Girl(fairly senior in an NGO here): FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is very common around these countries because there are a lot of Muslims here.

Me: ? What does Muslim have to do with it?

Girl: The Muslim tribes say they perfrom FGM because of their religion.

Me: Just ‘cuz they say something, doesn’t make it true… don’t a lot of the Christian tribes perform FGM too? Girl: I think so, but they do it because of cultural influences.

Me: ?? ok, let me get this straight… when the Christian tribes perform FGM, it is because of their cultural traditions, but when Muslim tribes perform FGM it is blamed on their religion? even though Islam came here almost 700 years after Christianity?

Girl: Well the areas that FGM is performed has high amounts of Muslims.

Me: so does Turkey… glad to see you know WTF you’re talking about while working in these areas … jackass (ok, i only thought the last word..)

< --- end of conversation --->

According to WHO:

Female genital mutilation (FGM), often referred to as ‘female circumcision’, comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons.

Also from WHO site:

religious reasons: Some Muslim communities, however, practise FGM in the belief that it is demanded by the Islamic faith. The practice, however, predates Islam.

FGM is performed predominately within African states – primarily within the subSaharan regions and is not a prevailant custom in other Muslim countries leading to the reasoning that FGM has roots somewhere else.

What’s interesting is that the locals I’ve spoken to here don’t seem to blame it on Christianity or Islam but simply refer to it as something ‘those tribal people do’.  The whole Islam blame thing seems to be in the expat community so prob stems from some false literature or simply stupid peoples…  just one more thing that they wanna blame on muslims…

Muslim scholars have even denounced FGM explaining that Islam outlaws it.

Links:

WHO site

Wikipedia entry