According to a Thursday story on NBC News, the leaders of ISIS, the terrorist army that established a caliphate in northern Iraq and parts of Syria, have ordered all women and girls under their control to submit to female genital mutilation. The order, issued in the form of a religious fatwa, could potentially affect 4 million females living under the thumb of ISIS. Female genital mutilation is practiced in Iraqi Kurdistan, despite recent laws passed prohibiting the procedure.
According to the World Health Organization, FGM is widely practiced in many parts of Africa and Middle East in traditional Muslim communities. 125 million women and girls have been subjected to the practice. The United Nations and much of the civilized world regards the procedure as a human rights violation that has no medical benefit and all too often causes harm.
Female genital mutilation, which involves the damaging and removal of parts of the female genitalia, is thought in some Muslim communities to inhibit the female libido. This is considered important in cultures where female chastity is connected with an honor culture that dominates and oppresses women. Ironically, FGM is not mentioned, not to mention sanctioned, by the Koran, though a later commentary claims that the Prophet Mohammed praised the practice. It predates the beginning of Islam.
Female genital mutilation is outlawed throughout the western world and even in many Islamic countries. The prospect of being subjected to it is considered grounds to being granted asylum in the United States. However FGM is occasionally practiced by immigrant populations in western countries, either by sending girls to Islamic countries to have the procedure done, or else bringing in “specialists” to subject a number of girls to it.
How this announcement will affect the ongoing war with ISIS is unclear. The terrorist army has already committed numerous atrocities, including the ethnic cleansing of Iraq Christians in territory under its control. Thus far the world community has done little but issue condemnations.