Did You Know…?  Egypt – the Cradle of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

This column of “Did You Know…” is intended to help inform and educate our readers on the practice of FGM.

Historically, Egypt has always been known as the ‘cradle of civilization’.  However this country, located in the northeastern part of Africa is also the ‘cradle of female genital mutilation’.

The practice of female genital mutilation/cutting originated more than five centuries ago in Egypt during the Pharaoh times.  Although some people believe that Islam and FGM are related, it is a fact that female genital mutilation has nothing to do with religion.  An Islamic scholar recently reported that the practice of FGM is forbidden by Islam.

In 2007 the practice of FGM was banned in Egypt, the first African nation to outlaw the practice.  Yet, a recent report revealed that a wave of FGM shops have sprouted up in parts of Egypt, with the practice as prevalent as before it was banned.   Despite the illegality, the practice in this country has skyrocketed; and families can now have their little girls cut for less than the equivalent of ten U.S. Dollars ($10.00).  In recent months, Egypt has been referred to as the FGM capital of the world.

Last year, a 13-year old girl died in Egypt after she had undergone FGM.  Her death spurred controversy worldwide after her father and the excisor were both arrested and prosecuted in Egypt.  This latest release out of Egypt only confirms that making the practice of FGM illegal in any country is not enough.  The excisors are daring and defiant of the law; actual enforcement of the law is paramount and not just making it an article in the law books.