Foreign efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation.
On February 27th ten United Nations agencies pledged to engage in a renewed effort to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM), or female circumcision, within a generation.
UN Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro said:
If we can come together for a sustained push, female genital mutilation can vanish within a generation.
Prof Dr Chuzaimah T Yanggo, the head of the Youth and Women's section of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), said of the United Nations:
What do they think they're doing, it's not their business. Religion cannot be interfered with by men.
He said the Health Department had already agreed with the MUI that there was a right way, and several wrong ways, to carry out "khitan". The right way was to "open" the "upper part", the clitoris, a little, by making a small cut, while the wrong ways involved cutting off the whole organ or making substantial cuts, and these were forbidden.
Chuzaimah said the UN was confused about circumcision because it heard stories from Africa, where the practice was more extreme.
Meanwhile the East Java secretary of the MUI, Prof Dr Hj Istibjaroh, said female circumcision was neither required nor forbidden but:
In general it is done.
The purpose was to reduce the sex drive of women, he said, while the purpose of male circumcision was to increase sex drive.
He said among the women's wing of the Nahdlatul Ulama, the Muslimat NU, female circumcision was something thought not worth debating.
Endang Sri of the Indonesian Midwives Association (Ikatan Bidan Indonesia (IBI)) in Surabaya, East Java, said however that the practice was not allowed.
When parents requested it the IBI simply performed a washing of the area. She said requests to have girls circumcised in Surabaya were rare these days, and came mainly from the northern part of the city, presumably from ethnic Madurese people. surya