We are currently in the process of testing several options for commenting. Right now the option for commenting through Facebook accounts is active. Soon we will decide which system we will use. Sorry for the inconvenience. Please feel free to leave your comments through the Facebook option.
If you have any suggestion or ideas, please let us know at email@example.com
Somaliland Sun Editorial Team, May 20, 2013
- A Collection of Resources for any Writer
- Human Trafficking Somali Gang Members Indicted
- Somaliland: “Recruitment and Termination of Civil Service is Neither Nepotistic nor Clan Based”
- Reflections on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
- Somaliland: 2012 Football Finalists Meet again for the 2013 Finals
- Somaliland: “Ethiopia Shall Defend Somaliland to the Hilt” PM Desalegn
- Somaliland to Stand by Ethiopia over Any Nile Water Conflict
- Somaliland: SFG Protests Ethiopia's Support for Somaliland and Military Display
- Somaliland: Foreign Minister Addresses National Issues at the SORIC Investment Conference in Kenya
- Somaliland: Egypt’s Instability Triggers a New Proxy War against Ethiopia and its Allies
|Somaliland: FGM is not an Islamic Religion Obligations|
|Tuesday, 05 June 2012 20:04|
"FGM is a cultural practice and not Religious "Minister of Religion
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The practice of Female Genital Mutilation-FGM has been termed as not only abhorrent but a denial of rights.
This was said by the minister of Religion & endowments Hon Sheikh Khalil Abdilahi during an FGM awareness raising workshop organized by the National Organization of Women-NOW where the minister stressed on the importance of separating religious and traditional tenets.
The religion & endowments minister said that the practice of FGM which is responsible for much suffering among women on whom it had been perpetrated urged parents to ensure that that future generations of women are protected from this suffering, Said he, "Stop mutilating your daughters as FGM is not an Islamic practice"
The one day workshop which was entertained with songs and a play that depicted the ill after effects of FGM was implemented by NOW at its headquarters in Hargeisa and funded by Toostan international; saw a diversified leadership in attendance including ministers, Members of parliament, religious leaders as well as with over 100 participating women representing NOW regional branches countrywide.
According to the deputy health minister Hon Nimo Hussein Qawdan, women can only take their proper place in the decision making process once the abhorrent and destructive practice of FGM is stopped completely.
Hon Nimo revealed that the administration of H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo-President of Somaliland plans to support various anti-FGM awareness raising campaigns nationwide especially in rural areas where the practice is still rampant, Said she, "We ask all FGM stakeholders to work in concert thus raise awareness on the ills of FGM and more specifically, FGM's non relation to the Islamic religion"
The deputy health who together with Education minister Hon Zamzam Abdi Aden is the only women in the cabinet of ministers urged parents not only to stop FGM on their daughters but to give them equal education opportunities with their sons.
"If girls were given same educational opportunities with boys there would have been more women ministers in the country" Said Hon Nimo Qawdan while stressing that the cessation of the practice will also reduce medical expenses thus uplift livelihoods
According to Toostan international Program manager Mr. Birima Sall his organization's partnership with NOW will not only be sustained but enhanced thus ensure that Somaliland women no longer suffer from the side effects of FGM. He informed that similar campaigns will be funded in order to raise awareness of FGM nationwide.
While thanking Toostan international for its support in FGM The deputy chairperson of NOW Ms Sitin Hasan Jama informed that the management and board of the women body will see to it that objectives of their joint FGM project with Toostan are achieved.
According to the National Organization of Women-NOW chairperson who officially brought seminar activities to conclusion said that FGM awareness campaigns will from now henceforth focus in regional and district headquarters. She urged participants to see to it that relevant arrangements are made in conjunction with the NOW Hqs as pertains to the forthcoming campaigns in their respective areas of origin.
For our readers interested in more information on FGM Below is a Synopsis of what the World Organization-WHO says about the cutting as it pertains to the following
• History and cultural context
• Classification and health consequences
• Types I, II, III & IV
• Immediate and late complications
• Reinfibulation and defibulation
Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
FGM is typically carried out on girls from a few days old to puberty. It may take place in a hospital, but is usually performed, without anaesthesia, by a traditional circumciser using a knife, razor, or scissors. According to the WHO, it is practiced in 28 countries in western, eastern, and north-eastern Africa, in parts of the Middle East, and within some immigrant communities in Europe, North America, and Australasia.The WHO estimates that 100–140 million women and girls around the world have experienced the procedure, including 92 million in Africa.The practise is carried out by some communities who believe it reduces a woman's libido.
The WHO has offered four classifications of FGM. The main three are Type I, removal of the clitoral hood, almost invariably accompanied by removal of the clitoris itself (clitoridectomy); Type II, removal of the clitoris and inner labia; and Type III (infibulation), removal of all or part of the inner and outer labia, and usually the clitoris, and the fusion of the wound, leaving a small hole for the passage of urine and menstrual blood—the fused wound is opened for intercourse and childbirth. Around 85 percent of women who undergo FGM experience Types I and II, and 15 percent Type III, though Type III is the most common procedure in several countries, including Sudan, Somalia, and Djibouti. Several miscellaneous acts are categorized as Type IV. These range from a symbolic pricking or piercing of the clitoris or labia, to cauterization of the clitoris, cutting into the vagina to widen it (gishiri cutting), and introducing corrosive substances to tighten it.
Opposition to FGM focuses on human rights violations, lack of informed consent, and health risks, which include fatal hemorrhaging, epidermoid cysts, recurrent urinary and vaginal infections, chronic pain, and obstetrical complications. Since 1979, there have been concerted efforts by international bodies to end the practice, including sponsorship by the United Nations of an International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, held each February 6 since 2003.Sylvia Tamale, a Ugandan legal scholar, writes that there is a large body of research and activism in Africa itself that strongly opposes FGM, but she cautions that some African feminists object to what she calls the imperialist infantilization of African women, and they reject the idea that FGM is nothing but a barbaric rejection of modernity. Tamale suggests that there are cultural and political aspects to the practice's continuation that make opposition to it a complex issue.
History and cultural context
Strabo, the Greek geographer, reported the practice's existence in Egypt when he visited in 25 BCE.
FGM is considered by its practitioners to be an essential part of raising a girl properly—girls are regarded as having been cleansed by the removal of "male" body parts. It ensures pre-marital virginity and inhibits extra-marital sex, because it reduces women's libido. Women fear the pain of re-opening the vagina, and are afraid of being discovered if it is opened illicitly.
The term "pharaonic circumcision" (Type III) stems from its practice in Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs, and "fibula" (in "infibulation") refers to the Roman practice of piercing the outer labia with a fibula, or brooch. Leonard Kuber and Judith Muascher write that circumcised females have been found among Egyptian mummies, and that Herodotus (c. 484 BCE – c. 425 BCE) referred to the practice when he visited Egypt. There is reference on a Greek papyrus from 163 BCE to the procedure being conducted on girls in Memphis, the ancient Egyptian capital, and Strabo (c. 64 BCE – c. 23 CE), the Greek geographer, reported it when he visited Egypt in 25 BCE.
Asim Zaki Mustafa argues that the common attribution of the procedure to Islam is unfair because it is a much older phenomenon.While individual Muslims, Christians, and Jews practise FGM,it is not a requirement of any religious observance. Judaism requires circumcision for boys, but does not allow it for girls. Islamic scholars have said that, while male circumcision is a sunna, or religious obligation, female circumcision is not required, and several have issued a fatwa against Type III FGM.
Sudanese surgeon Nahid Toubia—president of RAINBO (Research, Action and Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of Women) —told the BBC in 2002 that campaigning against FGM involved trying to change women's consciousness: "By allowing your genitals to be removed [it is perceived that] you are heightened to another level of pure motherhood—a motherhood not tainted by sexuality and that is why the woman gives it away to become the matron, respected by everyone. By taking on this practice, which is a woman's domain, it actually empowers them. It is much more difficult to convince the women to give it up, than to convince the men."Boyle writes that the Masai of Tanzania will not call a woman "mother" when she has children if she is uncircumcised.
According to Amnesty, in certain societies women who have not had the procedure are regarded as too unclean to handle food and water, and there is a belief that a woman's genitals might continue to grow without FGM, until they dangle between her legs. Some groups see the clitoris as dangerous, capable of killing a man if his penis touches it, or a baby if the head comes into contact with it during birth, though Amnesty cautions that ideas about the power of the clitoris can be found elsewhere. Gynaecologists in England and the United States would remove it during the 19th century to "cure" insanity, masturbation, and nymphomania. The first reported clitoridectomy in the West was carried out in 1822 by a surgeon in Berlin on a teenage girl regarded as an "imbecile" who was masturbating. Isaac Baker Brown (1812–1873), an English gynaecologist who was president of the Medical Society of London in 1865, believed that the "unnatural irritation" of the clitoris caused epilepsy, hysteria, and mania, and would remove it "whenever he had the opportunity of doing so," according to an obituary. Peter Lewis Allen writes that his views caused outrage—or, rather, his public expression of them did—and Brown died penniless after being expelled from the Obstetrical Society.
Classification and health consequences
The age at which the procedure is performed varies. Comfort Momoh, a specialist midwife in England, writes that in Ethiopia the Falashas perform it when the child is a few days old, the Amhara on the eighth day of birth, while the Adere and Oromo choose between four years and puberty. In Somalia it is done between four and nine years. Other communities may wait until adulthood, she writes, either just before marriage or just after the first pregnancy. The procedure may be carried out on one girl alone, or on a group of girls at the same time.It is generally performed by a traditional circumciser, usually an older woman known as a "gedda," without anaesthesia or sterile equipment, though richer families may pay instead for the services of a nurse, midwife, or doctor using a local anaesthetic. It may also be performed by the mother or grandmother, or in some societies—such as Nigeria and Egypt—by the local male barber.
The WHO divides FGM into four categories (see image right for types I–III). Around 85 percent of women experience Types I and II, and 15 percent Type III, though Martha Nussbaum writes that Type III nevertheless accounts for 80–90 percent of all such procedures in countries such as Sudan, Somalia, and Dijbouti
Types I, II, III & IV
Type I is the removal of the clitoral hood (Type Ia); or the partial or total removal of the clitoris, a clitoridectomy (Type Ib). Type II, often called excision, is partial or total removal of the clitoris and the inner labia or outer labia. Type IIa is removal of the inner labia only; Type IIb, partial or total removal of the clitoris and the inner labia; and Type IIc, partial or total removal of the clitoris, and the inner and outer labia.
Type III, commonly called infibulation or pharaonic circumcision, is the removal of all external genitalia. The inner and outer labia are cut away, with or without excision of the clitoris. The girl's legs are then tied together from hip to ankle for up to 40 days to allow the wound to heal. The immobility causes the labial tissue to bond, forming a wall of flesh and skin across the entire vulva, apart from a hole the size of a matchstick for the passage of urine and menstrual blood, which is created by inserting a twig or rock salt into the wound.There is another form of Type III called matwasat, where the stitching of the vulva is less extreme and the hole left is bigger. Momoh describes a Type III procedure in Female Genital Mutilation (2005):
A variety of other procedures are collectively known as Type IV, which the WHO defines as "all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization." This ranges from ritual nicking of the clitoris—the main practice in Indonesia—to stretching the clitoris or labia, burning or scarring the genitals, or introducing harmful substances into the vagina to tighten it. It also includes hymenotomy, the removal of a hymen regarded as too thick, and gishiri cutting, a practice in which the vagina's anterior wall is cut with a knife to enlarge it.
Immediate and late complications
FGM is typically carried out by traditional practitioners, without anaesthesia, using unsterile cutting devices such as knives, razors, scissors, cut glass, sharpened rocks, and fingernails, and applying suturing material such as agave or acacia thorns.Affluent people in urban settings may have the procedure done in a safer medical environment.
FGM has immediate and late complications. Immediate complications are increased when FGM is performed in traditional ways, and without access to medical resources: the procedure is extremely painful and a bleeding complication can be fatal. Other immediate complications include acute urinary retention, urinary infection, wound infection, septicemia, tetanus, and in case of unsterile and reused instruments, hepatitis and HIV.According to Lewnes' UNICEF report, it is unknown how many girls and women die from the procedure because "few records are kept" and fatalities caused by FGM "are rarely reported as such". Momoh says the short-term mortality rate is around 10 percent, due to complications such as infection, haemorrhage, and hypovolemic shock. A film shot in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, by Mariana van Zeller in 2007 discusses how girls who bleed excessively are regarded as witches.
Late complications may vary depending on the type of FGM performed. The formation of scars and keloids can lead to strictures, obstruction or fistula formation of the urinary and genital tracts. Urinary tract sequalae include damage to urethra and bladder with infections and incontinence. Genital tract sequelae include vaginal and pelvic infections, dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, and infertility. Complete obstruction of the vagina results in hematocolpos and hematometra.Other complications include epidermoid cysts that may become infected, neuroma formation, typically involving nerves that supplied the clitoris, and pelvic pain.
FGM may complicate pregnancy and place women at higher risk for obstetrical problems, which are more common with the more extensive FGM procedures.Thus, in women with Type III FGM who have developed vesicovaginal or rectovaginal fistulae—holes that allows urine and feces to seep into the vagina—it is difficult to obtain clear urine samples as part of prenatal care making the diagnosis of certain conditions harder, such as preeclampsia. Cervical evaluation during labour may be impeded, and labour prolonged. Third-degree laceration, anal sphincter damage, and emergency caesarean section are more common in FGM women than in controls. Neonatal mortality is increased in women with FGM. The WHO estimated that an additional 10–20 babies die per 1,000 deliveries as a result of FGM; the estimate was based on a 2006 study conducted on 28,393 women attending delivery wards at 28 obstetric centers in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan. In those settings all types of FGM were found to pose an increased risk of death to the baby: 15 percent higher for Type I, 32 percent for Type II, and 55 percent for Type III.
Psychological complications are related to cultural context; damage may occur to women who undergo FGM particularly when they are moving outside their traditional circles and are confronted with a view that mutilation is not the norm. Women with FGM typically report sexual dysfunction and dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse), but several researchers have written that FGM does not necessarily destroy sexual desire in women. Elizabeth Heger Boyle reported several studies during the 1980s and 1990s where the women said they were able to enjoy sex, though with Type III the risk of sexual dysfunction was higher.
It has been argued that FGM is related to the high incidence of AIDS in some parts of Africa, since intercourse with a circumcised female is conducive to an exchange of blood.
Reinfibulation and defibulation
Women may request reinfibulation (RI) — the restoration of the infibulation — after giving birth, a contentious issue, with surgeons who perform the procedure regarded as behaving unethically and probably illegally. In Sudan, RI is known as El-Adel (re-circumcision or, literally, "putting right" or "improving"). Two cuts are made around the vagina, then sutures are put in place to tighten it to the size of a pinhole. Vanja Bergrren writes that this in effect mimics virginity. RI may also be carried out just before marriage, after divorce, or even in elderly women to prepare them for death.
Defibulation, or deinfibulation, is a surgical technique to reverse the closure of the vaginal opening after a Type III infibulation, and consists of a vertical cut opening up normal access to the vagina.This may be accompanied by removal of scar tissue and labial repair. Procedures have been developed to repair clitoral integrity, such as by Pierre Foldes, a French urologist and surgeon, and Marci Bowers, an American surgeon who studied his work; they used intact clitoral tissue from inside women's bodies to form a new clitoris.
You are not aloneWe have 100 guests and 1 member online