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» 12/07/2012
ISLAM - INDONESIA
Java, radical Islam in favor of female genital mutilation
by Mathias Hariyadi
Circumcision is concentrated in particular in rural and remoteareas of the island of Java. So far campaigns by activists who denounce the danger of infection and the violence inherent in the practice to no avail. The debate within the Muslim world, on compulsory nature (or non) of the rite. A civil battle, supported by more than 400 NGOs.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - In rural areas and more remote areas of Indonesia, particularly the island of Java, female circumcision is still a widespread traditional practice. Although it is not a rule set in a rigid manner by the precepts of Islam, it resists in the most populous Muslim country in the world thanks to the favorable opinion of a large part of society, due to the more extreme and integral fringe. Over the years, activists and politicians have launched campaigns and appeals in an attempt to eradicate the popular custom, which puts the physical health of girls at risk. However, efforts to stem the "tetesan" - as it is called in the country - have so far been a vain war fought on "two different fronts", at a governmental level and on a purely religious level.
 
Renowned experts of Islamic law in Indonesia, interviewed by AsiaNews, stigmatize the practice of female circumcision as "damaging", even if it continues the comparison - which in many cases results in open clashes - between the fuqaha extremists and moderate Muslims leaders. With the first in favor of mutilation, while the latter engaged in campaigns to put an end to the phenomenon.

The the Muslim intellectual Sumanto Al Qurtuby says the faction that supports tetesan is linked to the Salafi and Wahhabi community, which together with other fundamentalist groups are concentrated in Bandung and Aceh. They believe that circumcision is "morally" encouraged by Sharia, or Islamic law, and reiterated in the hadith, in anecdotes related to the life of the Prophet Muhammad. However, the expert adds, while the practice is "suggested" it is not "mandatory" and there are no moral foundations of Islamic law that state it should be perpetrated. There are in fact six different drafts of the hadith - better known as "Kutub as-Sittah" - and only one of these "calls for" the spread of female circumcision.

Together with the moral issue, there is also a health and a pyscological aspect. The practice of FGM, in fact, results in the loss of sexual pleasure and is often practiced in contexts far from sterile, in which there is a clear risk of infection or post-operative consequences. This is why human rights activists, citizens and a large part of civil society have fought for and end to this practice - especially in rural areas. An act, they describe as "dangerous" and "contrary to the health care."

The author of this article in his youth, when he was about eight years old, witnessed firsthand circumcision practiced on a young girl, forced by her parents (Muslims) to submit to the "Islamic ritual." Rather than doing it in a private and appropriately sterilized room - as I recall - the act of female circumcision was carried out in the open air, her feet on the ground, while the genital organ was removed with a razor blade. The little girl began to scream in pain, as a stream of blood oozed from the wound. At the end of the rite, I remember that the family offered a kind of celebration of the "thank you" to neighbors, for taking part in the "Islamic ritual."

An opinion poll carried out by the government in 2003 confirmed that the practice of female genital mutilation is still widespread in rural areas. In 2006, the Ministry of Health tried to intervene to stem the tide, without any substantive results regarding what is defined by a number of fronts, especially among female movements as, "an example of domestic violence." Throughout Indonesia at least 400 non-governmental organizations have arisen that are fighting against the practice. The movements in unison, recall that Jakarta is one of the signatories of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Convention) and is called to make every effort to reduce the social impact of this practise.

 


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See also
01/24/2013 INDONESIA - ISLAM
Indonesian Ulema in favour of female circumcision: a "human right"
by Mathias Hariyadi
03/07/2009 INDONESIA
East Java, policewomen must wear Islamic veil
by Mathias Hariyadi
03/22/2006 CHINA
Beijing using violence to enforce its one child policy
04/24/2012 INDIA
Gujarat: forced to abort by her husband six times, they were all female fetuses
by Nirmala Carvalho
04/13/2012 PAKISTAN
Lahore: Christians and Hindus against "religious fascism" and forced conversions to Islam
by Jibran Khan

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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