This piece will be, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali put it,

disturbing but it is crucial that we speak openly about what is taking place rather than shroud it in euphemism so as not to cause offence.

This piece is about female genital mutilation, the deliberate butchery of a woman’s—even a five-year-old little girl’s—genitalia for the woman’s, the child’s, own good.  And for the egos of the men of Islam who approve and perpetrate this atrocity.

This is, in Hirsi Ali’s plain language, what female mutilation truly is, in order from the “mildest” version to the outright butchery form:

  1. The ‘nick’: The girl is held down, her legs pushed apart and a needle is used to prick her clitoris. The incision is similar to a finger prick test for diabetes, blood comes out and the girl is considered ‘cleansed’. Often there is a ritual with a little party to celebrate the procedure.
  2. ‘Female circumcision’: The second method in terms of severity is often compared to male circumcision. The hood of the clitoris is cut off, in some cases the tip of the clitoris is cut off, known as clitoridectomy. In this form, an otherwise normally functioning body part is sliced off and thrown out. Disfiguring a little girl’s genitals in this way cannot rationally be considered anything but mutilation.
  3. Intermediate infibulation: In the third form of FGM, as much of the clitoris as possible is dug out and removed. The inner labia are cut off and the outer labia are sewn together leaving two small holes for urination and menstruation. In places where this is done without ‘medical intervention’ girls have been known to bleed to death. After infibulation is done it is imperceptible what has taken place when the girl stands up with her legs together, but in the obstetrician’s position it is clearly visible that parts of her genitals have been removed and sewn up.
  4. Total infibulation: In the fourth type of FGM the clitoris and inner labia are cut off and the outer labia are cut or scraped off too, then sewn up. When the girl stands, even with her legs closed, her genitals clearly look different.
  5. Vaginal fusing: In the fifth type of FGM, which is rarely discussed, all of the fourth type is done and then the inner walls of the vagina are scratched to cause bleeding and the sewing is again done. The girl’s feet are tied together in an effort to fuse the two sides of the vagina with scar tissue to close it up. Children can die undergoing this.

This is what The New York Times insists is acceptable and that we in the West must be more sensitive to the “cultural” practices of others, including this one.  This isn’t, after all, mutilation; it’s “genital cutting.”  You may have to scroll down a bit in the second link, to get to Celia Dugger’s, NYT‘s Health and Science Editor, excuse for insisting on “genital cutting” as a less culturally loaded term than female genital mutilation.  Blunt facts are never to be allowed to intrude into sensitivities, after all.


These important cultural practices, as The New York Times and Journal of Medical Ethics put it, are a clear demonstration that some cultures are inferior to others.

More importantly, this is a practice that must be stopped, that must not be allowed in the United States, and whose perpetrators must be prosecuted and given maximum sentences.  With confinement with the prison’s general population.

Also: support Hirsi Ali’s AHA Foundation.

1 thought on “FGM

  1. Don’t forget, anesthetic – even local – isn’t wasted on the little girls. And the procedures are far from sterile.

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