A Christmas story: wave of genital mutilation in the UK?

posted at 1:36 pm on December 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

This isn’t exactly the heartwarming holiday story that is the usual fare of media during Christmas week.  Nor does it come from a source one would expect.  The Independent, a newspaper associated more with the hard Left of British politics, reports that the UK has done next to nothing to stop the practice of female genital mutilation, the act of brutally removing the clitorises of young girls to curb their sexual appetites in later years.

Does the Independent mean to criticize Britain’s foreign policy?  Not exactly.  The danger, unfortunately, is in the UK itself (via The Other McCain):

Hundreds of British schoolgirls are facing the terrifying prospect of female genital mutilation (FGM) over the Christmas holidays as experts warn the practice continues to flourish across the country. Parents typically take their daughters back to their country of origin for FGM during school holidays, but The Independent on Sunday has been told that “cutters” are being flown to the UK to carry out the mutilation at “parties” involving up to 20 girls to save money.

The police face growing criticism for failing to prosecute a single person for carrying out FGM in 25 years; new legislation from 2003 which prohibits taking a girl overseas for FGM has also failed to secure a conviction.

Experts say the lack of convictions, combined with the Government’s failure to invest enough money in education and prevention strategies, mean the practice continues to thrive. Knowledge of the health risks and of the legislation remains patchy among practising communities, while beliefs about the supposed benefits for girls remain firm, according to research by the Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development (Forward).

Normally, parents take their children abroad, which has caused the UK to watch when preadolescent children leave school suddenly as a way to monitor for it.  Why are the FGM mutilators being asked to come to the UK?  Economics:

Jackie Mathers, a nurse from the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, said: “These families do not do this out of spite or hatred; they believe this will give their daughters the best opportunities in life. We would like a conviction, not against the parents, but against a cutter, someone who makes a living from this. We have anecdotal information that the credit crunch means people can’t go home, so they’re getting cutters over for ‘FGM parties’. It is hard for people to speak out because they are from communities that are already vilified as asylum seekers, so to stand up against their communities is to risk being ostracised. But we have to empower girls and women to address this, along with teachers, school nurses and social workers. We can’t ignore it; it is mutilation.”

Unfortunately, this is still a fairly common practice in Africa and some Muslim countries.  It creates a lifetime of pain and medical complications for women, and can kill the girls with infections.  It’s purely subjugative, as FGM has no support in Islam or any other religion.

This calls into question the UK’s attempts to proscribe the practice thus far.  They passed a law banning FGM almost seven years ago, and everyone acknowledges that the practice has continued.  Yet no prosecutions have been made, and parents apparently feel comfortable enough to host FGM “parties” in the UK in order to get bulk discounts during the recession.  That makes the UK’s rule of law seem rather impotent, especially considering the vulnerable nature of the victims and the deep and permanent damage FGM does to them.  Would the UK look the other way for pedophilia parties?

Kudos to the Independent for bucking political correctness and exposing the problem.  They deserve a round of thanks from everyone across the political spectrum.  British citizens should take this opportunity to demand action on the law they demanded, and which appears to have been roundly ignored in the cause of faux diversity.


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