Stockholm Syndrome: StepFeed reported last week that a new survey has “revealed that the number of individuals who “approve” of female circumcision in Egypt totaled 32 percent, more than double of those in Iraq (13 percent).” What’s more, “according to the survey, the percentage of individuals who reported approval of FGM was higher among females (51 percent) and lower among males (14 percent).”
The percentage of women who have suffered this barbaric procedure is even higher: “According to a 2014 survey, 92 percent of Egyptian women aged between 15 and 49 have been circumcised.” Measures to curb the practice have been largely ineffective: “According to a 2016 survey by UNICEF, ‘87 percent of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49’ have been genitally cut.” This is despite the fact that “the procedure – which has killed young girls in Egypt – can lead to worrisome side effects including severe physical pain, bleeding, and the risk of wound infections. The practice has also been revealed to cause a delay in women’s sexual response cycle.”
That is the idea. StepFeed noted that “those who engage in the procedure – or enforce it on their daughters – claim that it ‘protects’ a girl’s purity because it can ‘diminish sexual pleasure.’” This is a common view: “an Egyptian lawmaker, Elhamy Agina, once claimed that Egyptian men are ‘sexually weak’ and that women needed the procedure to reduce their ‘sexual appetite.’”
Yet despite reporting forthrightly on a point that the establishment media in the West usually ignores, that female genital mutilation is meant to diminish a woman’s sexual pleasure and render her easier to control, this story still repeats the usual establishment media line about why the practice persists despite all efforts to stamp it out: “People in countries where FGM is still common attempt to link it to religion, but the practice has nothing to do with any faith and predates both Christianity and Islam. It has also been denounced by religious leaders worldwide.”
That is only partially true, at best.
Yes, “people in countries where FGM is still common attempt to link it to religion”: “It is a religious thing. Do you want to change religion?” said one Egyptian in response to a campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation. “You only listen to what the West is saying.”
However, StepFeed, like all the rest of the establishment media, ignores the fact that actually female genital mutilation is mandated in Islamic law: “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” So says a manual of Islamic law that is certified by one of the foremost authorities in Sunni Islam, Cairo’s al-Azhar, as reliable: Reliance of the Traveller (Umdat al-Salik) e4.3 (translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64).
Why is it obligatory? Because Muhammad is held to have said so. A hadith states: “Abu al- Malih ibn Usama’s father relates that the Prophet said: ‘Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.’” (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75)
And another adds: “Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: ‘Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.’” (Abu Dawud 41:5251)
That hadith is classified as weak, but this one is classified as sahih (reliable): “Aishah narrated: ‘When the circumcised meets the circumcised, then indeed Ghusl is required. Myself and Allah’s Messenger did that, so we performed Ghusl.’” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 108)
If Muhammad had the genitals of his favorite wife, Aisha, mutilated, that is a strong endorsement of the practice from the man who is an “excellent example” (Qur’an 33:21) for Muslims.
Why does it matter whether or not female genital mutilation is Islamic? Because the practice will never be eradicated if its root causes are not confronted. As long as those Muslims continue to believe that Allah and Muhammad want it done, for some that will override all other considerations. That’s why StepFeed need not be baffled by what we are seeing in Egypt today.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 19 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
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