FGM in America: End cultural and religious based violence

FGM in America: End cultural and religious based violence

By Shirin Taber and Rickie Farnes, Middle East Women’s Leadership Network, in partnership with America Matters   Religious freedom — the right to practice your religion freely — is one of the greatest merits of the American experience. However, systematic abuses in the name of religion, committed daily against women, cut away at our universal rights and cannot be tolerated. A growing number of Islamists and male-centric communities inside the U.S. treat women as commodities for control and reproduction. Girls are taught that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a right…

Political correctness has gone mad

Political correctness has gone mad

By Shazia Hobbs   “Political correctness is a weapon used to silence people who tell the truth” — Ayaan Hirsi Ali   I remember being told that it was no longer politically correct to sing the nursery rhyme ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ to my son, who is now almost 24 years old.  I remember being told that it was offensive to black people.  The fact that I was singing about sheep and not black people was neither here nor there.  Black people and black sheep were one and the same to…

Women smearing Ayaan Hirsi Ali are ‘carrying water’ for Islamists

Women smearing Ayaan Hirsi Ali are ‘carrying water’ for Islamists

By Arshia Malik   For us women in India, carrying water signifies courage, fortitude and surviving amidst insurmountable odds, considering the country still has parts where drinking water is not available and women have to walk miles to get two potable vessels of water for the cooking of the day. Compared to the slur of “carrying water” which the dictionary defines as “performing menial tasks for or to serve; to assist; to be forced by politics or pragmatism to endorse or promote a belief”, this act has become symbolic of…

We must punish those guilty of Female Genital Mutilation

We must punish those guilty of Female Genital Mutilation

By Shazia Hobbs   If you are unaware of what Female Genital Mutilation is, I envy you. Ignorance is bliss after all and I wish I lived in a word where FGM didn’t exist. Unfortunately The World Health Organisation website states:   More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated’ and More than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk from FGM, annually.   UNICEF’s website states that out of…

Unblemished Virginity

Unblemished Virginity

By Serena   Virginity. What this word means to you is subjective: you might consider it no issue at all; you might be eager to lose it; or if you’re religious and traditionalist, you will wait until you’re married. Islam is famous for its promises of 72 virgins in heaven, for its strict religious rulings such as veiling, segregation, FGM and punishments of hellfire and lashes for a person if they have pre-marital sex. Virginity is neither precious or honourable. It is a social and religious construct. Virginity applies to…

Female Genital Mutilation: Pakistan’s well-kept secret

Female Genital Mutilation: Pakistan’s well-kept secret

By Saima Baig   (This is a cross-post from The Nation)   On May 5, Nigeria took the historical step of outlawing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and its outgoing President, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the ban as one of his last acts before leaving office. According to the UN, one quarter of Nigerian women and girls have been subjected to FGM, a vile and misogynistic practice that creates many health issues for women. Globally more than 125 million girls and women are affected by this practice, which was banned by the…