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Female Genital Cutting

      Female Genital Cutting (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation and female circumcision, is a medical issue that has been exported to the West by the migration to the West of people from the countries where it has been traditionally practiced. It is practiced predominantly in 28 African countries and also some Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, the Republic of Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, and is found in some Muslim groups in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and India.

      Female genital cutting. Available: www.4women.gov/faq/fgc.htm. Accessed March 24, 2007

      A definitive origin of FGC is unknown, but it has been found throughout history in many cultures.

      WHO Media Centre: Female genital mutilation fact sheet No 241, June 2000. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en. Accessed March 24, 2007

      The practice of FGC is not confined to a particular religion and in fact predates Islam. It is a strongly rooted and community-maintained practice for which a variety of reasons are given by families. These include:
      • psychosexual reasons: reduction or elimination of the sensitive tissue of the outer genitalia, particularly the clitoris, in order to attenuate sexual desire in the female, maintain chastity and virginity before marriage and fidelity during marriage, and increase male pleasure;
      • sociological reasons: identification with the cultural heritage, initiation of girls into womanhood, social integration, and maintenance of social cohesion;
      • hygiene and aesthetic reasons: the external female genitalia are considered dirty and unsightly and are removed to promote hygiene and provide aesthetic appeal;
      • myths: enhancement of fertility and promotion of child survival;
      • religious reasons: some Muslim communities practice FGC in the belief that it is demanded by the Islamic faith. The practice, however, predates Islam. It is not mandated by the Qur'an and in fact there is no justification in Muslim law for the practice.
        • Ahmad I.
        Female genital mutilation: an Islamic perspective.
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      References

      1. Female genital cutting. Available: www.4women.gov/faq/fgc.htm. Accessed March 24, 2007

      2. WHO Media Centre: Female genital mutilation fact sheet No 241, June 2000. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en. Accessed March 24, 2007

        • Ahmad I.
        Female genital mutilation: an Islamic perspective.
        Minaret of Freedom Institute. 2000; (Available:) (Accessed March 24, 2007)
        • Nour N.
        Female genital cutting.
        Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2004; 59: 272
        • Elmusharaf S.
        • Elkhidir I.
        • Hoffman S.
        • et al.
        A case-control study on the association between female genital mutilation and sexually transmitted infections in the Sudan.
        BJOG. 2006; 113: 469
        • Behrendt A.
        • Moritz S.
        Posttraumatic stress disorder and memory problems after female genital mutilation.
        Am J Psychiatry. 2005; 162: 1000