When we talk about the incompatibility of Islam and the West, female genital mutilation is usually something we bring up. Although FGM isn’t mentioned in the Quran, it is sanctioned in the Islamic Hadith, and it has been promoted by a number of Islamic scholars over the years.
Take the following verses, for example:
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75; Abu Dawud, Adab 167: 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.”
Sunan Abu Dawud 41:5251: 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.
Sahih Muslim 3:684: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory.
Although FGM is carried out predominantly by Muslims, we have to be careful about categorising it solely as a Muslim problem. We’ve all seen the social justice warriors and “refugee” apologists rushing to the defence of Islam on social media, meeting your concerns about FGM with comments like: “But Christians do it too!”
Well it turns out, in this instance, they are correct.
As a side point, feel free to respond to the “But Christians do it too!” comments by asking the person in question to name another group of people in Europe who carry out even half of the following:
- Acid attacks
- Animal cruelty
- Apostasy punishments
- Blasphemy punishments
- Child marriages
- Forced marriages
- Grooming gangs
- Honour killings
- Inequality of the sexes
- Sharia law
- Slavery and human trafficking
They won’t be able to.
But this article isn’t about Islam.
Where is FGM Carried Out?
It’s easy for us to call out Islam because it means we’re criticising an ideology and not a group of people. Many people will openly criticise Islam, but they won’t touch the topic of race. Perhaps it’s understandable that people don’t want to lose their “But Islam isn’t a race therefore I can’t be racist” comfort blanket, but for the sake of Europe, we need to start having open and frank discussions about race.
According to the World Health Organisation: “More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated.”
According to the UK Government, FGM is most likely to be documented in the following countries.
Many of the countries listed above are Muslim-majority countries, but it is also true that some of them aren’t. Israel is around 75% Jewish (but around 17.5% Muslim), India is around 80% Hindu (but around 14% Muslim), Kenya is around 84% Christian (but around 10% Muslim) and Ethiopia is around 63% Christian (but around 33% Muslim).
We could say from looking at the above figures that it could perhaps be the Muslims in those countries that are carrying out FGM and it is therefore still a Muslim problem, but we also have to bear in mind a few other things.
Why FGM Isn’t Solely an Islamic Problem
If FGM is an Islamic practice then why is it condemned in a number of Islamic countries, for example, Saudi Arabia? Why are there a number of Islamic countries on the map above that don’t carry out FGM? And why are there a number of countries on the map where only a very small percentage of the population carry it out?
Additionally, If 97% of girls in Egypt have experienced FGM, and if Egypt is 90% Muslim and 10% Christian, then this must mean that Christians in Egypt are carrying out FGM too.
Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, an international expert on FGM, explains that when many countries explain their reasons for carrying out FGM, it often isn’t related to Islam. For example, talking about Sudan, he says:
“It is believed in the Sudan that the clitoris will grow to the length of a goose’s neck until it dangles between the legs, in rivalry with the male’s penis, if it is not cut.”
At the risk of sounding like a SJW myself, this has nothing to do with Islam!
We also need to bear in mind the many reported accounts of FGM happening in non-Muslim communities. A good example of this is in Nigeria, where FGM is more widely spread in the Christian areas of the country.
Why We Need to Stop Blaming Things on Islam
I haven’t written this article because I want to defend Islam. I’ve written it because all too often we blame things on Islam, and in doing this, we close the door to discussion on the very real, negative impact that globalisation is having on Europe.
Picture this situation. Two men migrate to Europe from Somalia. One man is Muslim, one is not. Do we really expect them to be that different? Can we really blame Islam on the fact that the first man doesn’t integrate into our society? Or is that more a cultural issue? If the first man left his faith, would he suddenly stop doing all those nasty Islamic things we hear people on the right complaining about?
These practices, just like FGM, are rooted in culture. And this explains why certain Islamic countries carry out these acts and others don’t. Religion certainly plays it’s part, but it’s just one part, and it sits alongside culture and race.
You may ask why I’ve mentioned race when there are a number of non-Whites living in Europe who blend in with our cultures perfectly and would never dream of carrying out a barbaric act such as FGM. The reason why race is important is because practices such as FGM aren’t White, European practices. They’re African or Asian practices, and they don’t belong in our continent. So while it is true that there are many Africans and Asians that live in Europe that benefit our countries greatly, practices like FGM are only carried out by people of their races and ethnicities.
Whether it makes for uncomfortable discussion or not, FGM is a practice which highlights just how different we are to certain other groups across the globe. It makes sense that these differences should be considered during discussions of immigration to Europe.
So next time that social justice warrior tweets you saying “But Christians do it too!”, let’s not try to blame it on Islam. Let’s use this as a doorway to discuss the benefits of keeping Europe European.