Here’s an article on the religious tradition of genital mutilation. RJ Eskew argues that genital mutilation, among other forms of brutality, are derived from tribal practices and are not tied to religion. My argument would be that upon examining the communities where genital mutilation and other forms of ceremonial abuse, religion is generally the common denominator. Religious leaders are the ones that lead the ceremonies and are the ones that preach the abuse. In looking at male circumcision, something that hits a little closer to home for many of us, we can draw parallels to the tradition/religious aspect of the practice, but that’s a can of worms for another post. Here is a quote from the story about genital mutilation in Egypt:
It’s a difficult mission. The practice is nearly universal in Egypt. A government survey released last year found that 96 percent of Egyptian women who’ve been married have undergone some sort of genital mutilation and that nearly 70 percent of schoolgirls expected to be cut by the time they turn 18.
…The reason is rooted in religion, tradition and politics dating to the time of the pharaohs. While the government of President Hosni Mubarak is trying to discourage the practice, the issue is so sensitive that the government hasn’t outlawed it. The closest it’s come is a 1996 order that forbids doctors from performing the procedure in public hospitals.