Australian Islamist Monitor

Islam Under Scrutiny

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The Knife of Love...

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A few years ago, when living in Khartoum, I was invited over the river to Omdurman for a wedding. It was a very lively family affair, attended by a large number of men, women and children. Weddings are very popular occasions there and not to be missed, especially as they are the only times when people are allowed to dance outside their homes. So there was loud music, and lots of dancing and fun, until 11.00 p.m., when the police showed up and clicked their fingers, indicating that the wedding was over - no argument.

I have nothing outrageous to report: nothing bad happened, although the fun seemed to be restricted to the guests and not the wedding couple, unlike here. The bride and her husband danced together as if from duty, chastely, barely touching each other.The woman was dressed, predictably, in white, which was very tight but covered every part of her but her face and hands. There is a look on her face on the photo I took which I have seen before, and I have a photo I took of a Nepalese bride with that look, which might be resignation, tiredness or thorough gloom, and maybe came from the situation of having been subjected to an arranged marriage to a family member or virtual stranger, or to anyone not chosen by the bride herself.

Or maybe it was worry about what was coming next.

A couple of weeks later I was in the upstairs foyer of an expensive hotel, having gone there to hire a computer. Downstairs there was a big room full of plush furniture, a place where mostly men sat and discussed business. I saw below a figure lying on a couch, and a man was putting a blanket on her. There were a few men standing around the couch. As I watched, it was evident she was not sleeping, but was in such a state of distress as to be catatonic. After a while I asked someone nearby what was wrong.

"The woman was married last night," he said. "She is being taken to hospital," he added, as if explaining how night follows day.

I was reminded of this when the FGM (female genital mutilation) custom, anything but abandoned in the Muslim immigrant rush to the West, became a focus again with the recent controversial review on FGM by the Academy of American Paediatrics, which recommended a "compromise" with "religious" practice in the form of a so-called "ritual nick", to be made allowable for girls of immigrant families in the US; their specific religion was carefully not mentioned, but "Somalia" and "Sudan" do indicate Islam.

There are many articles explaining the gruesome facts and figures of FGM on several websites, including this one. Islam apologists tell us that it is not a requirement of Islam and is a "cultural" matter, often implicating black Africans, as if "some" Muslims have inadvertently and mysteriously absorbed "some" African habits which are neither compulsory or a matter of great concern, but have "somehow" been associated with Islam.

As the proven facts about Islam's connection to FGM can be found elsewhere, I shall only mention here that a French physician, Pierre Foldes, who has developed and carried out a surgical procedure for immigrant women which ameliorates and partially corrects the results of circumcision, received death threats not from "Africans", but, as he said, from "radical Islamic people."

In the Sudan more than 80% of Muslim girls undergo circumcision, and most of those operations are of the most extreme type, so invasive and so thoroughly stitched up after the incision is complete that a wedding night, and the meaningful physical act which is part of it, is difficult and can, in some cases, call for the use of a knife to faciltate entry into what now is the property of the husband.

It is barely imaginable, the degree of anxiety a girl who is not only a virgin but also has undergone circumcision must feel on her wedding day. And what happiness can a man feel, to be obliged to treat his young wife in such a way, and even worse, to also be the cause of her humiliating hospitalization?

I did receive a clue as to what Sudanese men felt about this situation which is not strictly of their making, and can be abhorrent to them, but persists culturally and is within the law of their country. I noticed that quite a few Muslim men preferred to marry non-Muslim women, and some chose a non-Muslim second wife. Was this just coincidence? Perhaps not: according to a report by Frances Althaus (1997),

"In a study of 300 polygynous Sudanese men, each of whom had one wife who had been infibulated and one or more who had not, 266 expressed a definite sexual preference for the uninfibulated wife; in addition, 60 said they had married a second, uninfibulated wife because of the penetration difficulties they experienced with their first wife, whose scarred vaginal opening became progressively more inelastic after each birth....one study showed that infibulated women were almost twice as likely as other women to have lower fertility and more than twice as likely to be divorced.

Thus, a practice that is justified as making girls marriageable and safeguarding their fertility may actually increase the risk of marital dissolution and subfertility."

A doctor in that country said to me that Muslim women try to have many children in the hope that their husbands will be happy with them and not look for a second wife - but they do anyway. And, something the doctor did not mention, unfortunately there is a pool of impoverished, often refugee or IDP non-Muslim (and uncircumcised) women from south Sudan and Ethiopia who will become a Muslim man's second wife for security, and raise any children they have as Muslims.

In the decadent, immoral, materialistic, irreligious west, a young woman's wedding night is usually exciting and happy, with glasses of champagne and warmth and laughter, followed by a night in the arms of the man she loves. On the other hand, for a married couple to begin their sex life together by means of an inexpertly handled knife is about as far from morality, dignity or love as it could be. This is not to say that Sudanese Muslims, or any Muslims, are incapable of love. They are not; but Mohammed did not design Islam with love in mind. Obedience to whatever advanced Islam and Mohammed himself were what mattered, and as FGM fitted his requirements regarding the "chastity" of women, its practice continues, insisted on as much by girls' mothers as by men, and human happiness must fall into place as of secondary concern, if that.

If men in Muslim countries could only have one wife, perhaps they might be more concerned about the woman's health, fertility and happiness and try to effect change. But increasing competition amongst Muslims in terms of "piety" does not indicate a departure from adherence to theological approval of either polygyny or circumcision. Furthermore, now that Muslim men have the West to plunder for naive and careless sexual partners, as well as women from their own countries to tempt into marriage with tales of welfare and other benefits to be had if they want to come here as an extra spouse, I doubt that polygyny or the cruelty of circumcision are going to go away for a while yet. The cowardice of Western political correctness makes such a departure even less likely.


Please Read the following AIM's articles covering the issue of FGM:

1. FGM1

2. FGM2

3. FGM3

4. Clitoridectomy; Wikipedia; The Age and Islam

5. Bomber's Brothel

6. NAB, clitoridectomy Mufti and sharia - Part A

7. NAB, clitoridectomy Mufti and sharia - Part B

8. Femal Genital Mutilation to be performed in Aussie hospitals

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 June 2010 09:44  

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