A Story of HOPE For Abdul!

The Women Of The Nile With No Choice! Female Circumcision

pyramids_zoom After reading the heading to my story many of you may be taken aback in seeing the words "Female Circumcision."  And I understand that what I'm about to share will move many greatly to read.  Understand that its not about pointing the finger at one religious group or another that is the focus.  But to expose by drawing attention to a form of child abuse practiced today against innocent female children within certain cultures around the world.

Over the past three years, as I traveled throughout Africa as an advocate for orphans and women with AIDS.  Stories of female circumcision would crop up from organizations working in area's where it was practiced.  During those times, it was a faint voice behind the issues I was focusing on.  It wouldn't be however, until my trip to Egypt that God would bring the ritual to my attention by way of what I saw upon the women in Cairo.  Something I had never felt nor seen before in a Muslim Country.

Like a heavy cloak of darkness I could not fully understand, for it was different from the oppression I've seen in other countries.  As my eyes began to search the faces of the women I'd pass in the market, or street, in hopes of seeing a sign to their spiritual heaviness.  Faces void of human emotion, who seemed to have embraced a spirit of conformity to be able to exist.

For I've been in Islamic countries but never had I seen the oppression upon women like I did in Egypt. Why?  In a force I could not deny that compelled me to find out what it was.

Being in Egypt I immediately rallied the cause to an ancient curse from the Nile or the worship of Icon gods throughout Egypt's history. But know matter how hard I tried to surmise the answer, I knew in my heart it was something far worse than I could ever imagine.image14

With limited internet access my search for answers would have to wait until I returned home.  Something I wasted no time doing, as I knew God was showing me something that grieved His heart too to see.

So as I delved into my research I prayed for the Holy Spirit to show me what it was that oppressed the women in Egypt, and God did.  In something that made sense, and fit perfectly to the pain I saw on the faces of the countless women and female children in Cairo.

Finding a report that was published by Mohamed Badawi.  Who presented it at the First International Symposium on Circumcision, in Anaheim CA, March 1-2, 1989.

Who confirmed an oppression upon the women within the Egyptian culture from a study done in 1985, on a group of 350 Egyptian women over a period of two years in Cairo.  A report that recorded field observations of female genital mutilations, and the fertility and psychological trauma it causes.

In this study, a majority of women reported being subjected, at least once, to genital mutilations.  Almost 8 out of 10 (81.6%) Egyptian women reported being subjected to genital mutilations.  A percentage that is said to have increased today to over 92%.

The majority of children (77.4%) subjected to genital mutilations were never informed as to what they were being subjected to, let alone given the opportunity to give informed consent.

The women reported that they were deceived, assaulted, chased and violently immobilized to be forced to have their genitals mutilated.  The remaining percentage of women (22.6%)  reported that they were deceived, misinformed, and misled as to the imminent danger of physical violence and genital mutilation.  Their "consent" was not "informed" in any legal sense of the word, said Badawi.

Mothers are directly responsible for arranging the genital mutilation of their daughters.  However, without a male authority, mothers are likely to have second thoughts about subjecting their daughters to genital mutilation.  Also, upon my observations within the women populace in Cairo there seems to be a protection from this abuse in families where mothers are financially independent.  In those situations the female children are able to live without fear as long as the mother via her wealth, can protect her children from genital mutilation abuse.

Within that picture we see how money plays a powerful role that can protect women and children.  Protection that should be granted to every woman and child regardless, if they are poor or wealthy.  The fact that it does not, reveals a cultural fueled by greed against poor females unable to financially help themselves.

Seeing this moves me to think of Christ, in the Judeo Christian values America was built upon, and the reason why God came to this earth. ( Luke 4:18) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, (Jesus) because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, ..)   I say...."Help them Lord!"

Religious beliefs are a strong predisposing factor for female genital mutilations.  A large  percentage of women whose genitals are mutilated are affiliated with the Islamic religion despite the fact that female genital mutilation is not prescribed by the Islamic religion.  And if this is true, which it is, then why are they doing it today?

With that question gives way to the pre-Islamic religious practice with its roots in the officially banned African faiths and practices which dominated Egypt for thousands of years in pre-historic times.  By understanding African religions and faith practices many of the traditional religious behaviors of "monotheistic" Egyptians become meaningful.  For example, women located in the Southern regions of Egypt (upper Egypt which is closer to African cultures), whether Muslim or Coptic, are at a higher risk for genital mutilations than are Muslim or Coptic women located in the Northern or coastal regions of the country.

In sub-Saharan Africa, female circumcision is a tribal custom that occurs across a broad spectrum of relations and cultures in more than 20 countries.  Egypt's government and official media largely ignored the subject until 1994, when CNN broadcast footage of a screaming 10-year-old Egyptian girl undergoing  the procedure at the hands of a Cairo barber. 

After initially accusing the network of trying to embarrass Egypt in front of foreign guests then in Cairo for a U.N. conference on population, the government promised action and soon ran into opposition from Egypt'sAl-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi senior religious figure and the sheik of Cairo's Al Azhar,  who warned "girls who are not circumcised when young have a sharp temperament and bad habits."  

Finally, there is no clear and definite statement in the Koran, that supports the practice of female genital mutilations per Mr. Badawi's study. Which brings the question once again...."Why are they mutilating their women and children still?"

Many believe its to control women, by degrading them to a life of pain and servitude that keeps them bridled and oppressed.  Resolving to a life to only exist each day and one that keeps them shut off from the world.  Moving through lifeMIDEAST DEBATING THE VEIL despite her restrictions, both physically and spiritually.  Living in a loveless relationship that is void of any comfort, compassion or warmth.

It is this hopelessness that I saw during my time in Egypt.  And as interesting as it was to tour the Pyramids and museum in Cairo.  What will last the most from my visit will be the pain that I saw upon the faces of innocent children and their mothers.

What can be done to bring an end to female genital mutilation in Egypt and other countries?  It can not be by force, but by exposing it and education.

Educational programs that are directed to Egyptian families; the agents that perform the genital mutilations (midwives, doctors, barbers); the social-political and religious leaders on the harmful and devastating effects that these procedures have upon children and women.  For men need to understand that when God gives them a wife, he does not do so for them to mutilate them in order to remove bad habits, or to gain control.  For love grows in an atmosphere of freedom, and in a culture that prays all day for freedom from their enemies should be the first to extend the human hand to love others. 

For what better way than to start in the privacy of their own homes?  To say NO! In making the choices that protect women rather than mutilate them and cause pain.  To instead, extend mercy and compassion to the women in their lives.  Like Christ did for those who would follow Him and not the world.  As God extended mercy and compassion in its highest form, so that we can see the power of a love which extends to many the gift of life, and the freedom to live it in peace and love.  For true love does not steal, kill, nor destroy the quality of another human life, and those who do follow man, and not God.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
~ John 10:10

To find out more in how you can help to stop this cruel ritual go to:http://www.npwj.org/FGM/Overview.html