update:

For Kurdish Girls, a Painful Ancient Ritual

 “We don’t know why we do it, but we will never stop because Islam and our elders require it.”

By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, December 29, 2008; A09

 

TUZ KHURMATU, Iraq

Sheelan Anwar Omer, a shy 7-year-old Kurdish girl, bounded into her neighbor’s house with an ear-to-ear smile, looking for the party her mother had promised.

There was no celebration. Instead, a local woman quickly locked a rusty red door behind Sheelan, who looked bewildered when her mother ordered the girl to remove her underpants. Sheelan began to whimper, then tremble, while the women pushed apart her legs and a midwife raised a stainless-steel razor blade in the air. “I do this in the name of Allah!” she intoned.

As the midwife sliced off part of Sheelan’s genitals, the girl let out a high-pitched wail heard throughout the neighborhood. As she carried the sobbing child back home, Sheelan’s mother smiled with pride.

“This is the practice of the Kurdish people for as long as anyone can remember,” said the mother, Aisha Hameed, 30, a housewife in this ethnically mixed town about 100 miles north of Baghdad. “We don’t know why we do it, but we will never stop because Islam and our elders require it.”

Kurdistan is the only known part of Iraq –and one of the few places in the world–where female circumcision is widespread. More than 60 percent of women in Kurdish areas of northern Iraq have been circumcised, according to a study conducted this year. In at least one Kurdish territory, 95 percent of women have undergone the practice, which human rights groups call female genital mutilation.

The practice, and the Kurdish parliament’s refusal to outlaw it, highlight the plight of women in a region with a reputation for having a more progressive society than the rest of Iraq. Advocates for women point to the increasing frequency of honor killings against women and female self-immolations in Kurdistan this year as further evidence that women in the area still face significant obstacles, despite efforts to raise public awareness of circumcision and violence against women.

“When the Kurdish people were fighting for our independence, women participated as full members in the underground resistance,” said Pakshan Zangana, who heads the women’s committee in the Kurdish parliament. “But now that we have won our freedom, the position of women has been pushed backwards and crimes against us are minimized.”

Zangana has been lobbying for a law in Kurdistan, a semiautonomous region with its own government, that would impose jail terms of up to 10 years on those who carry out or facilitate female circumcision. But the legislation has been stalled in parliament for nearly a year, because of what women’s advocates believe is reluctance by senior Kurdish leaders to draw international public attention to the little-noticed tradition.

The Kurdish region’s minister of human rights, Yousif Mohammad Aziz, said he didn’t think the issue required action by parliament. “Not every small problem in the community has to have a law dealing with it,” he said.

The practice of female circumcision is extremely rare in the Arab parts of Iraq, according to women’s groups. They say it is not clear why the practice — common in some parts of Africa and the Middle East — became popular with Iraqi Kurds but not Iraqi Arabs.

Supporters of female circumcision said the practice, which has been a ritual in their culture for countless generations, is rooted in sayings they attribute to the prophet Muhammad, though the accuracy of those sayings is disputed by other Muslim scholars. The circumcision is performed by women on women, and men are usually not involved in the procedure. In the case of Sheelan, her mother informed her father that she was going to have the circumcision performed, but otherwise, he played no role.

Kurds who support circumcising girls say the practice has two goals: It controls a woman’s sexual desires, and it makes her spiritually clean so that others can eat the meals she prepares.

“I would not eat food from the hands of someone who did not have the procedure,” said Hurmet Kitab, a housewife who said she was 91 years old.

Kitab, who lives in the village of Kalar in Kurdistan’s eastern Germian area, where female circumcision is prevalent, has had the procedure done on herself and all her daughters. When asked if she would have her 10-month-old granddaughter Saya circumcised, Kitab said “Of course” and explained that the procedure is painless.

“They just cut off a little bit,” she said, flicking her finger at the top part of a key, which she then dropped on the floor.

Women’s rights groups in Kurdistan are working eagerly to change the perception that the procedure is harmless and that it is required under Islam. They go to villages in rural areas where the practice is most ingrained and tell women and religious leaders of the physical and psychological damage the circumcision can cause. Health experts say the procedure can result in adverse medical consequences for women, including infections, chronic pain and increased risks during childbirth.

Ghamjeen Shaker, a 13-year-old from the Kurdish capital of Irbil, said she is still traumatized from the day she was circumcised. She sits with her legs clenched together and her hands clasped tightly on her lap, as if protecting herself from another operation. Indeed, Shaker says she sometimes dreams that the midwife who circumcised her is coming back to perform the procedure again.

She was 5 when her mother sent her out to buy parsley and then locked her in the front yard of their home with six other girls. “I knew something bad was going to happen, but I didn’t know exactly where they were going to cut,” she recalled. “My family just kept saying, don’t worry, this is a social custom we have been doing forever.”

“They pinned me to the ground, and I just cried and cried,” said Shaker, who spoke barely above a whisper. “I was just so astonished. But now I realize that they want to prevent women from living their lives normally.”

Her mother, Shukria Ismaeel Jarjees, a 38-year-old housewife, said she was forced by her relatives and elderly women in the community to have her daughter circumcised. “I made a huge mistake, and now my daughter is always complaining of pain in her pelvis,” Jarjees said. Her eyes began to fill with tears. “I now advise my daughters to never circumcise their children.”

Shaker hopes to become a social worker focusing on women’s issues, in particular other girls traumatized by female circumcision.

“I want to make sure the world understands they cannot silence girls like this,” she said.

Susan Faqi Rasheed, president of the Irbil branch of the Kurdistan Women’s Union, said that even in the cosmopolitan capital, as many as a third of young girls are circumcised. “When the Kurds hold on to something, they hold on to it strongly,” she said. “So now they hold to Islam more than the Arabs.”

One of the religious leaders who have been less vocal in demanding female circumcisions is Hama Ameen Abdul Kader Hussein, preacher at the Grand Mosque of Kalar and head of the clergymen’s union in Germian. Previously, he preached that female circumcision was required. Now he says it is optional, which Hussein believes has caused the area’s rate of female circumcision to drop from 100 percent to about 50 percent.

“If there is any harm in this exercise,” he said, “we should not do it.”

Despite the outreach efforts, a study of women in more than 300 Kurdish villages by WADI, a German nongovernmental group that advocates against female circumcision, found that 62 percent underwent the procedure.

In Tuz Khurmatu, the most famous practitioner of female circumcision is Maharoub Juwad Nawchas, a 40-year-old midwife with traditional Kurdish tattoos covering her chin. She learned from her mother, who used to perform the procedure for free, though Nawchas now charges 4,000 Iraqi dinars, or just under $3.50, because her husband is disabled and can’t work. She has circumcised about 30 girls a year for the past two decades.

On the day she circumcised Sheelan, the midwife began the ritual by laying down an empty white potato sack to serve as her working area. AK-47 assault rifles hung from the wall of the dingy concrete house, and watermelons rested below.

When Sheelan entered the room, her mother, Nawchas and a local woman placed the girl on a tiny wooden stool the size of a brick. The midwife applied yellow antiseptic to her pelvic area and injected her with lignocaine, an anesthetic. Little children peeked through the window to see what the noise was about.

“It’s all right, it’s all right,” Sheelan’s mother whispered, as the girl screamed so loudly her face turned red. She tried to bunch up her skirt over her pelvis and shield the area with her hand, but the women jerked her arms back.

Then Nawchas uttered the prayer, made a swift cut, and immediately moved the girl over a pile of ashes to control the bleeding.

The entire ritual took less then 10 minutes.

Back home, Sheelan lay on the floor, unable to move or talk much. She clutched a bag filled with orange soda and candy and barely said anything except that she was in pain.

But she became more animated when asked whether it was worth it to have the operation so her friends and neighbors would be comfortable eating food she prepared. “I would do anything not to have this pain, even if meant they would not eat from my hands,” she rasped slowly.

“I just wish that I could be the way I was before the procedure,” she said.

Staff photographer Andrea Bruce and special correspondents Nian Ahmed and Dlovan Brwari contributed to this report.