Religion Harms

Egypt – Christians and Muslims

Female genital mutilation rife in Egypt despite ban

21st Century Egypt, the latest figures suggest that more than 90% of the women have been subject to female genital mutilation (FGM). The figure comes from a Unicef approved survey carried out in 2008, the year that the practice was banned.

A new set of figures are due to be published later this year and doctors expect them to show a 10% decline. That still leaves the majority of women in Egypt exposed to unimaginable physical and psychological pain and denied what the rest of us would call a normal sex life.

The practice is not restricted to Muslims, as has often been claimed, but also carried out by Christians, who make up 10% of Egypt’s population.

The belief there is that it is the female who is sexually rampant and that her sexual desire must be arrested at a young age, before she can disgrace the family.

“It is important that she loses that part of her body that awakes sexual desire. If not, she may play with herself or ask a boy to touch this part for her, not specifically a stranger, but one of her cousins for instance, and she might enjoy it,” Olla told me. “When she feels the pain of it she will be more careful about this part.

[The reporter asked] Sheikh Ashraf, who was visiting Akaka, about whether he was similarly enthusiastic about the local anti-FGM campaigns he thundered: “No, I am not. The Prophet has ruled that this thing must be done,” before tearing the microphone from his white robe and walking angrily away.

“Of course we fear this new parliament won’t tackle issues like FGM because already there are extremists who want FGM unlike the previous regime,” Nivine said. “We know that there will be a decline in women and children rights with this new government and parliament.”


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