“I feel that God made my body perfect the way I was born. Then man robbed me, took away my power, and left me a cripple. My womanhood was stolen. If God had wanted those body parts missing, why did he create them?” Waris Dirie
Friday 6th February 2015 marked the 12th International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM. 140 million women and girls worldwide underwent brutal practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); another 3 million are at risk yearly to face the excruciating pain of their genitalia being removed partially or even completely for no medical reason but to obey tradition and social pressures.
The archaic practice to prevent girls from “being ill-mannered and doing bad things, and being badly behaved”, is carried out in 29 countries which are primarily concentrated in Africa and the Middle East. In violation of human rights of women and girls the procedure is generally carried between infancy and age 15.
One quarter of all FGM worldwide is carried out in Egypt; 91% of all married women there have been mutilated and that despite the fact that the practice had been made illegal in 2008. Even though the practice includes many risks including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths, it has persisted for over a thousand years. Continue reading →
A startling statement? Yet this was the title of an article written by former Kuwaiti Minister of Information, Saad bin Tafla al Ajami, published by the Qatari newspaper al Sharq in 7 August 2014. He was not celebrating the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), nor the atrocities it is committing against civilians and minorities in Iraq and Syria.
He was reminding us that ISIS, while condemned by the majority of Muslims, is a product of an Islamic religious discourse that dominated our public sphere in the last decades – a mainstream discourse!
ISIS “did not come from another planet’, He said. ‘It is not a product of the infidel West or a bygone orient”, he insisted.
No, “the truth that we can not deny is: ISIS learned from our schools, prayed in our mosques, listened to our media… and our religious platforms, read from our books and references, and followed Fatwas (religious edicts) we produced”.
He is right.
It would be easy to insist that ISIS does not represent the correct teachings of Islam. It would be very easy to do that. And yes, I do believe that Islam is what we, humans, make of it. Any religion could be a message of love or a sword for hatred by the people believing in it.