August 16, 2019
The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy applauds Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) who have introduced bicameral legislation (S. 2017 and H.R. 3583) to once again make female genital mutilation/cutting a federal crime. The previous law which purported to criminalize the procedure on the federal level has been ruled unconstitutional by a Michigan judge in the case of “doctor” who performed the procedure on several little girls at the direction of their parents belonging to the Dawoodi Bohra Islamic sect. The charge against the doctor was thus dropped and the parents were never charged at all.
“Bravo and Brava to Congressman Perry and Senator Blackburn et al., who are proposing a federal ban on barbarism, namely, on FGM when and as practiced in the United States,” said Dr. Phyllis Chesler, an expert on the condition of women in Islam. “Banning FGM within each state is important and is underway. However, in those states that have already banned FGM not a single prosecution has taken place. Criminalizing within each state is a necessary but only a first step; the will to prosecute and rescue vulnerable girls are the next steps—as is funding such justice and child protection. Since FGM is a secret, family and communal practice, both federal and state laws are important.”
“This barbaric practice, designed to subjugate and control women by diminishing female sexual pleasure, is an abomination and should never be allowed to occur anywhere in the United States,” said AMCD Secretary, Rebecca Bynum. “It is a relic of a primitive culture in which women are considered the absolute property of men. Like polygamy, FGM has no place in modern society, where female equality is a mark of our advancing civilization.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an estimated 513,000 girls and women are at risk or have been subjected to FGM in the United States in 2012 – a threefold increase from the previous estimate in 1990. Clearly this is a growing problem and must be vigorously addressed. AMCD commends Senator Blackburn, Representative Perry and all their co-sponsors for having the courage to stand up against these secretive, abhorrent acts carried out against the most vulnerable among us.