The New York Times recently ran a piece on female genital mutilation (FGM) here in the United States. A common practice in many areas of the world, FGM is the partial or total removal of clitoris or labia, commonly with a razorblade and no anesthesia. It is performed on girls and women generally between ages 4 and 18.
It’s becoming increasingly common. A 2013 study by Sanctuary for Families estimated that 150,000-200,000 girls living in America are at risk of FGM, with the greatest number of women at risk in the New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles areas. Over a ten-year period, the number of girls at risk grew by 35%.
With FGM outlawed in the U.S., practitioners have turned to sending young girls abroad to be cut, mostly to their native countries. Because this occurs mostly during school breaks, it has come to be known as “vacation cutting” – as school ends, the nightmare of summertime “vacation cutting” begins.
This issue certainly deserves the NYT‘s attention. But their reporting, which claims that the issue is one of African culture, completely misses the point.
Of five nations the NYT states have the highest rate of FGM, four are more than 85% Muslim. FGM is also common among Pakistanis, who are 96% Muslim and the second-fastest-growing immigrant group in the U.S. Nigerians, who at 50% Muslim are the single largest African immigrant group to the U.S., happen to have the highest number of FGM cases worldwide.
The Secretary-General of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America most recently sanctioned this sharia-driven practice, stating, “But for the woman the purpose of circumcision is the benefit that it has in lessening her lust, which is a wholesome request.”
Women’s rights advocates who fight FGM understand that it is sanctioned by sharia, but they too often refuse to publicly acknowledge this for fear of being labeled “Islamo-phobic.”
This “African only” FGM education will save African girls from this horror, but it ignores the plight of young Muslim-American girls of other ethnicities who are also at risk. Politically correct reporting by the NYT, and the corroboration by some American women’s rights groups, is endangering Muslim girls in America.
Ms. Brighton, a women’s rights activist, is a former Wall Street trader and author of the new book Sharia-ism is Here: The Battle to Control Women and Everyone Else.