Why was Sharmila Seyyid’s invitation to the Tamil Literature Conference revoked? Simple answer is because she spoke openly against the prevalence of female genital mutilation among the Muslim community. We are boasting of democracy but the reality is that this lady who was officially invited to speak at the conference had her invitation cancelled because of influence by Muslim men in the organizing committee who supported FGM! So much for transparency in literature! Sharmila’s research on FGM is extensive and covers Muslim communities living in Mawanella, Akurana, Batticoloa, Ampara, Trincomalee and Puttalam with a child no more than 40 days old becoming victim to the blade! Muslim ladies should not be afraid to come out and go against new religious cultural trends that are harmful to women’s bodies.
It is surprising that while some Muslim women are averse to FMG there are some Muslim ladies who promote it. Why? Many of those who promote it believe it is part and parcel of being a Muslim? How right are they and if so why does it have to be carried out in secret even from a father? The other Muslim women against it believe it is a cultural insertion and has nothing to do with being Muslim. Two schools of thought in conflict no doubt. The health experts in WHO say that FGM can have serious health impacts on women years later. According to WHO it is a violation of a child’s right to health, security & physical integrity.
The All Ceylon Jaamiyathul Ulema issued a fatwa in 2007 stating it is obligatory for Muslim women but for some strange reason removed it from their website. However, the attached document given below is proof they issued it (it is in Tamil). The fatwa however still stands and local Muslim women are obliged to get themselves circumcised because of it. In fact, they could be forced to be circumcised since it is from the highest religious authority of Sri Lankan Muslims. We reliably learn that Non-Muslim women who marry Muslim men are also forced to endure the operation as adults, often without anaesthetics.
The recent article FGM raises its ugly head in Sri Lanka with Kerala Support by Bintari Hamza Zafar is important for many reasons as FGM is now being promoted with involvement of Islamic clerics in Kerala, India. A wholly wrong and distorted campaign is being promoted that women who do not practice FGM are unclean and likely to spread AIDS and other diseases. If that be so then all non-Muslim women should be suffering from AIDS! According to Bintari the practice is being openly promoted by female and male Islamic scholars at Wahhabi Arabic Ladies Colleges for Muslim girls in Malwana and Kal-Eliya. This type of extremism is totally against the cultural fabric prevalent in the country and is promoting extreme forms of religious cultures that are detrimental to the wellbeing of females.
An Indian NGO by the name of Sahiyo has exposed how the practice in Kerala is targeting poor and lower middle class Muslims. This type of ritual is common in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and parts of the Middle East but in this day and age should we be following such tribal cultures?
One wonders why there is a concerted effort to have Muslim women circumcised and that too by extremist Islamic religious scholars. What is confusing is that there are Muslim scholars who say that it is more of a cultural thing than a religious thing, Others who are extremely religious say it is an obligatory duty which every Muslim woman must go through. Yet no one is courageous enough to pinpoint the dangers and risks involved for the women both physically and mentally. Should these factors not be taken up for discussion first. A woman’s body should not have to go through any torment or torture just to satisfy the ideological beliefs of men who are following religious traditions without questioning the essence and the logic behind the call.
Originally posted on LankaWeb: