A reader’s response to the article: ‘US Congresswoman shows Muslim colours’

Friday’s Whaleoil article  “US Congresswoman Shows Muslim Colors”, states that “Omar is typical of Muslims living in the west, particularly women, who keep their heads down, ask to be left alone and want to be treated the same as everyone else, but this argument does not stack up, because no other culture practices FGM.”

That is factually incorrect. FGM is practised by various non-Muslim cultures in Africa. FGM in Africa predates Islam by thousands of years. While there is a close association between Islam and FGM, including in Africa, the two things do not correlate exactly. FGM is not uniquely Islamic. Moreover, not all Muslims practice FGM – though almost all practice MGM.

Every culture that practices FGM also practices MGM (male genital mutilation). FGM and MGM are simply two different flavours of exactly the same thing which is the genital mutilation of minors. The consistent and common-sense position is surely to oppose it all?

Criticizing Muslims for sexually mutilating their daughters but saying nothing when they do the same to their sons is pathetic. Any New Zealander genuinely concerned about child genital mutilation could be protesting outside any one of the numerous clinics that openly advertise their willingness to perform genital mutilation on children.

Don’t assume that because certain clinics openly advertise MGM to parents it must be ‘legal’. Although not prosecuted (the Police Prosecution Service really needs to start doing its job) child genital mutilation is very much illegal in New Zealand. The only circumstance under which it would be legal would be if performed as a medical necessity which is a vanishingly rare situation. Specific charges that could be laid against those performing or procuring this service (or allowing it to be performed) might include grievous bodily harm, injuring with intent, sexual assault, failure to protect a child or vulnerable adult, etc.


by Seamus Harris

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