Female genital mutilation, common in some African and Asian countries, is becoming a health crisis in Western countries.
European countries are seeing reported FGM cases explode due to immigration and open support for the practice by Islamic leaders:
One female genital mutilation case reported every hour in the UK https://t.co/39XZ9HGZ86
— The Independent (@Independent) February 6, 2017
Meanwhile, at least two U.S. states have seen anti-FGM legislation blocked this year. Those opposed to the bills are claiming “racism” and “Islamophobia” — meanwhile, federal prosecutors have charged four individuals in Detroit in a case that may have more than 100 FGM victims:
FGM: More than 5,000 new cases in England https://t.co/bBm7dnBIK3
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 4, 2017
The BBC reported yesterday:
The NHS in England recorded 5,391 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the past year, data reveals.
Almost half involved women and girls living in London, NHS Digital found.
A third were women and girls born in Somalia, while 112 cases were UK-born nationals.
The practice is illegal in the UK and it is compulsory for family doctors, hospitals and mental health trusts to report any new cases in their patients.
FGM — intentionally altering or injuring the female external genitalia for non-medical reasons — carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.
NHS officials treated 9,179 women with FGM from April 2016 to March 2017. The 5,391 cases were victims recorded for the first time during that period:
NHS attended to 9,000 FGM cases in England last year, report reveals https://t.co/Lq0XCPCjoA
— The Guardian (@guardian) July 4, 2017
Despite education efforts against the practice, the numbers have barely dropped:
Campaigners critical as female genital mutilation in England drops by just 5% https://t.co/PVhX7m5W5g
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) July 4, 2017
At that present rate, the practice would take decades to eradicate. So despite being made illegal, why is FGM persisting in the UK? One obvious reason is that UK authorities won’t pursue prosecutions:
FGM: Lack of convictions 'a national scandal' https://t.co/0s5k1ZvGyM
— BBC Health News (@bbchealth) September 15, 2016
Female genital mutilation cases rise in UK, but no prosecutions https://t.co/zvdyNQC9ab
— Natasha Fatah (@NatashaFatah) March 7, 2017
As thousands of new cases are added annually, UK officials defend their refusal to prosecute offenders:
FGM should not be prosecuted, police force says as it claims best course of action is to 'educate parents' https://t.co/3vs6t6rTCX
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) February 27, 2017
Among the reasons offered as to why there should be no prosecutions for FGM offenders are claims that doing so would target minorities and immigrants, or incite “Islamophobia.”
In the U.S., where reports of FGM have tripled over the past 20 years, there has been similar pushback and lack of prosecution:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 11, 2017
Those same claims of racism and targeting immigrants used in the UK were trotted out by FGM defenders when Minnesota took up legislation earlier this year:
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) May 19, 2017
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) May 26, 2017
Thereby slowing or stalling the anti-FGM bills:
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) May 26, 2017
— Alpha News MN (@AlphaNewsMN) May 22, 2017
— Rep. Mary Franson (@RepMaryFranson) May 3, 2017
A similar anti-FGM bill was stopped in Maine just last week:
Bill to criminalize FGM fails to pass ME state lawmakers https://t.co/8RMaGLJ2gS
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) July 5, 2017
What’s remarkable about the defeat of the state anti-FGM legislation is that the practice has been banned in the U.S. under federal law since 1996.
The law was amended in 2013 to stop the transport of victims across state lines.
And yet only 24 states have passed anti-FGM laws:
And some states are like Tennessee, where officials refuse to prosecute the state law:
Tennessee Health Department Says Female Genital Mutilation Is Not Our Problem, Even After 21 Cases Reported in 2011 https://t.co/TNieRoNJgW
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) April 22, 2017
There has only been one federal prosecution for FGM in 20 years, a case that is currently ongoing in Detroit involving victims as young as seven:
Three people in Michigan are facing charges of performing female genital mutilation on young girls. Warning: Details may be disturbing. pic.twitter.com/AbzO643vYl
— Natasha Fatah (@NatashaFatah) April 23, 2017
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) June 21, 2017
ICYMI: Detroit physician charged with mutilating genitalia of two 7-year-old girls at their parents' request https://t.co/Ouv6iglECM
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) April 14, 2017
The case illustrates how prevalent FGM may be in certain segments of the U.S. population:
— Jonathan Oosting (@jonathanoosting) May 3, 2017
Feds drop bombshell: Up to 100 girls may have had their genitals cut in Michigan https://t.co/Od5WD1Aw6I
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) June 7, 2017
So why hasn’t the establishment media made more of this case? Well, the fact that immigrants and Muslims are involved as both victims and those charged make the media establishment queasy. They do not wish to be accused of fostering racism and Islamophobia, just like the UK and the state legislators targeted to prevent taking action against the practice.
In fact, not only are those charged devout Muslims, but a mosque paid for the FGM to occur:
— Robert Snell (@robertsnellnews) April 22, 2017
A Farmington Hills-based mosque paid a physician to perform female genital mutilation, a lawyer says https://t.co/cBKYhFQXzl
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) June 14, 2017
Lawyers for the suspects are claiming their clients did nothing wrong since it was a religious procedure:
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) April 17, 2017
— Lori Higgins (@LoriAHiggins) May 21, 2017
And they’ve enlisted famed attorney Alan Dershowitz to support their religious claim:
There appears to be plenty of support for FGM among U.S. Islamic leaders. In 2012, a fatwa issued by a senior member of the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) described FGM as “an honor”:
REWIND: Senior US Islamic cleric — Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is "an Honor" per Islam http://t.co/9r4CFxkcIu
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) April 16, 2014
The fact that Hatem al-Haj, aka Hatem Elhagaly, was a licensed pediatrician working at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota raised concerns. After Dr. Elhagaly’s fatwa was translated and made public, he and the Mayo Clinic parted ways.
More recently, Shaker Elsayed of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, in the D.C. area publicly made statements in support of FGM to prevent “hypersexuality”:
Shaker Elsayed, Imam of Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Fairfax County, VA, Endorses FGM: It Prevents Girls from Becoming Hypersexually Active pic.twitter.com/DoMtvQHz9G
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) June 1, 2017
Virginia mosque embattled after imam said female genital mutilation prevents "hypersexuality" https://t.co/YHC51OFbvX
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 6, 2017
Virginia mosque embattled after imam said female genital mutilation prevents 'hypersexuality' https://t.co/ooJZ4kmTyP
— Times-Dispatch (@RTDNEWS) June 7, 2017
As I reported here at PJ Media last month, the Washington Post’s Abigail Hauslohner, the paper’s Islam and Arab Affairs reporter, took to twitter to defend the mosque:
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) June 8, 2017
Following public outrage over Imam Elsayed’s remarks, Dar al-Hijrah suspended him:
Follow up statement by our Board of Directors regarding Imam Shaker Elsayed.
— Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center (@hijrahva) June 7, 2017
But he still had many supporters:
400 ppl have now signed a petition to defend the Imam who set off a controversy w his FGM comments (detailed here: https://t.co/zemrjVzmQ9
— Abigail Hauslohner (@ahauslohner) June 7, 2017
Amazingly, FGM supporters have had the American Academy of Pediatrics on their side since 2010, when a bioethics panel determined they could support “genital cutting” as a compromise with supporters despite the practice being banned by federal law:
Group Backs Ritual ‘Nick’ as Female Circumcision Option http://nyti.ms/9oCKSu
— NYT National News (@NYTNational) May 7, 2010
As government statistics and now confirmed anecdotal evidence indicate, FGM is now common in Western countries.
Legislators and prosecutors must decide if women’s health is of greater concern than false accusations of racism and “Islamophobia.” As we’ve seen in Minnesota, Maine, and Tennessee this year, it’s unfortunate that this has been a tough choice for them to make.