1 March, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 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.

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

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
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.