When all else fails, blame past cultures

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/yQHNoxZnraM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> The topic of female genital mutilation is one which arouses a negative reflex in the West. When confronted, Muslim apologists will claim that FGM was in practice in pre-Islamic cultures and, since the Q'ran does not specifically mention it, FGM is not “Islamic” and is purely “cultural”. The Pre-Islamic debate. Islamic apologist hardliners will often point to an unidentifiable past to blame such things as child-adult marriage. When confronted with the marriage of Aisha to Muhammad, for example, some will excuse it by saying it was commonly done in his day (the 7th century). Yet there is scant, if any, anthropological, let alone, archaeological support for such a claim. Indeed, we find NO societies in which there was a “norm” or common practice of inter-generational wedlock between per-pubescent girls and mature males. This same approach practice of female and common amongst Likewise, there is that FGM pre-dated is often used with FGM. The claim being that the circumcision was “common” during the time of Muhammad, all the local cultures, simply isn't a founded argument. no significant historical support for the supposition Islam.

A website dedicated to the topic of circumcision stated it thusly:

“Unlike male circumcision, which was familiar from Jewish practice, female circumcision was an exotic custom about which Europeans knew very little until the explorations of the eighteenth century. Because the phenomenon was first studied by sceptical anthropologists and naturalists who had little regard for religion, there was no attempt to explain female circumcision in religious terms as a divine command or a ritual requirement; on the contrary, from the very first, explanations for such a bizarre and horrific mutilation were sought in materialist terms, particularly in relation to some possible advantage to human health in peculiar physical environments.” Apparently there's no western supports, historically speaking, for the allegation that FGM pre-dated Islam nor was common at the time of Muhammad simply because it had not been observed by any other outside explorations. However, historical documentation does exist which points back forerunner nation of Egypt and the commonality of the practice which does pre-date Islam. References which make it clear that practice was not commonly done throughout any existing society day. to the there, the of the

The Cultural Debate. The literature on FGM often points out, and rightly so, that the

practice is embraced by groups in certain cultures more than in other cultures. It is said that Muslims, Christians and Jews all practice FGM. Such statements are made without consideration for the influence of the dominant religious law on the abiding groups within a given culture. If we look today at the nations in which FGM is practiced culturally, we find that Islam is the dominant religion. A listing of countries where there is a high instance on record of FGM show that, not only is the dominant religion in the country Islamic (particularly Sunni), there is also a link to Sharia in the legal structure as well. For example, Djibouti has a 94% Muslim population with a legal system which incorporates Sharia into their family law has a national rate of 93.1% of females having undergone FGM. Egypt has a 90% Muslim population with Sharia also being incorporated into the legal system and it has an FGM rate of 95.8%. In fact, when we look at countries with the highest rates of FGM, we see a connection between those national averages and Sharia presence in the legal system: COUNTRY...................LEGAL SYSTEM.....................FGM RATE Eritrea...................Sharia/Mix.......................88.7% Gambia....................Sharia/Mix.......................78.3% Mali......................Sharia/Mix.......................85.2% Mauritania................Sharia/Mix.......................72.2% While it isn't universally true that a majority Muslim population always results in the presence of Shariah; nor does it always indicate the FGM rate; to point to a lack of a high FGM rate does not excuse the Islamic connection. For example, according to the available data from the WHO, Senegal, which is 94% Muslim population, only has a 28.2% rate of reported instances of FGM. But it needs to be taken into account that Senegal's legal system does not incorporate Shariah. A number of Islamic countries apply a combination of French or Napoleonic code (1804). What's interesting about the Napoleonic code is that, while it divests the country of what was considered to be “Christian” code of law, it would appear to coexist, to a certain degree, quite well with Sharia. In the 1804 law, the woman was required by law to live with her husband and to “follow him to every place where he may judge it convenient to reside”. Of course, husbands were required to furnish her with all of her necessities in life as well. But there was no obligation for the reverse nor allowance if the wife did not desire to go wherever the husband deemed appropriate.

Under the Napoleonic code, women were not allowed to plead their cases in court without the consent of their husband, regardless of her status in the community or her personal wealth. As well, upon divorce, fathers were ensured custody and, whether divorced or not, when it came to children who became a problem. Fathers (not mothers) could have their children under age 16 incarcerated for a period of time as determined by the father, and without consent of the mother. Husbands had management of all properties acquired by her before or after marriage. that married women retain their property, on this another time). Suffice it to say, separate under Sharia, she's usually left Napoleon would have made a good Muslim: “Women ought to obey us. Nature has made women our slaves!” This flies clearly in the face of the Christian concept, which Napoleon eschewed: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (Ephesians 5:25). When one looks at those countries, then, where Islam is dominant, and in particular Sunni Islam, be it fully Sharia, partial Sharia or a mix of Napoleonic law and Sharia, the problem of FGM continues to exist. But what about those countries which are majority Islamic but are not listed as countries wherein FGM is an issue? Countries like Saudi Arabia, for example? of the wife, whether Though Muslims will claim this isn't exactly so (more when a woman and man destitute.