Female genital mutilation (FGM) or clitoridectomy is an Islamic tradition, rampant in the Muslim world. Over 96% of the women in Egypt have been clitoridectomized. Back in 2008, devout members of the Egyptian parliament have made female genital mutilation (circumcision) legal again in Egypt. With the advent of increased Muslim immigration, this has become a pressing issue here in America.
“In fact, genital disfigurement has become so common in America’s immigrant communities that the Department of Justice has taken to printing Arabic brochures for immigrants, encouraging them not to disfigure young girls by removing their sexual organs.”
“Muslim Immigration Puts Half a Million U.S. Girls at Risk of Genital Mutilation,” Breitbart, August 2, 2015
A June report from the Instituto Cervantes, a group created to promote the Spanish language, documented how four decades of mass immigration to the United States has made America the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking country.
But a petition from the womens’ group Equality Now reveals that immigration has put the United States on a list that will be much more difficult for progressive immigration enthusiasts to cheer. A massive influx of immigrants from Muslim-populated countries in Africa and the Middle East has led the group to conclude that more than half a million girls in the U.S. are in danger of having their exposed sexual organs skinned from their bodies.
The practice is known as female genital mutilation (FGM).
Equality Now’s estimation comes from the Population Reference Bureau, or PRB, a non-partisan Washington research group. PRB explains that its estimates are derived from, “the general procedures used by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)… [in addition to] country-specific FGM prevalence rates from the Demographic and Health Surveys… [and] the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey [to] obtain numbers of women in the United States with ties to one of the countries where the FGM prevalence rate was at least 2 percent.”
FGM is widespread in many of the countries where the United States handpicks immigrants for admission to the United States.
The Atlantic describes how the procedure is carried out:
It usually involves the complete removal of the clitoris, and often the removal of some of the inner and outer labia. In its most extreme form–infibulation–almost all the external genitalia are cut away, the remaining flesh from the outer labia is sewn together, or infibulated, and the girl’s legs are bound from ankle to waist for several weeks while scar tissue closes up the vagina almost completely. A small hole, typically about the diameter of a pencil, is left for urination and menstruation. The cutting is usually done with a razor, a kitchen knife, or a pair of scissors. It is rare for any anesthesia to be used.
As the United States continues to mail out immigrant visas to countries with hostile and violent attitudes towards women, it will increasingly challenge Americans’ self-perception of what it means to live in a First World country.
Jaha Dukureh, an FGM-survivor and founder of the activist organization Safe Hands for Girls, warned that “every year thousands of girls here in the United States go through female genital mutilation.”
Dukureh writes, “Many in the U.S. hear about FGM and think it only happens in far away lands. Unfortunately, this is far from reality. I hear from girls everyday that were born here in the United States who have been through FGM. These young women are your average American teenagers — some of them you know, some of them you went or go to school with. And there are many more girls in the US that are at risk of being cut.”
Although Americans will not hear it reported on your evening news, the summer season now brings with it more than summer school or summer camp: for thousands of girls, it’s what is known as “cutting season” in America.
While many American girls associate summer with campfires, lightening bugs, community pools, sweet tea, and plastic lanyards, a new summer tradition is taking hold in the nation as thousands of migrant communities from around the country begin preparing their daughters for grotesque and lifelong sexual disfigurement.
The Daily Beast writes: “As students across the country prepare for summer vacation, female genital mutilation (FGM) activists… are gearing up for what they call ‘cutting season’—the summer months when young girls can be sent to their ancestral lands to be circumcised.”
Activists can recount countless anecdotal stories of U.S. girls savagely maimed on family vacations. The Atlantic reports one account from Asha Mohamud, a pediatrician and Somali immigrant who lives in Alexandria, Virginia:
“There was a time I got a call from someone in northern Virginia,” Asha Mohamud says. “They heard of a girl in a school who was at risk. The teacher was teaching about sex education, and the young girl pointed out the clitoris and said,`That part is really bad, and my mother is taking me back in the summer to have that cut out.’” Mohamud tried to find the girl, but by the time the story had reached her, it was too late. The girl had already graduated and returned from her trip to Africa.
The PRB report attributes the prevalence of FGM in the United States exclusively to immigration:
In 2013, there were up to 507,000 U.S. women and girls who had undergone FGM/C or were at risk of the procedure… This figure is more than twice the number of women and girls estimated to be at risk in 2000… The rapid increase in women and girls at risk reflects an increase in immigration to the United States, rather than an increase in the share of women and girls at risk of being cut… about 97 percent of U.S. women and girls at risk were from African countries, while just 3 percent were from Asia (Iraq and Yemen).
To put the U.S. half a million figure in perspective, the Orchid Project, a U.K.-based charity dedicated to combating FGM, estimates that 41,572 girls over the age of 15 in Uganda have undergone the procedure and 77,522 in Cameroon.
The African-born population in the United States, according to U.S. Census data, “has roughly doubled each decade since 1970.” The PRB report notes that, “between 2000 and 2013, the foreign-born population from Africa more than doubled, from 881,000 to 1.8 million”; and, “in fiscal year 2014, one-fourth of the 70,000 refugees arriving in the United States were from Africa.” Additionally, as the Center for Immigration Studies documented from a recent Census report, immigration from the Middle East is the fastest-growing bloc of new visa admissions.
Each year, about 100,000 immigrants are added to the U.S. from predominantly Muslim countries. Student visas for Middle Eastern countries have also grown enormously, including 16-fold increase in Saudi students since 9/11.
These immigrants are not coming to the country illegally and have nothing whatsoever to do with the U.S. border. The flood of immigration from FGM countries is almost exclusively produced by green cards, refugee programs, and other forms of legal importation. The Washington Post explains: “The great majority of African residents arrived legally. Most are U.S. permanent residents or citizens, or hold work or educational visas. Some, especially the large numbers of Ethiopians, fled a succession of conflicts over the years and have been resettled here as refugees.”
“Egypt, Ethiopia, and Somalia—accounted for 55 percent of all U.S. women and girls at risk in 2013,” the Population Reference Bureau reports. “The FGM prevalence rate for women and girls ages 15 to 49 is 91 percent in Egypt, 74 percent in Ethiopia and 98 percent in Somalia.”
Washington D.C. has proven a popular destination for many settlers from FGM countries. Today, in our nation’s capital there are nearly 4,000 girls at risk of having their genitals butchered, according to PRB. In the New England setting that provided the backdrop for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, more than 22,000 girls are at risk of being maimed. In Eleanor Roosevelt’s home state of New York, nearly 50,000 girls are in danger of having a sexual organ cut from their bodies.
As The Atlantic reported in 1995:
Americans who are aware of the practice… assume that it is a fact of life only for girls who live in faraway places–a form of barbarism that doesn’t touch American homes, schools, or doctor’s offices. This is simply not true. As more and more African immigrants move to this country, bringing with them their food, practices, and traditions, perhaps hundreds more daughters of African parents are circumcised in the United States every year.
Al Jazeera recounts the experience of one London woman:
Aissa describes how her sister was taken away by a woman to “wait for her turn” while Aissa’s stepmother instructed her to lay down on a bed. Aissa did as she was told, as four women stood over her pinning her to the bed as another woman began to cut her. No anaesthetic was used to remove Aissa’s clitoris with a razor blade. Aissa explains that it doesn’t matter how tightly you are held down, your body instinctively convulses, which results in deeper and longer incisions.
“The pain is, well, it’s so difficult to describe to you what it is like. Imagine when you cut your finger, it’s a million times worse than that. But that doesn’t even begin to describe the type of pain that takes over when the part of your body that has the most nerve endings in it is cut away. Only girls who have been cut will ever know what that level of pain is like. I honestly thought I was going to die, and then everything went black.”
A 2013 report issued by Sanctuary for Families found that practitioners are being imported into the United States from FGM-prevalent countries:
Typically, FGM in the U.S. is carried out by traditional practitioners who operate covertly and illegally. When U.S. health care providers carry out the procedure, they frequently come from countries where the practice is prevalent, and they operate on girls from their own communities at the request of a child’s parents.
In fact, genital disfigurement has become so common in America’s immigrant communities that the Department of Justice has taken to printing Arabic brochures for immigrants, encouraging them not to disfigure young girls by removing their sexual organs.
The United States government, however, will inevitably face an uphill climb as it continues to resettle more immigrant populations who abuse and disfigure women.
As one taxi driver in Washington D.C. told The Atlantic, “I stood over her to make sure she cut enough… I wasn’t going to let my daughters have those things!” A mother facing the decision had been told by her community, “If I don’t do these things, the girl will grow up horny. She’ll be like American girls.”
Yashanu, a taxi driver and Ethiopian immigrant, also told The Atlantic:
In this country you see a lot of young women unmarried, pregnant… maybe if American girls were circumcised, this wouldn’t happen. When I was growing up, a girl had to stay within the family. She could be home no later than five or six in the afternoon. But in this country there are no rules… When you circumcise a woman, they’re less active sexually and more interested in their schoolwork.
Far from assimilating to American culture, many migrants have become more aggressive in asserting their own. The Daily Beast reports that soon after launching a campaign against mutilations, a female activist, Jaha Dukereh, “was so fervently targeted by proponents of the procedure that she had to shut down her Facebook account after people began commenting on pictures of her four-year-old daughter, saying if they ever met her they would mutilate her themselves.”
The rise of this genital scalping in the United States highlights many of the problems with diversity as goal unto itself. As Jaha Dukureh told The Guardian: “When people come to this country they bring their traditions with them– they eat the same food, dress in the same way– what makes people think that they won’t continue with FGM?”
It is possible that the desire of leaders in both parties to continue expanding immigration stems from the fact that they may be socially or economically isolated from its impacts. A recent report from Oxford University reports that diversity actually undermines social cohesion: “Most of the empirical literature on this subject finds that the relationship between diversity and trust is negative – the more diverse a community is, the less likely individuals in it are to be trusting… Most notably, Putnam (2007) argues that diversity seems to alienate people in general and in his words pushes them towards ‘hunkering down’ i.e. towards segregation and isolation.”
Regardless of the cause, the Republican Party continues to push for more immigration from FGM countries.
The existing roster of GOP leaders who apparently support the status quo of FGM-immigration are, in the Senate: Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Conference Chairman Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Policy Committee Chairman Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)nand Conference Vice Chairman Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). In the House: Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Conference Chairwoman, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Policy Committee Chairman Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN).
One of the biggest immigration enthusiasts in the Republican Party is GOP Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris, whose ostensible job is to develop the message for the entire House Republican membership. Rodger’s state of Washington has witnessed a surge of FGM migrants in recent decades.
Today, there are 25,000 girls and women are at risk of being mutilated in Washington state, according to the Population Research Bureau. Through her expansive immigration policy, Cathy McMorris Rodgers—the first female to lead a House Caucus—is putting her state on the same lists as countries like Cameroon in terms of how young girls are treated.
As The Seattle Times reports: “Kadija Ahmed [a Somali immigrant and mother of three] says she knows Americans find it difficult to understand her religion and culture, the underpinnings of a country where she was married at 13 to a much older man who paid her parents 100 camels for his beautiful young bride.” Ahmed told the paper, “Everything we do comes from religion – how we eat, how we dress, how we talk to people… Anyone who thinks this is wrong or weird is not respecting my culture or my religion or who I am… and they should be educated.”
It may be regarded as one of the great ironies of the 21st century that Ted Kennedy’s lasting legacy may be having making the United States an infinitely more dangerous place for young girls and women—as immigration has resulted not only in widespread female genital disfigurement, but has also produced thousands of cases of rape, sexual assault, and murder of young girls, which never would have occurred if not but for his 1965 immigration law.