Mufti shocks Russia with call for genital mutilation of all women

Published: August 18, 2016
Mufti Ismail Berdiyev. PHOTO: FILE

Mufti Ismail Berdiyev. PHOTO: FILE

MOSCOW: A senior Muslim cleric in Russia has prompted controversy by urging universal female genital mutilation after a rights group released a report on the practice in the country’s North Caucasus region.

Mufti Ismail Berdiyev, who heads a Muslim association for the North Caucasus region, said Wednesday that if FGM “could be applied to all women, that would be very good” in an interview with Interfax news agency.

The practice, which ranges from pricking of the clitoris to its complete removal, causes infections and loss of sensation.

The procedure has come under massive international scrutiny in recent years, with UN chief Ban Ki-Moon in 2014 launching a global campaign to end it.

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Berdiyev, who was decorated by President Vladimir Putin in March, said FGM does not stop women from fulfilling their ordained role of motherhood and if all women were mutilated, “there would be less fornication”.

He later retracted his comments, claiming that he had been joking and Islam does not call for FGM.

A controversial Russian Orthodox cleric and blogger, the Church’s former spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin, backed Berdiyev saying that Muslims had a right to a “time-honoured tradition”.

“You probably don’t need to ‘circumcise’ all women, there’s no need with Orthodox women as they don’t fornicate anyway,” he added.

The head of the health ministry’s public health department Oleg Salagai insisted FGM is “mutilating and not positive in any way,” quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.

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Berdiyev spoke after rights NGO Russian Justice Group released a report Monday on the ritual cutting of young girls’ genitals in some mountain villages in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan.

The report said that in Dagestan the practice has gone “without any attention whatsoever from the authorities”.

“In Dagestan, most of society is still not ready to admit that this problem exists,” it said, adding that FGM has “almost total support” in certain villages where it is seen as a “compulsory ritual” to control sexual desire.

The group said it managed to talk to 25 women aged 19-70 who underwent FGM, who spoke of the pain and trauma of the operation.

UNICEF figures  published this year indicate that some 200 million girls in the world are subjected to genital mutilation, 44 million of whom are younger than 15-years-old.

More than half of the total figure are living in Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia, though data is incomplete in many countries.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Aug 18, 2016 - 8:43PM

    And now , welcome to Russisthan. Recommend

  • Sid
    Aug 18, 2016 - 11:04PM

    How does becoming muslim twist their brains is a wonder.Recommend

  • Honestly
    Aug 18, 2016 - 11:44PM

    Mufti should be given the dose of his own medicine. He should be castrated first. No where religion says to adopt such measures. He is a fake mullah.Recommend

  • Amar
    Aug 19, 2016 - 12:26AM

    Why is there so much shock about female genital mutilation, but none on male genital mutilation?Recommend

  • Dipak
    Aug 19, 2016 - 6:05AM

    IDIOT Recommend

  • vinsin
    Aug 19, 2016 - 8:11AM

    Male Circumcision is practice religiously by many Americans, almost all Muslims and Jews. 30% of Muslims practice female circumcision. In subcontinent it is practiced mostly in India by Bohra community. I always wonder why subcontinent Muslims dont practice it? Just like Male, Female circumcision should be made legal in Pakistan.Recommend

  • wiserneighbour
    Aug 19, 2016 - 9:01AM

    Stone age cult.What a shame???Recommend

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