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You are currently browsing the archives for the Egypt category

Islam and Female Genital Mutilation

Originally Published on SmoothstoneBlog: Dec 7, 2006
What happened to this little Muslim girl?

Warning: Graphic description of barbaric ritual. Do not read any further if you are easily offended. From Der Spiegel:

Fatima’s scream is as blood-curdling as it is heart-wrenching. The little girl, who looks to be about eight years old, screams in a panic, initially in fear and then because she is unable to bear the pain she is experiencing. She is lying on the floor of a dirty hut somewhere in the Ethiopian desert. Her body is contorted with pain as she screams, cries and finally lies there whimpering. Her new, green floral dress is soaked in blood. Two men and her mother press the delicate child against the floor and pull apart her thin little legs.

An old woman crouches in front of Fatima, holding a shiny razor blade and a thick, threaded darning needle. Today is the day Fatima will become a woman, a decent woman.

The purpose of the thick darning needle is to lift the lips of the vulva to facilitate cutting them off. The old woman moves the razor blade into position. First she slices off the small lips of the vulva and then the clitoris. There is blood everywhere. The girl arches her small, sweat-soaked body. The old woman repeatedly pours a milky liquid onto the wound to prevent infection. Then the grandmother comes into the hut, pokes at the wound and tells the old woman to make a deeper cut. The process starts all over again. Fatima’s screams become almost unbearable. If the sight of this girl under female circumcision is so difficult to bear, how can she possibly stand the pain?

Finally the deed is done. The wound is sewn shut with thorns, leaving only a tiny opening. A straw is inserted into the small opening to prevent it from closing. Then Fatima’s legs are tied together with a rope to allow the wound to heal. She will lie in bed, her legs tied together in this fashion, for several weeks.

The old woman completes her barbaric task with a slap on her subject’s behind. Fatima is now a woman.

About 6,000 girls fall victim to genital mutilation every day, or about 2 million a year. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 100 and 140 million women worldwide are circumcised. Most circumcised women live in 28 African countries, as well as in Asia and the Middle East. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), at least 90 percent of all women are circumcised in developing countries like Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Sierra Leone, while almost no women are circumcised in Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

WHO distinguishes among four types of genital mutilation:

Type I, or “clitorectomy”: Excision of the skin surrounding the clitoris with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris

Type II, or “excision”: Removal of the entire clitoris and part or all of the labia minora

Type III, or “infibulation”: Removal of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching together of the vaginal orifice, leaving only a small opening

Type IV: Various other practices, including pricking, piercing, incision and tearing of the clitoris.

One out of every three girls dies as a result of infibulation, also known as pharaonic mutilation.

Women have been circumcised for thousands of years, and the custom has become deeply ingrained in human thought. Tradition demands that women be circumcised, and it is often the women themselves who wish to continue this ritual, partly to prevent sexual desire in girls. Indeed, an uncircumcised girl is considered worthless on the marriage market in many places because she is perceived as being “impure” and “loose.”

Although circumcision is often justified for supposedly religious reasons, there is no religious justification for the practice in either Christianity or Islam.

Sharp condemnation by religious and moral leaders is needed to ban this horrific practice. But movement does appear to be afoot — at least if an event that took place in Cairo two weeks ago is any indication. It bordered on a minor revolution.

Muslim scholars and academics from Germany, Africa and the Middle East spent two days discussing female genital mutilation. The goal of the conference was to declare this form of circumcision to be incompatible with the ethics of Islam as a global religion.

It was a German who organized and funded the conference. In 2000 Rüdiger Nehberg, 71, a man known for adventurous exploits that have included crossing the Atlantic in a pedal boat, founded Target, a human rights organization dedicated to fighting female genital mutilation. Since then Nehberg, accompanied by his life partner Annette Weber, has been traveling throughout Africa with his video camera, documenting the inhuman practice and attempting to win over political and religious leaders for his cause. Wherever he goes, Nehberg says: “This custom can only be brought to an end with the power of Islam.” In organizing the conference, which was held at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University under the patronage of Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Jumaa, Nehberg has come one step closer to his goal.

Many important Muslim scholars attended the event. The Egyptian minister for religious charities, Mahmoud Hamdi Saksuk, condemned the practice, as did the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University, Mohammed Sayyid Tantawi. Even the renowned and notorious Egyptian religious scholar and journalist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who enjoys great popularity in the Middle East as a result of his commentary on the Aljazeera television network, attended the Cairo conference.

Qaradawi did full justice to his reputation as a hardliner by initially criticizing the fact that the conference was paid for by a foreign institution, and not the practice of mutilation. He also complained that the title, “The Prohibition of Violation of the Female Body through Circumcision” was biased and presumptuous.

But after plenty of hemming and hawing, even Qaradawi managed to agree that the Koran states that it is forbidden to mutilate God’s creation. “We are on the side of those who ban this practice,” he said, but added that doctors ought to have the last word.

This wasn’t enough for women’s rights activists. Mushira Chattab, the Egyptian first lady’s special ambassador and chairwoman of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, called upon the legal scholars at the meeting to take a clear position against female circumcision. Then she turned to Qaradawi and said: “You should not leave it up to doctors to condemn this practice.”

Every doctor at the conference agreed that there is no medical justification for female genital mutilation. Heribert Kentenich, physician-in-chief of the women’s clinic at the DRK Hospitals in Berlin expressed a “complete lack of understanding” for the fact that 75 percent of circumcisions are now performed by doctors in Egypt. “I find it almost more horrifying that doctors are enriching themselves by doing this,” he added. The drop in the estimated incidents of female circumcision has dropped significantly — some believe as much as from 97 percent to approximately 50 percent — but it is impossible to obtain precise figures. Even at 50 percent, that would still represent roughly 400,000 girls a year. Kentenich believes that the “medicalization of female genital mutilation makes it seem more acceptable.”

The direct consequences include hemorrhaging, as well as severe pain and anxiety that can lead to trauma. Besides, the practice can also cause infections in the urinary tract, the uterus, the fallopian tube and the ovaries. Other consequences such as tetanus infections, gangrene and blood poisoning can be fatal. Besides, women who are subjected to pharaonic mutilation experience increased pain during menstruation, when blood accumulates in the vagina because the opening is too small to permit normal flow. Mutilated women are also at greater risk for becoming infected with HIV.

Intercourse is painful for circumcised women. To be able to penetrate, men must often force themselves into their wives’ vaginas. Those whose penises are incapable of doing the job use a knife to enlarge the opening.

Circumcised women can face complications during pregnancy, and both the mother and child are at greater risk of dying in childbirth.

There is no religious justification for this practice. All three major monotheistic world religions define man as a perfect creation of the Almighty, and condemn doing any harm to God’s creation. In Sura 95, Verse 4, the Koran states: “We have created man in our most perfect image.” Besides, in Islam men and women are meant to experience sexual fulfillment, and it is considered the husband’s matrimonial duty to satisfy his wife — a near impossible task when a woman is circumcised.

Although the conference’s attendees were generally in agreement over these facts, men repeatedly insisted on defending circumcision as an established custom. “Our women have been circumcised for thousands of years, and they have never complained,” said an agitated elderly man in the audience. The conference, he said, was a Western conspiracy, and showing pictures of circumcisions was a crime.

But the academics and scholars in attendance declared genital circumcision to be a deplorable custom without any basis in religious texts. They called upon the parliaments in the countries where the practice is common to pass laws making genital mutilation a crime.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt signed the resolution the next day. Ali Jumaa declared that he firmly believed that the fight against this terrible custom would succeed. Muslims base much of their behavior on legal opinions issued by religious scholars.

For Rüdiger Nehberg, the adventurer on a crusade for women, the conference represented the fulfillment of a dream. He now plans to “print a small book containing the recommendation and the scholars’ comments and distribute 4 million copies worldwide.”

Click here to view a map of some of the areas where Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is practised.

Now if Muslim “scholars” can all agree that killing Jews and Christians is also a terrible custom, then I’ll have some reason to review Islam as a religion, rather than as a political movement.

Click for more information and photos on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Originally Published on SmoothstoneBlog: Dec 7, 2006

Muslim Clerics Call to Destroy Egypt’s Great Pyramids

Waiting for the outrage from liberals, Jew-haters, the UN, NGOs, guardians of historical antiquity, Barack Hussein Obama, the Brits, Egyptians, non-Islamists, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, palestiniasts, Hanan Ashwari, the Human Rights Council, Israeli leftists, Jewish frauds, Mahmoud Abbas, museum curators, Egyptologists, Samantha Power, the Vatican, and others, but nope, I am not hearing a single peep.  Via FrontPageMag:

According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt’s Great Pyramids—or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi‘i, those “symbols of paganism,” which Egypt’s Salafi party has long planned to cover with wax.    Most recently, Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs” and President of National Unity, Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, called on Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi, to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what the Sahabi Amr bin al-As could not.”

Muslim Brotherhood: ‘Prepare Egyptians for war with Israel’

Via JPost:

A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt told the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam on Monday that he would like to see the Egyptian people prepare for war against Israel, according to the Hebrew-language business newspaper Calcalist.

Muhammad Ghannem reportedly told Al- Alam that the Suez Canal should be closed immediately, and that the flow of gas from Egypt to Israel should cease “in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime.” He added that “the people should be prepared for war against Israel,” saying the world should understand that “the Egyptian people are prepared for anything to get rid of this regime.”

Egypt riots look to aid Muslim Brotherhood

Via WND:

The Egyptian government suspects elements of the current uprising there, particularly political aspects, are being coordinated with the U.S. State Department, WND has learned.A senior Egyptian diplomat told WND today the regime of President Hosni Mubarak suspects the U.S. has been aiding protest planning by Mohamed ElBaradei, who is seen as one of the main opposition leaders in Cairo.

ElBaradei, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief, has reinvented himself as a campaigner for “reform” in Egypt. He is a candidate for this year’s scheduled presidential elections.

ElBaradei arrived in Cairo just after last week’s protests began and is reportedly being confined to his home by Egyptian security forces.

He is seen as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition force in Egypt.

The Brotherhood seeks to spread Islam around the world, in large part using nonviolent means. Hamas and al-Qaida are violent Brotherhood offshoots.

Last week, ElBaradei gave an interview to Der Spiegel defending the Brotherhood.

“We should stop demonizing the Muslim Brotherhood. … [They] have not committed any acts of violence in five decades. They too want change. If we want democracy and freedom, we have to include them instead of marginalizing them,” he said.

The Egyptian suspicion of U.S. involvement in the unrest in Egypt is not the first report of the Obama administration’s alleged interference there.

‘Something big’ transferred to Gaza Strip

Via WND:

Egypt and Israel have information a large quantity of weapons, including new and sophisticated firepower, was smuggled from Egypt into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in the last two days, according to informed Middle East security officials.

Israeli security officials fear a growing state of anarchy exists along the Gaza-Egypt border, with Islamist groups there taking advantage of the chaos in Egypt amid mass protests threatening the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian security forces have been focused largely on quelling the riots.

“Something big was brought into the Gaza Strip,” said an informed security official.

The official said it was not known yet exactly what was transferred into Gaza, but he speculated it may have been a large quantity of antiaircraft missiles.

Egypt Blocks Jordanian Aid Convoy to Gaza

Where’s the outrage at Egypt? Aren’t palestinians supposedly starving in spite of the dearth of photographs portraying bloated bellies and sunken eye sockets? You see, there is no outrage because the world is afflicted with palestinianphilia.  And it seems to be incurable. Via Jordan Times:

The Jordanian Professional Associations Council on Thursday said Egypt has refused to allow their Gaza-bound humanitarian aid convoy to enter its territory. Activists had originally intended to travel from Aqaba to the Egyptian port of Nuweibeh before heading by land to the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to express their solidarity with Gazans. The convoy of 150 activists and 25 trucks left Amman on Tuesday.

Egypt’s Persecuted Christians

Why is the world silent on the Muslim persecution of Christians? Via Wall Street Journal:

A few weeks ago in the Egyptian city of Marsa Matrouh, after a mosque’s imam exhorted them to cleanse the city of its infidel Christians, called Copts, an enraged mob of 3,000 angry Muslims went on a rampage, destroying 18 homes, 23 shops and 16 cars.

400 Copts barricaded themselves in their church for 10 hours until the frenzy died out.

This was only the latest of more than a dozen such attacks during the past year as waves of mob assaults have forced hundreds, sometimes thousands of Christian citizens to flee their homes.

In each incident the police invariably arrive after the violence is over. No Muslim to date has been convicted for any of these crimes.

Al-Azhar, the world’s preeminent Sunni Islamic institution, has contributed to this widespread hostility by publishing a pamphlet declaring the Bible a corrupted document and Christianity a pagan religion.

Al-Azhar’s textbook for high-school students states that if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, he is not subject to capital punishment since the superior cannot be punished for killing the inferior.

Israel Doubts Egyptian Wall Will Block Gaza Tunnels

Via JPost:

Egypt is currently building an underground metal wall that will reach a depth of 16 meters, as part of an effort to cut off smuggling tunnels used by Hamas to bring advanced weaponry into Gaza.

Israeli officials said they doubted the wall would be effective, since most of the smuggling tunnels were dug to depths reaching over 30 meters and sometimes even 50 meters.

While Egypt has slightly increased its counter-smuggling activity along the Gaza border, Israel believes Hamas is continuing to bring weapons into Gaza without difficulty.

Hizbullah’s Struggle to Change the Lebanese Regime

Hezbullah activity in Egypt is/was performed with the full knowledge of Iran. Via MESI:

The publication of Hizbullah’s subversive plan against Egypt and the exposure of a Shiite group headed by a Hizbullah activist that planned to act against Egyptian targets diverted attention from the challenge that Hizbullah has made against the very foundations of Lebanese authority. On April 3, 2009, Hizbullah published its political platform in advance of elections to the Lebanese parliament scheduled for June 7, 2009. The document calls for the abolition of sectarian politics and for the enactment of a new election law that would alter the equation of sectarian forces in Lebanon. In this manner, Hizbullah seeks to destroy the foundations of the sectarian regime in Lebanon agreed upon in the National Pact of 1943 that has been preserved by the Lebanese state ever since. The abolition of the existing political system will advance Hizbullah toward its fundamental goal: the establishment of an Islamic state and a complete Iranian takeover of Lebanon. The scholarly analyses that define Hizbullah as a Lebanese national movement are baseless. What Lebanese national interests are served by subversive activity in Egypt? What Lebanese interests seek the transfer of Iranian arms from Sudan and Sinai to Gaza? What national Lebanese ideology seeks to subvert the delicate sectarian structure upon which the modern Lebanese state is predicated?


Hizbullah Accused of Planning Terrorist Attacks in Egypt

Via Ha’aretz:

An unusual statement released in Cairo last week discusses Hizbullah’s activities in Egypt, with plans by its operatives to attack tourist sites there and possibly shipping through the Suez Canal. On the basis of the details released in Egypt, this is one of Hizbullah’s largest undercover terrorist operations outside Lebanon.

“Exposing the ring perhaps reflects the willingness of those who run it to assist Hamas, but mostly to harm Egypt,” an Egyptian political source told Ha’aretz.

“Whoever thinks Egypt will set aside its national interests and allow terrorist groups run by foreigners to operate from inside its territory is making a bitter mistake.”

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah is held directly responsible for funding and organizing the terrorist ring inside Egypt.

Iran is depicted in the Egyptian press as the supreme enemy of Egypt and the Arabs in general. The revelations about the ring confirm Egyptian suspicions and justify Cairo’s diplomatic efforts against Iran.