Essay about Female Genital Mutilation

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Female Genital Mutilation:
Barbaric Custom or Cultural Rite

“I was shaking out of my skin with fear. I sat at Netsent’s head so she couldn’t cry out. The circumciser began to cut with a razor blade. She cut everything: the clitoris, the inner and outer labia. There was so much blood!” This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in Marie Claire in April 2003. The speaker is a girl by the name of Genet Girma, an Ethiopian, describing the conditions under which her sister Netsent was forced to have her genitalia removed. Each year, two million girls undergo the devastating and disfiguring practice of genital cutting (Goodwin 157). Genital cutting, widely known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is the practice of cutting away parts of
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This practice is often associated with the religion of Islam, and is most often performed in Middle Eastern and North African countries. In both of the African nations of Somalia and Djibouti, 98% of women have had this procedure (Ahmad). Because of immigration, however, the practice of FGM has recently become more prevalent in Europe and North America. Concerns for the health of women and girls as young as three who are subject to this procedure, have led to legislation making FGM illegal in the United States.
FGM is not a religious practice required by the Islamic faith. It has, however, become a “law by custom” (Ahmad). Neither of the two main sources of Muslim Law, the Koran and the Sunnah, mention the practice, and most Islamic scholars agree that it is not an Islamic religious rite. The practice has become important to Islam because it is associated with female sexual purity. FGM is intended by its practitioners to both control women’s sexual drives and also to cleanse women’s genitalia by removing the clitoris, which is seen as masculine, a female penis. Because of its association with purity, young women who have not been excised have little chance of marriage in the countries where FGM is

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