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Tucker Carlson's interview with Fuambai Ahmadu aired on May 3, 2017 on Fox News "Tucker Carlson Tonight" . 

As both a victim of and advocate against female genital mutilation (“FGM”), I was stunned and appalled by Fuambai Ahmadu’s recent appearance on the Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”  Ahmadu defends FGM as an acceptable practice, actually likening it to a male circumcision or in her words “gender-egalitarian surgeries”. 

 

I understand that Ahmadu is an educated woman.  She is an anthropologist who obtained her PhD in social anthropology from the London School of Economics and undertook post-doctoral work at the University of Chicago.  She has worked as a consultant for the United Nations and previously worked the federal government.  I also understand that she decided as an adult to undergo a clitoridectomy (removal of the clitoris) as part of an initiation into the Bundu secret society.  Note that this procedure was done in Sierra Leone. 

Ahmadu insisted that she does “not defend FGM,” explaining, “I don’t identify with the term FGM, with the term “mutilation.”  I don’t know anyone in my family who does or my community, and from over 25 years of research I have done in the field, I say the great majority of women who are affected by what I call ‘female circumcision practices’ do not see themselves as mutilated.”  This is where Ahmadu and I disagree. 

BREAKING NEWS

 

On February 1, 2019, Yahoo News UK reported that a 37-year-old Ugandan-born woman became the first person convicted of female genital mutilation in the United Kingdom. 

She and her 34-year-old Ghanaian partner were accused of cutting their daughter in the summer of 2017.  

The woman's partner was acquitted by the jury. 

The mother faces a "lengthy" jail term of up to 14 years for this crime.  A crime that is illegal in both the UK and Uganda.   She will receive her sentence on March 8th.  

Lynette Woodrow of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "We can only imagine how much pain this vulnerable young girl suffered and how terrified she was."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "Every woman and girl should be safe and feel safe wherever they are in London, and we will continue our fight to end FGM with every power we have."

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Baker, of the Met’s child abuse and sexual offences command, said: “We cannot lose sight this is a case about a very young girl who was subjected to horrific abuse at the hands of two defendants, her parents.”

This news was reported by Joe Gamp, Contributor, Yahoo News UK, on February 1, 2019, 

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IN OTHER NEWS. 

On April 12, 2017, Jumana Nagarwala, M.D., of Northville, Michigan, was charged with performing FGM on minor girls out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan.  According to the complaint, some of the minor victims allegedly traveled interstate to have Nagarwala perform the procedure. The complaint alleges that Nagarwala performed FGM on girls who were approximately six to eight years old.  This is believed to be the first case brought under 18 U.S.C. 116, which criminalizes FGM.  Nagarwala was detained on April 17, 2017.   On April 27, she was terminated from her position as an emergency department physician at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital.  Nagarwala is charged alongside Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar, in connection with the alleged illegal procedures

The trio was tied to a Muslim sect referred as Dawoodi Bohra that practices female genital mutilation, or FGM, for what it claims are religious and cultural reasons. They have been accused of allowing Nagarwala to use Attar’s Livonia-based Burhani Medical Clinic to perform the procedure on two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota.

Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch, whose office will be prosecuting the case, stated, “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.” 

During a trial hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward told a federal judge at least 100 girls may have been cut at the clinic over a 12-year period, the Detroit Free Press reported.  “Due to the secretive nature of this procedure, we are unlikely to ever know how many children were cut by Dr. Nagarwala," Woodward said. "The Minnesota victims were not the first victims."

Although, Nagarwala was originally denied bail because a judge considered her to be a flight risk, on September 17, 2017, Nagarwala's attorneys offered a new $4.5 million bond proposal which was accepted by the judge. 

The trial date for this landmark genital mutilation case is scheduled for JUNE 5, 2018.

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When I decided to fight against the practice of FGM, I sought out numerous Imams, pastors and village chiefs to ask them about the origins of this procedure - religious, cultural or traditional.  Repeatedly, I was told that there are none. 

 

The history of FGM is not well known but the practice dates back at least 2000 years.  It is not known when or where the tradition originated.  Some believe it was practiced in ancient Egypt as a sign of distinction amongst the aristocracy.  Others believe the practice developed independently among certain ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa as part of puberty rites.  The practice of FGM predates Islam and Christianity and there is no mention in the Koran, Bible or Sunnah.  What I do know is that wherever its origin, this practice is rooted in gender inequality, attempts to control women's sexuality, and ideas about purity, modesty and beauty.  

 

When I interviewed African parents about their reasons for choosing to have their daughters mutilated, many couldn’t explain except to say it had always been done, so they must do likewise.  FGM is usually initiated and carried out by women, who see it as a source of honor, and who fear that failing to have their daughters and granddaughters "cut" will expose the girls to social exclusion and possible ridicule. 

 

Most people don’t understand the struggle that women, including myself, who have been subject to this practice go through on a daily basis.  Depending on the procedure, the health effects can include recurrent infections, difficulty urinating and passing menstrual flow, chronic pain, the development of cysts, an inability to get pregnant, complications during childbirth, and fatal bleeding.  There are no known health benefits.

As an adult, the psychological effects of my ordeal have persisted.  When I look at myself in the mirror, I see only this ugly scar where important parts of my body were stolen from me.  I don’t feel like I’m 100% a woman.  For a long time, I was angry and heartbroken.  I believe that if it wasn’t right for a woman to have a clitoris, then God wouldn’t have given us one.

 

It is time to stop this cruel, unspeakable behavior against women. 

WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7 aired this report on April 27, 2017. 

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