|Noam Sandweiss-Back and Molly Bangs
Montclair High School Delegation
Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Committee (SocHum): Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is not part of our modern day culture, and is a rarity in our country. FGM is primarily a cultural and regional practice stretching across Equatorial Africa, and reaching as far as the Arabian Peninsula. Afghanistan’s location, above Pakistan, has isolated our country from the mutilation practices found further south
We are among other Islamic nations that do not practice FGM. In Saudi Arabia FGM is rarely practiced, while in Egypt FGM is formally prohibited. In both those countries FGM is seen through a more Western perspective, demonstrated by Egypt’s understanding that female genital mutilation is not ethical. However, for us, in Afghanistan, FGM is not primarily questioned because of ethics, rather, there has never been a national history relative to the practice.
When we consider female genital mutilation, we do not see it as a religious practice. As a deeply religious and devout Islamic nation, our citizens would practice FGM if they thought it was mandated by the Qu’ran. As a people, we are impartial to the practice. We do not directly oppose FGM, but also do not attack the practice.
Although FGM is not found in Afghanistan, many of our women still face extraordinary prejudice and often encounter extreme violence. The poor treatment of Afghan women primarily stems from the Taliban takeover in 1996.
The Taliban regime was very conservative and strict, particularly toward women. Our women lost their jobs and were forced to spend most of their time inside. Women had to have male escorts when walking the streets, and at all times, had to wear the traditional, full body covering, known as the burqua. Although female genital mutilation was not included in Taliban ideology, their view of women as subservient to males very closely matched those of the perpetrators of FGM.