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The campaign against FGM must ignore intersectionality

25 February 2014

25 February 2014

Two terms have been bouncing around a lot recently: FGM and intersectionality. Julie Burchill dealt with the latter in the Spectator last week, and triggered an angry reaction, proving that hell hath no fury like a transgender person scorned. For those not accustomed with the term, it’s a nebulous sociological concept that, put simply, suggests race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and class must all be factored into social commentary. It’s increasingly being used to suggest that you can only discuss and campaign on issues that you have direct experience of. The phrase ‘check your privilege’ neatly sums it up. Pick a topic, any topic, and in the intersectionalist’s eyes, you cannot discuss it without paying due regard to your background.

So let’s talk summer holidays. I am a white, middle-class girl, and when I was young, I spent much of my summer pretending I was a mermaid on a beach in Cornwall. But for a number of young British girls, predominantly with African and Middle Eastern roots, their holiday experience will have been very different. Their summer may have included a ‘cutting season’ – during which they were either taken out of the country to have their genitals sliced up, or they had some dodgy ‘doctor’ do it here. It’s carried out during the long holidays so there’s enough time for the wounds to heal before school starts again. The details are horrible, but suffice to say a more medieval attitude to femininity would be difficult to conjure up.

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The first prosecution for female genital mutilation in the UK is expected to take place within a few weeks. Given that more than 24,000 British girls are at risk and more than 66,000 women are living with the consequences of it, it’s hardly a triumph for our legal system, but it’s a step forward at least. The nature of FGM makes it a hugely personal matter, meaning it’s very hard to keep tabs on. Aside from a girl stepping forward to say ‘I was cut’, it’s difficult to tell who is a victim. A loophole in British law also makes it tricky to prosecute FGM when it has been done outside of the UK. Despite FGM being illegal in Britain for 29 years, no one has yet been prosecuted.

In the British press, the Guardian has run the most forceful campaign against FGM. This is of course laudable. But the left’s obsession with intersectionality has put this topic on a sticky wicket. Can British women who have no direct experience of FGM protest against it, without looking culturally snooty? When I, as a white, middle-class woman, stand up to say that this custom, predominantly practiced by African or Middle Eastern people, is wrong, I risk coming across as culturally elitist. I see that.

But this is what needs to be done, and we can’t afford to let FGM become a subject defined by left-wing jargon. There will be people all around Britain who have read about this barbaric practice, and believe we must adopt a tougher stance – but they may be put off saying so because they feel it’s not their place. Regardless of whether you have experience of it, this is not the place for feminist cant. The more we talk about it, and criticize the people who perpetrate it, the more likely it is to be eradicated. And that may mean upsetting certain ethnic minorities.

Let me check my privilege: as a white, middle-class girl, I was lucky enough not to have been cut up with a rusty razor or a shard of glass. If this piece seems bigoted, so be it. That’s a risk I’m happy to take on this particular issue, because anyone in Britain should feel able to discuss this, campaign against this, protest against this. We need the girls it doesn’t affect to feel able to support the girls it does. After all, the girls it does affect aren’t all that likely to want to talk about it. When it comes to the issue of FGM, the campaign should transcend political and cultural beliefs. Mutilating young girls is not something Britain should tolerate.


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Show comments
  • Sunshine

    The term intersectionality is not stating that if you are a “white middle-class woman and have no direct experience with FGM” that you are unable to protest against it without looking “snooty” as you call it. Intersectionality is merely pointing out that there are different factors that contribute to each individual case or group. Every person, man or woman has compassion, and intersectionality does not deny that. It is a simple fact that an African woman who may or may not go through FGM, will have a different outlook than those who are not African or Middle Eastern. There are many who agree with the process. before, jumping to a conclusion you must factor in everything, the individual culture and environment. I do not condone FGM nor do I believe in the practice, I firmly believe it is a violation of woman’s basic human rights. I am also not of African or Middle Eastern descent. However, there are women who are in certain remote areas that who don’t go through it are ostracized from their communities, as it is part of there culture. Thus, it s a double edge sword for them, you must look at all perspectives. The focus should be on education and the negative effects of FGM. It is your tone and the way you are coming across that makes you sound “snooty” do your research on intersectionality more before you condemn it.

  • chrispatten

    You still get banned on the grauniad ‘cif’ if you ask why every other prejudice is not as bad as ‘racism tm’. Sadly, every so often we have to choose between being called a racist and telling inferior cultures that they can’t murder albinos, or children, just because they think they’re witches. Or torture people to death because they’re gay, or sexually mutilate children. Any sensible person should worry less about being called a racist than supporting barbarity and savagery through our cowardice.

    • John Lea

      What a brave man! Wonder if you’ve ever actually disconnected your computer, stepped outside and told members of ‘inferior cultures’ that they are, in fact, inferior – to their faces I mean? I suspect not. You act tough on an online comments page, but I can just picture you coming face-to-face with a strapping big black chap in Saaf Lan-dahn. Stick to The Guardian’s comments page, mate, that’s what you’re good at

      • chrispatten

        Use the word ‘mong’ in front of a 5 foot 13 year old sibling of a disabled child and see what happens. Really seems to tick all the boxes for your aspirant ripper fantasies; you can hate women and the disabled, yet pretend to be liberal and tolerant. Love to meet you in person.

      • Richard

        Maye the strapping south london lad also thinks fgm is barbaric and is indicative of an inferior culture.

  • pp22pp

    We should never even acknowledge the validity of intersectionality. It’s silly PC crap.
    Another disappointing PC piece of rubbish cluttering up what used to be a good magazine.

  • James

    You really shouldn’t be giving these loony ideas legitimacy by discussing them.

    “A loophole in British law also makes it tricky to prosecute FGM when it has been done outside of the UK.”
    Shocking! Is that loophole called jurisdiction? I thought it was the same for all countries and their respective laws.

    • pp22pp

      If these barbarians had never been allowed into the country in the first place, we wouldn’t have these problems.

  • marcwilson

    It’s a non-consensual, medically unnecessary, mutilation. It is illegal, and should be.
    And if you take a child abroad to have this done- well, you should have your citizenship or right of abode revoked, irrevocably.

  • ADW

    The reason for this abomination is ultimately multiculturalism. Had all newcomers to these shores been told unequivocally, from the second they set foot on these shores, that there were certain norms, customs and values they would have to adopt, and certain of their own they would have to abandon – at risk of prison followed by deportation, we would not be in this boat. And 66,000 girls would not have been victims of a disgusting crime.

  • La Fold

    And while we are at it intersectionality does not seem to be about checking your privilige, it seems to be about silencing anyone who doesnt agree with someones point of view. Like the time I was told I wasnt allowed an opinion on abortion cause as a man I could never had one. Shouldve seen the response I got when I said “well okay dont expect me to fund it and I wont give you my opinion”

    • andagain

      Like the time I was told I wasnt allowed an opinion on abortion cause as a man I could never have one.

      So you’re only allowed to state an opinion on a subject if you have a vested interest in it? The mind boggles…

      • La Fold

        Apparently so. Nothing to do with the fact I might have been winning the argument with an informed and well reasoned opinion that this tired non argument was dragged out. No, not all!

  • La Fold

    So was the stopping of widows throwing themselves onto funeral pyres in British controlled India ceasing a cruel tradition or being culturally elitist?

    • Marie Louise Noonan

      ‘Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.’

      Sir Charles James Napier. (1851)

  • Cyril Sneer

    ‘Check your privilege’ is the lefts way of saying that they’re against free speech.

    • http://www.pearshapedcomedy.com Anthony Miller

      Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality are not left wing ideas they are bound together with the Katz/Bidol redefinition of racism as “prejudice + power” that Lee Jasper is so fond of. In other words Intersectionality is black separatism as sold by mainly white self hating accademics. It should be anathema not just to the right but to anyone involved in mainstream politics. Intersectionality says there is no line between collective moaning and potential hate speech if your constituency is small enough. This is not only obviously fallacious and twisted … it is actually against the law in the UK.

  • crosscop

    Why on earth have the politicians of every Western country insisted on importing the barbarism that is Islam? Didn’t we have enough problems of our own?

    • Andrea Holland

      http://www.womenshealth.gov/index.html
      ‘Is FGC (FGM) part of a religion?

      Although many people believe that FGC is associated with Islam, it is not. FGC is not supported by any religion and is condemned by many religious leaders. The practice crosses religious barriers. Muslims, Christians, and Jews have been known to support FGC on their girls.

      No religious text requires or even supports cutting female genitals. In fact, Islamic Shari’a protects children and protects their rights. From a Christian perspective, FGC has no religious grounds either. In fact, research shows that the relationship between religion and FGC is inconsistent at best”.

      Again, its an easy mistake to make but FGM is NOT Islamic!

      • Trofim

        But am I right in thinking that FGM is commoner among Muslims than Logical Positivists?

        • Richard

          Pithy, mate, pithy.

      • crosscop

        “No religious text requires or even supports cutting female genitals.”
        Except for Islam’s Hadith and Reliance of the Traveller, that is.

  • scampy1

    Why no cases of FGM or muslim grooming gangs before the courts when Tony the phony Blair and the labour luvvies were in office?
    Still no muslim grooming gangs caught in Scotland or Wales run by labour councils?
    If these vermin are here they will be grooming that is their barbaric religion.

  • Mr Grumpy

    “all women in Britain should feel able to discuss this, campaign against this, protest against this”
    Only women?

    • glurk

      I dont see many of us announcing ourselves as women on here often! Should it matter? No. It doesnt matter who is standing up against this as long as there are a lot. You may proceed gentlemen.

  • zakisbak

    young British girls –
    British nationality yes.
    British,no.

    • Mowords

      Define British then if it’s not a description of nationality.

      • pp22pp

        Genetic. So I am British and someone who looks like Idi Amin can’t be.

        • Mowords

          Ah I see.
          So are you talking about a particular race?
          If so do you mean, the Celts, the Picts, the Saxons, the Jutes, the Angles, the Vikings, the Normans, the Romans or the Huguenots?
          Quite a multicultural melting pot that lot, eh?

          • pp22pp

            Genetically, not really such a melting post at all and most of our ancestors arrived in the palaeolithic anyway.

            • Fergus Pickering

              My ancestors did not arrive here in the plaeolithic. They came with the Danes and with the Normans. The Britons were mere savages.

              • Mowords

                Oh sorry, so you mean just the Danes and Normans are true British. I get it. Does that mean you want the Celts out?

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Not at all, my love. I was talking about MY ancestors. I m not Celtic and have no inherited chip on my shoulder and propensity to drink and burst into tears.

  • Bonkim

    Agree wholeheartedly – evil has to be stopped by fair means or foul. FGM, and other cultural imports have no place in Britain – damn any cultural or ethnic sensitivity – same goes for any number of middle-ages cultural practices imported into Britain by immigrants. Politicians should not pander to such things – firm No!

  • swatnan

    Lets hope this round robin letter that Gove is sending out disapproves of FMG, veils and headscarves as religious symbols.
    Its about time the human race moved on a bit.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Go back a couple of hundred years, and this argument would mean that Wilberforce and associates would not be able to campaign against slavery.

    That rather puts the notion of intersectionality in the right perspective ….. ie it’s nonsense.

    • Donafugata

      Intersectionality = moral cowardice.

      Btw, is anyone else finding Disqus to be particularly obtuse?
      Not only is it taking forever to load but now has developed a reluctance to register endorsements.

    • Mowords

      No, Wilberforce and the other abolitionists (many of them ex slaves) would have absolutely been able to campaign for an end to slavery. They would also have thought about the other issues involved: sexism, economic inequality, educational disparities etc. For many years after slavery many of the freed former slaves lived lives that were in many ways as brutal as they had been under slavery. So yes, Wilberforce etc could have done with a bit of intersectionality.

      • http://www.pearshapedcomedy.com Anthony Miller

        Wilberforce suffered continual taunts that he was “not interested in the Swing riots” or was a “telescopic philantrophist. He ignored them as they were silly. He was, of course, immensely rich and privileged but he teaches us that tackling one injustice at a time can be a pragmatic way to get things done and fixing any one injustice has knock on effects for correcting other injustices. Intersectionality is the reverse of this – one cannot book a venue to organise a protest against the patriachal rule unless one first makes sure there is a disabled ramp and if one does such a thing one is instantly more evil than the patriachy. Although on a technical point I think one should point out Wilberforce achieved the abolition of the slave trade not slavery its self. He built a coalition that could achieve an achievable aim. When the government realised that the slave trade was not only immoral but set other imperialist nations against our own their self interest as well as their compassion came into play and things seemed to progress much more quickly…

        • Mowords

          Anthony, that’s a great response. Thank you.

          It’s worth reiterating that Wilberforce was just a small part of the abolitionist campaign. As you say, it there was a coalition. It included former slaves like Olaudah Equiano whose first person account of the trade swayed many minds.
          I still feel you are misunderstanding intersectionality though.
          You said: “if one does such a thing one is instantly more evil than the patriachy”. This is of course not true.
          No one with any sense would accuse organisers who make an oversight when it comes to a particular group, in this case the disabled, of being evil.

          At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that a meeting should be accessible to as many people as possible.

          If someone’s fighting sexism but makes excludes the disabled, or people of colour or the LBTG community, I think it’s fair enough to point this out.

          • http://www.pearshapedcomedy.com Anthony Miller

            “You said: “if one does such a thing one is instantly more evil than the patriachy”. This is of course not true.”

            Isnt it? Well perhaps evil is too strong a word but I was amusing myself reading an article on Open Democracy which quotes a woman called Jane Barry “A
            betrayal in the activist world is one that cuts the deepest…

            I wont link to it because it would probably get marked as spam but the line “Similar
            processes are at play when feminists make transphobic comments,
            organise events in non-accessible venues or without facilities for
            those who are deaf or focus on “power feminism” without realising
            this is likely to exclude women from many class backgrounds. ”

            Dear God … anyone who thinks a betrayal in the activist world is the one that cuts the deepest hasn’t suffered many cuts or betrayals in life.

            It’s completely stupid. You cant extend affirmative action or positive discrimination into the world ideas its self. That’s Stalin territory. I mean why when Laurie Penny writes one of her vapid articles does she have to talk about black women’s hair? I could spend weeks talking to Ms Penny about the politics of black women’s hair and how many of them feel forced to straighten it or westernise it to fit in or the children who were excluded from schools for boring cornrows but she wouldn’t UNDERSTAND it and what difference does it make if she puts one token line about a black woman having a different experience in a 1000 word article …people will just dismiss it as what it is tokenism.

            It isn’t fighting discrimination and it isnt actually getting more black people into the media which is what needs to happen.

            The whole Intersectionality thing contains so many woolly concepts it was probably knitted by Shaun the Sheep. For example that because you’re black and a woman you suffer two forms of discrimination that must always compound each other. The problem is the ALWAYS. This isn’t always the case. As Sol Campbell observed if you look at the statistics the people who actually have the worst deal in, for example, getting into employment are black MEN not black women. This is for many reasons such as women outperforming men in education and white men feeling more threatened by black men than black women. However, intersectionality can reveal none of this to anybody. It is a 7 syllable word for a two syllable word “bollocks”.

            • Mowords

              I haven’t read the Open Democracy piece but maybe what she means is that while you may expect discrimination from your ‘enemies’ it cuts deeper when those you consider as allies repeat the same slights. (This is just my reading of what you’ve quoted).
              I agree that the Laurie Penny thing was weird.
              She was writing about her particular experience not speaking for all women everywhere.
              Of course, if there was much more diversity in mainstream publications to reflect the diverse nation we actually live in then black women, trans people and all other groups would not have to hope that kindly middle class white journos would take up their cause.
              The internet is making it easier for writers from different backgrounds to be heard so maybe this won’t be a thing for much longer. A group called ‘Writers of Colour’, of which I am a member, launched last Autumn but has already have almost 300,000 people read it’s blogs.

              Anyway… back to that 7 syllable word for bollocks.

              Your point about black male unemployment doesn’t mean that racism and sexism don’t compound each other. It just means, as you so rightly say, that when it comes to employment or the justice system, their is a different experience for black men and women.
              Life is complicated and layered, the intersectionality argument just suggests that the ways we look at life should, where practical, be layered too.

      • Fergus Pickering

        And done what?

  • Ian Walker

    The victims of this are humans, and I have direct experience of being a human, so that’s my ‘privilege check’ done.

    It’s wounding with intent to cause GBH. We had the social commentary in 1861 and passed the Offences Against the Person Act, and a damn fine law it is too – no need to update it or fetter it with anything about culture or communities or religion.

  • In2minds

    The Home Office do not collect separate statistics for FGM, it is recognised as a form of domestic violence. There is also a legal duty for safeguarding boards (education, health etc) to make a referral to the police if they become aware of FGM. Hence there has been criminal neglect ( if not collusion) by the authorities of this horrific crime. Murder of small girls transcends race and religion so should grievous bodily harm in the form of FGM.

  • anyfool

    The only way of dealing with this barbarism is to jail the parents and while in jail strip them of citizenship, remove any assets as compensation for the child, then deport these animals back from where they came or originated.

  • Erin

    As much as I agree with the general thrust of this article, that ain’t what intersectionality is. Intersectionality is simply recognising that people are complex, that we face prejudice and experience privilege along different axes, and taking that into account. For example, I’m white, so I’m not a target of racism, but I face prejudice and bigotry as a queer woman.

    • http://danahsparkle.tumblr.com/ danah sparkle

      ^ this

    • Alexsandr

      whites are targets of racism from other ethnic groups. and non-white on non-white racism exists too.

    • Ian Walker

      Assuming that the background of the speaker has any bearing on the speech is an a priori, ad hominem fallacy, and should be instantly rejected by anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty.

      Admittedly, that probably doesn’t cover many socialists.

    • crosscop

      “For example, I’m white, so I’m not a target of racism…”

      White people are the victims in most “racist” incidents.

      http://violenceagainstwhites.wordpress.com/statistics/

      • http://www.pearshapedcomedy.com Anthony Miller

        One might have some time for Violence against Whites if they didn’t plug the National Front on their website and other far right organisations. I confronted them about this quite openly and they said (to be fair to them quite openly) that they just “didn’t share my morality”. In other words they’re white separatists. If you view all anti-white crimes as one of course you will get a distorted picture – just as distorted picture as if (like Intersectionalists) you believe that black people cant be racist. Some of these people who say that only white people can be racist should try living in a multi-racial relationship. Those of us who do we’re the people the Intersectionalists really hate because, of course, we’re an obstacle to their narrative. The Irony is that under the veil of “tolerance” Intersectionality gives people like VAW a platorm from which to incite racism but inciting racism amongst the people at the bottom. And I think that’s the point of it. Honestly it’s like something out of Burmese Days

        • Ridcully

          “Some of those people who say that only white people can be racist should try living in a multi-racial relationship.”
          I can well believe it. A (white) female friend I did my nurse training with ended up in a relationship and subsequently married a muslim doctor. The abuse she received from the rest of his family was just horrific.

          • pp22pp

            She married a Muslim? What a twit!

            • Ridcully

              To be fair, he was actually a nice bloke. His family on the other hand…

  • The_greyhound

    “the Guardian has run the most forceful campaign against FGM. This is of course laudable”

    I think the writer meant “laughable”.

    It’s the Guardian with its complex of dishonesties, hypocrisies, and bare-faced lies when it comes to the importation of third-world peasants that is very close to the rotten core of this rotten issue.

    In a sane world immigrants would be told to fit in or fvck off, and there would be an ongoing process to make sure they adhered to our ways. But the inadequates and freaks of the Grauniad’s persuasion wouldn’t countenance that. So now every sort of stone-age barbarity befouls this country. But this is a wimmin’s issue, so the stinking Guardian will make some sort of a gesture. But make no mistake – if it were the boys’ genitals that were being filleted the Graun would still be making excuses for our uninvited and unwanted guests.

    • Alexsandr

      boys genitals are mutilated. its called circumcision. and its as barbaric as FGM.

      • global city

        You should check the actual details as the writer suggests.

        If you cut off a boys glans as well as the foreskin, sew what’s left to his perineum then expect them to have normal sexual and functional ability, with the occasional bowling ball forced up it then you may be able to compare the two procedures.

        • Alexsandr

          without being to graphic, I am aware that circumcision does not remove the sensitive bits that FGM does. But it still involves cutting a baby for no reason, and that person has no choice. So for that reason I think its wrong.

          • global city

            I also think that circumcision is wrong, I was criticising the assertion that FGM and circumcision are as harmful, damaging and barbaric as each other.

            I hate seeing parents smack their kids, especially when done hard enough to leave a mark, but I would not go to the police of suggest that they are as bad as one who had regularly broke bones.

            • glurk

              The two are different. Of course we can see that. However, for whatever reason, and a circumcised friend was circumcised for ‘hygiene’ reasons, what ever that means to a small child, both circumcision and FGM (how comfortably neutral that sounds)are both vile and remove rights over our own bodies and minds. Both are unbelievably gross in concept and MUST be prosecuted unless it is clear that the subject gives permission after reaching adulthood and preferably after legal application is made . FGM Is not something that is advertised as a jolly occasion, all welcome. It is done in secret. Do not drive it further underground.

          • mohdanga

            Can we stop with the ‘circumcision is barbaric and mutilation’ and comparing it to FGM nonsense. My friends and myself have been ‘mutilated’ by this procedure and none of has complained about decreased sexual function, pleasure, etc. There are many things which babies have no choice in (vaccinations being one) that are done for their good.
            But we know, because Muslims engage in FGM the white guilt, liberal lefties must self flaggelate with the supposed crime of circumcision in order to perpetuate the ‘all cultures are equal’ cr*p which they use to justify multicultural stupidity.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Yes, that is your right, but you didn’t content yourself with saying that. You said it was as bad. It isn’t and now you’re doing a Harriet Harman.

      • zakisbak

        it is not.

      • Fergus Pickering

        No it isn’t. Don’t be silly.

    • zakisbak

      The vile groaniad’s darling Begg is under arrest for terrorism.

  • Daniel Maris

    Experience in other countries shows that targeted regular medical examinations and prosecution of parents is the only thing that will have any effect.

  • Daniel Maris

    But the strange thing is if we asked Laura if she saw anything wrong with mass immigration , she’d probably say no.

    It is mass immigration which has introduced this and other practices – like clan based electoral fraud – into this country…

    • Hello

      Oh, leave it out Dan!

      • Daniel Maris

        I’ll “leave it out” perhaps when we actually have some prosecutions on FGM. So far there have been none.

        • Hello

          Apparently it’s expected in the coming weeks!

          • Alexsandr

            yes.
            1
            not exactly an avalanche is it?

            • mohdanga

              Compared to the tsunami of police arrests when ‘offensive’ twitter comments are made about Mandela, a black football player, a shopkeeper selling T-shirts saying “Fit in or leave” or a karaoke singer singing Kung Fu Fighting which was found offensive by the usual minority suspects. Good to see the plods have got their priorities straight….

    • Daniel

      I don’t think Laura’s objection is that FGM is practised in this country, it’s that it’s practised at all. Mass immigration means that we have a chance to do something about it that we wouldn’t otherwise have – to make the patch of the planet we control a place that women can escape to. That, I would say, is a good thing.

      • zakisbak

        There’s millions of women suffering from it.
        We should take them all?
        Why?
        It is largely practiced and supported by women.

        • Daniel

          It is faulty logic to suggest that the fact we cannot practically take them all means we should not take any specific individual. We should not be cruel to everyone simply because we cannot be kind to everyone. As for why we should be kind, that is a deeper philosophical question than can be adequately discussed here, but I assume as my premise that we agree that kindness is a virtue.

          I don’t know if it is largely practised and supported by women, but I do not see the relevance if it is. The fact that one person has been violated does not give them the right to violate another person.

          • pp22pp

            If we had preserved our national home for our own nation, we could have taken some on humanitarian grounds. It’s now a question of removing any who are here illegally and taking NO more. I hadn’t noted immigrant women casting off the veil. This will not end well.

            Multiculturalism and diversity are stupid and self-defeating. They were thought up by Marxists who hoped they would weaken the West and prepare the way for their ideology.

            They didn’t prepare the way for Marx, they prepared it for Mohammed. Just how stupid is it possible to be!

      • mohdanga

        30 years, tens of thousands of cases, health authorities aware of the procedure and not one conviction….doesn’t sound like ‘we’re doing something about it’!! Politicians are afraid of upsetting the ‘Muslim community’ so nothing will be done.
        Importing millions of unassimilating third worlders to practice their barbarism in the West on the off chance that we might prevent FGM (which it won’t be, it’s not in the interests of ‘community cohesion’) is one of doziest excuses yet for wiping out the indigenous British population.

        • Andrea Holland

          Ah the muslim slur again – a gentle reminder FGM is NOT exclusively or even particularly an Islamic practice…so its nothing to do with the Muslim community you generalise about. Egypt is one of the few ‘Muslim’ countries where FGM is practiced – it occurs mostly ‘Christian’ African countries. People in countries like Morocco, Iran and Tunisia are as horrified as us by FGM – it is unnatural after all – it is haram; messing with the body God gave us – So please don’t confuse faith and culture!

          • mohdanga

            Nothing to do with Muslims??? Ha, ha, the laugher of the day!! Something like 90% of Egyptian women have been subjected to it….but Egypt isn’t ‘Muslim’, right?
            Here’s the quote from the link you provided: “In six of the countries where FGC is practiced — Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal, Benin, and Ghana — Muslim population groups are more likely to practice FGC than Christian groups. In Nigeria, Tanzania, and Niger, though, the prevalence is greater among Christian groups.” So, contrary to your assertion that “it occurs mostly in ‘Christian’ countries it would seem Muslims practice it as much if not more.
            There’s nothing in the Koran about women wearing a burqua/niquab either…..which has obviously stopped Muslim men from demanding their women do so.
            A couple of other quotes from the article showing it has nothing to do with Islam:
            “Some of the most important research in recent years has been the work done with Islamic scholars to change the perception that FGC is required by the Koran, the Muslim holy book. ”
            “Some communities believe that in order to be good Muslims, parents must have their daughters cut.”

          • Daniel Maris

            Wow! you’re an Imam are you? Please forgive me!!!

            Somehow I got misled by the following:

            Nuh Hah Mim Keller’s Translation
            Arabic Original

            e4.3 Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women.
            For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women,
            removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as
            some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not
            obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the
            husband.)”

  • Portendorfer

    Do we really have to be subject to this Guardian tripe on Speccie

  • Mowords

    I’m fear the Spectator has decided that bashing the concept of intersectionality is its new
    favourite past time.

    Of course, every right minded person should do everything to highlight and stop the
    grotesque custom of FGM.

    To suggest that those who have realised campaigning on single issues while we all live in a multi-issue world has limitations are in some way saying ” you can only discuss and campaign on issues that you have direct experience of” is deliberately missing the point.

    I agree the term intersectionality is ugly and while we’re at it, I think this probably serves to exclude some of those without a sociology doctorate from the debate.

    I’ve never heard anyone suggest that you can only talk about a particular form of
    discrimination or oppression if you have been personally affected by it.

    This would make it wrong for me to talk about homophobia, sexism, Islamaphobia or
    any of the other forms of oppression that blight our society.

    All the term means is that you/we should try to look beyond our own (often privileged) experiences when talking about issues that impact on others.

    If I talk about the plight of gay people fleeing the homophobic regime in Uganda, I should also consider the racism that those same people might encounter when dealing with the British immigration system.

    It really isn’t that difficult, surely someone at Spectator towers has the
    intellectual ability to work this out.

    • Reluctant Mlungu

      So you can authoritatively say that people “fleeing” Uganda regularly experience racism “when dealing with the British immigration system”? Didn’t Britain grant refuge to tens of thousands when Amin came to power, and no doubt many, many thousands since?

      • Mowords

        That wasn’t my point. I was saying that focusing on just one form of oppression doesn’t give a realistic account of the real world. I used Uganda as a timely example.

        • Davidh

          Maybe you should think of a different “timely example”, then. Because suggesting that the British immigration system may be racist is like suggesting the selection committee for a womens’ football team might be sexist. So OK, race and nationality are not the same but if I’m not given some kind of preference trying to get into my own country over someone who looks like a Ugandan refugee then something is wrong.

          And on the wider point, you are still talking b*ll*cks. Of course it’s possible to judge the rights and wrongs of a particular issue without necessarily discussing every other issue as well. The search for a unified theory continues but in the meantime certain branches of science are quite useful by themselves.

          • Mowords

            Ok, to follow your own scientific analogy, It’s possible ‘ to judge the rights and wrongs…’ but if you are looking for a more holistic view, which works in the real world, you should consider all of the inputs.

        • Reluctant Mlungu

          You’ve just let slip that, in your world-view, everyone whose life is not going 100% swimmingly MUST be suffering from AT LEAST one form of “oppression”.

          • Mowords

            No, what I’ve just let slip is that people facing homophobia are being oppressed and people facing racism are being oppressed. Sometimes they are the same people.

            • Davidh

              Sometimes it’s the same people being oppressed. Often it’s the same people doing the oppressing. Clearly there are some nasty folks out there.

              • Mowords

                Absolutely. This isn’t about apportioning blame, it’s about working out how best to think about and comment on issues. (Or at least that’s what I consider to be the point of sociological theories.)

                • Davidh

                  Well there’s where we start to differ. I think it IS about apportioning blame. Those nasty folks should be blamed and locked up if they are nasty enough. And mutilating young girls is certainly nasty enough. If your method of thinking about and commenting on issues is getting in the way of apportioning blame and punishing child abusers then it’s not a good method.

                • Mowords

                  Ah, I was talking about intersectionality not being about blame. It’s about better understanding the situation. Once there is better understanding then we are in a better place to take action. Even when it comes to ‘cultural practices’ like FGM, honour killings or even some of ‘our’ cultural practices like sexualising children, leaving the state to deal with our elders, wasting food or binge drinking.

    • Donafugata

      Intersectionality is a way of silencing opposition.

      By its definition, the imam has no say in the matter because he’s not female, I don’t think that would wash.

      Islamic barbarism has no place in this country.

    • mohdanga

      “If I talk about the plight of gay people fleeing the homophobic regime in Uganda, I should also consider the racism that those same people might encounter when dealing with the British immigration system.”
      Then they should seek refuge in some more enlightened country like Saudi Arabia. Honestly, even when the West accepts refugees it’s still pilloried. Let the rest of the world solve the problem.

      • Mowords

        It’s like you stepped up simply to make my point for me. Thanks.
        I wasn’t talking about what these people should or shouldn’t do, I was talking about how one might comment on their plight. If there was any doubt that they may face issues related to their race and not their sexuality, you’ve just demonstrated that I was right.

        • mohdanga

          And you assumed that any non-white coming to Britain would be subject to racism. And if not racism then it would be something else. It’s all part of whitey’s privilege. Funny how you assign the ‘racist’ tag to me. Carry on.

  • ButcombeMan

    “I, as a white, middle-class woman, stand up to say that this custom,
    predominantly practiced by African or Middle Eastern people, is wrong, I
    risk coming across as culturally elitist”.

    No you emphatically do not, even conceding that much shows how you have been mind controlled. Utterly pathetic. Here, in this organ, of all places.

    It is wrong, end of. It should not happen in the UK.

    • Alexsandr

      I am a white middle class man. I find this practice totally repugnant and it should be stamped out vigorously in any civilised country. It has no place in the UK. It is rightly illegal and all the agencies should be focused on bringing as many prosecutions as possible.

      I am concerned that in the article that there are difficulties bringing prosecutions in the UK for mutilation done abroad. I hope someone who knows the law expands on this here, because this needs addressing urgently..

      • scampy1

        Where is the foul mouthed low class scouser lawyer Cherie Blair on this subject?

    • Peter L

      Well said that man – it’s wrong, end of.

      Is it “culturally elitist” for me to condemn paedophilia, slavery
      or mass murder even though I’ve no experience of any of them, thank God?

    • mohdanga

      “I, as a white, middle-class woman, stand up to say that this custom,
      predominantly practiced by African or Middle Eastern people, is wrong, I
      risk coming across as culturally elitist”.

      And yet non-whites pass judgement on whites all the time and no one accuses them of cultural elitism. Funny that….but then again, only whites are racist and all cultures are equal (which is why non-whites flood into white countries).

    • MikeF

      “If this piece seems bigoted, so be it.”
      Exactly the same for this pathetic piece of writing.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Oh bollocks! You can talk about it. I can talk about it. We know it is wrong.We know it has to be stopped. We know that prison is the way to do it. Don’t we?

    • Ron Todd

      Well prison is one way for any men involved I am thinking more of an eye for an eye

      • Fergus Pickering

        Chop their balls off! Well, it has its points.

      • crosscop

        Men? It’s the women who do it.

        • Ron Todd

          Yes because it is what the men want. If the men said no the woman would not do it. If the men did not insist on marrying women who had been cut the women would not do it. Are there no male doctors in this country doing it?

          • crosscop

            “because it is what the men want.”

            It’s because it is what Islam wants.

            http://spa.qibla.com/issue_view.asp

            Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, the Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar, the oldest and most prestigious university in the lands of Islam says female circumcision is “a laudable practice that does honor to women.”
            Muslims cannot go against this – because their “prophet” himself recommended it.

            • Andrea Holland

              Just because one country or one Sheikh says FGM is a laudable practice does NOT mean it is an Islamic practice. Egypt is one of the few ‘Muslim’ countries where FGM is practiced – it occurs mostly ‘Christian’ African countries. most people in countries like Morocco, Iran and Tunisia are repelled by the notion of FGM – it is unnatural after all – and thus is haram; messing with the body God gave us – What ever some Egyptian Sheik says, please don’t confuse faith and culture!

              • crosscop

                Mohammad himself recommended it – just as long as the cut was “not too much.”

                ‘Abu al- Malih ibn `Usama’s father relates that the Prophet said: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.” Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75; Abu Dawud, Adab 167.’

                ‘Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.’ Abu Dawud 41:5251.

                “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris (this is called Hufaad).” Reliance of the Traveller.

                BTW – Male Genital Mutilation is also “un-natural after all; messing about with the body God gave us” – but all Muslim males are mutilated in this way. And this is not just “some Egyptian Sheik” either. If Sunni Islam had a pope – he’d be it.

              • LucyJones

                “Egypt is one of the few ‘Muslim’ countries where FGM is practiced ”
                Really? What about Somalia (98% prevalence), Guinea (96 percent), Djibouti (93 percent), Egypt (91 percent), Mali (89 percent), Sierra Leone (88 percent), Sudan (88 percent), Gambia (76 percent), Mauritania (69 percent), and Guinea-Bissau (50 percent). All countries where Islam is the main or dominant religion.

            • Fergus Pickering

              What the men want and what Islam wants is the same. Islam is a religion for men.

              • crosscop

                That’s as may be – but why then are women the vast majority of converts to Islam?

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Because they are stupid.

    • marcwilson

      Prison if they do it here (or plan to), plus removal of the child from their care.
      If they take a child abroad to do it, they should not be allowed back.

  • English_Woman

    I’m also not allowed to say, its not an English problem, so I’m not interested. Its a cultural problem and should be dealt with accordingly.

    • Noa

      Then let me say it for you. It’s a muslim and pagan problem, caused and imported here by primative third world immigrants. Who were in term primarlly imported by an evil labour government entirely indifferent to the number of severed clitorises which would litter the kitchen floors of England’s post industrial slums.

      • English_Woman

        When the UK Government, without the consent of the people, decided to invite millions of immigrants to our shores, it was an act of treason. The consequences of which, we are not only expected to be happy with, but enthusiastically participate in. We have lost our freedom of speech and we live in a society dominated by the offended. FGM is not my problem, neither are the myriad of medieval practices that these people have so kindly introduced to our nice civilised country. However, I DO expect these people to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It should be made quite clear, that if you come to Britain, YOU are expected to integrate, not the other way around.

        • mohdanga

          Now, now, you seem to be missing all the ‘vibrant enrichment’ that these cultures offer Britain….better trot down to the local sensitivity training course.

  • global city

    The ‘Progressive’ Left are the most despicable and reactionary force in the UK… and it infests the establishment.

    The ‘Check your privilege’ meme is just the latest and laziest (as well as being most totalitarian) attempt to frame all debates within the parameters these vile people chose.

    Every time it crops up it should be violently rejected, OR, use it against them, as the most vociferous stupid lefties are mostly from comfortable middle class households who have never experienced anything, but have ‘views’ on everything.

    Next time they go on about the miners strike or the bedroom tax just tell them to f**k off and check their privilege.

    They won’t like it, but won’t be able to use it to quieten you.

    • Ian Walker

      I’m very tempted to use it next time someone wants to bang on about animal rights. Only those with direct experience of being a vivisectioned rabbit or culled badger can have a view…

      • global city

        Indeed!

    • helicoil

      I’ll have to remember that as my answer to “check your priv” would probably be “no need, I have root”

  • Ron Todd

    By that standard as a man I would have no right to comment at all.

    If something is that wrong it is going to be wrong whatever culture does it. i am of course stretching the meaning of the word ‘culture’ to breaking point.

    Our ruling establishment should be ashamed that they have not yet brought any prosecutions. They should also be ashamed that they have let so many people with so many vile practices into this country. If the lefts myth of multicultural integration had any truth wouldn’t these customs die out in this country?

    • Makroon

      But where do you stand on MGM ?

  • Carl Reichenbach

    Absolutely. It’s despicable.

  • la catholic state

    As a Catholic mother….I will not allow any teacher to talk to my children about this. It doesn’t affect my children…and the topic is excrutiating and not one I want placed in front of my children.
    By all means let adults talk about it among themselves if they want to…..but keep children out of it.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Well, luvvie, some children are right in it.

      • la catholic state

        So they are. But they cannot stop the procedure. Only their parents can. So target the parents. It’s not rocket science.

        • Alexsandr

          you can discuss it with vulnerable girls so they are aware it is wrong. Only then have you a chance of detecting it.

          • Ooh!MePurse!

            Absolutely. Commonsense.

          • la catholic state

            Well you can’t discuss it with my daughters! Neither can anybody else.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Well they can. What are you going to do with your daughters? Lock them up. If they are over ten they will know about it already. Just as they will know about abortion, homosexuality, paedophile priests and cardinals….

              • la catholic state

                I’m going to call the police! And anyone caught talking to them about any thing intimate will be reported.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Other ten-year-olds?

                • Ridcully

                  This is a wind-up right? If not, then the words “lie-down” and “darkened room” spring to mind.

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