The photo is from the deeply disturbing slide show accompanying the article and shows a girl screaming in agony after being cut.
Sheelan Anwar Omer, a shy 7-year-old Kurdish girl, bounded into her neighbor's house with an ear-to-ear smile, looking for the party her mother had promised.So it's the socially advanced Iraqis who brutalize their little girls in this way — imagine my relief. What can the retro ones be up to?
There was no celebration. Instead, a local woman quickly locked a rusty red door behind Sheelan, who looked bewildered when her mother ordered the girl to remove her underpants. Sheelan began to whimper, then tremble, while the women pushed apart her legs and a midwife raised a stainless-steel razor blade in the air. "I do this in the name of Allah!" she intoned.
As the midwife sliced off part of Sheelan's genitals, the girl let out a high-pitched wail heard throughout the neighborhood. As she carried the sobbing child back home, Sheelan's mother smiled with pride.
"This is the practice of the Kurdish people for as long as anyone can remember," said the mother, Aisha Hameed, 30, a housewife in this ethnically mixed town about 100 miles north of Baghdad. "We don't know why we do it, but we will never stop because Islam and our elders require it."
Kurdistan is the only known part of Iraq —and one of the few places in the world—where female circumcision is widespread. More than 60 percent of women in Kurdish areas of northern Iraq have been circumcised, according to a study conducted this year. In at least one Kurdish territory, 95 percent of women have undergone the practice, which human rights groups call female genital mutilation.
The practice, and the Kurdish parliament's refusal to outlaw it, highlight the plight of women in a region with a reputation for having a more progressive society than the rest of Iraq. Advocates for women point to the increasing frequency of honor killings against women and female self-immolations in Kurdistan this year as further evidence that women in the area still face significant obstacles, despite efforts to raise public awareness of circumcision and violence against women. [For Kurdish Girls, a Painful Ancient Ritual, Washington Post, December 28, 2008]
For information about Kurds already residing in America, see my 2007 article, What The New York Times Didnâ€™t Tell You About Nashville's Kurdish Gangs. Presumably more Kurds are in the pipeline as a part of Washington's promise to welcome additional refugees from Iraq in "record numbers."
Washington does not permit individual criminals to enter the US as immigrants or refugees, and when they are discovered, they are deported, e.g. Ethiopian torturer Kelbessa Negewo, who was repatriated in 2007. Why then does the government allow FGM-practicing cultures to enter America, where the custom is prohibited by law?
Finally, consider signing a petition to end Muslim immigration.