The most revolting news item of the week comes from Maine, where, according to the Washington Free Beacon, “Democratic Senate candidate Sara Gideon repeatedly killed bills to outlaw female genital mutilation during her tenure as the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.” In amassing this shameful record, Sara Gideon has become Exhibit A of everything that is wrong about identity politics, the Democratic Party, and the Left in general.
The Free Beacon notes that Gideon’s determination to enable the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is abundantly established. She “leveraged her leadership position in the Democrat-controlled legislature to kill two separate bills that would have criminalized the practice of severing the clitoris of infant girls and sewing their vaginas shut.”
Why on earth would Gideon do something as heinous as this? The answer is simple and predictable: “Under Gideon’s leadership, Maine Democrats argued that the bill was racist toward the state’s large immigrant community from Somalia, a country where the practice is ‘nearly universal’ according to the United Nations.”
It’s racist to outlaw FGM? Well, of course it is, because Sara Gideon needs the votes of Maine’s rapidly growing Somali community, and that’s as far as her moral calculus goes. The Free Beacon notes that “Gideon’s efforts have helped make Maine one of only 12 states that have not banned female genital mutilation,” and that “such a legacy threatens to complicate her cultivated image as a champion of women’s rights, one built on her consistent support for abortion access and the #MeToo movement,” but Gideon has shown in opposing efforts to criminalize FGM that she doesn’t really care about women’s rights at all. She poses as a women’s rights advocate when seeking donations from well-heeled Leftists, but she likely knows that those same Leftist donors won’t be concerned in the least about her wanting to allow for the preservation of a time-hallowed Somali cultural practice. After all, any other course of action would be “ethnocentric” and “Islamophobic,” right?
It would be “Islamophobic” to outlaw FGM because, as one Egyptian said in response to a campaign to eradicate the practice, “It is a religious thing. Do you want to change religion? You only listen to what the West is saying.”
The establishment media ignores the fact, but actually FGM is mandated in Islamic law, which stipulates that “circumcision” is “obligatory for every male and female” (Reliance of the Traveller e4.3).
Why is it obligatory? Because Muhammad is held to have said: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women” (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75). Coming upon “a woman used to perform circumcision in Medina,” Muhammad said to her: “Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband’” (Abu Dawud 41:5251). That hadith is classified as weak, but this one is classified as sahih (reliable): “Aishah narrated: ‘When the circumcised meets the circumcised, then indeed Ghusl is required. Myself and Allah’s Messenger did that, so we performed Ghusl’” (Jami at-Tirmidhi 108).
If Muhammad had the genitals of his favorite wife, Aisha, mutilated, that is a strong endorsement of the practice from the man who is an “excellent example” (Qur’an 33:21) for Muslims.
Why does it matter whether or not FGM is Islamic? Because the practice will never be eradicated if its root causes are not confronted. As long as those Muslims continue to believe that Allah and Muhammad want it done, for some that will override all other considerations, in Somalia and everywhere else, including Maine. Sara Gideon wouldn’t dare stand for human rights and against this practice, because that would be tantamount to standing against Somalia and Islam. And the rights of the girls who have to suffer this barbaric procedure? Why, speaking out for them would also be “bigoted” and “Islamophobic.”
Sara Gideon wouldn’t dream of being so “hateful.”
This is where we have been heading for a long time, without anyone noticing, and now we are arriving. If opposition to female genital mutilation is “racist,” so also opposition to jihad violence and terrorism is “racist,” and so New York City dismantled a successful counterterror program. Soon any resistance to Sharia oppression and jihad violence will be utterly stigmatized — as it already is today to a tremendous degree. If this continues, resistance will even be criminalized.
Just imagine the soullessness this would require. Sara Gideon has never manifested any concern for the women and girls who have been condemned to lives of misery because of this practice. All she seems to care about is the naked pursuit of political power, no matter who gets destroyed in the process. This is the Left today.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.