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Female Genital Mutilation and the Press
by Gary Fouse
Almost two weeks ago, we learned that a Muslim doctor from India has been federally charged for performing female genital mutilation on little girls as young as 7. In addition, another doctor has been charged for allowing his clinic to be used for the operations, and his wife has been charged for assisting in the procedures. Yet, for the most part, our mainstream news media has been silent on the story.
In addition, we learn that the once respected New York Times has made the editorial decision not to use the very term, female genital mutilation, because it is too culturally charged and implies a gulf between societies that condemn the practice and those that perform it.
We already knew that in Europe, these procedures were being carried out behind closed doors in certain immigrant communities and that other girls from these communities were being sent to their families' countries of origin for the procedure. We already knew that hundreds of thousands of immigrant girls in the US were at risk of this happening to them. But now, finally, we have a Justice Department willing to prosecute this crime which is on the federal books (and those of 24 states as well). And this is the same Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions that liberals claim will be running roughshod over civil rights!
But where is the news media?
The answer is fairly simple. The reason they don't want to run with this sordid story is because FMG is a practice largely carried out by many Muslim families. To be fair, not all Muslim families believe in this procedure, and other (non-Muslim) cultures practice it as well in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. For the mainstream media, however, to write about this story is perceived as piling on immigrants and particularly Muslims. According to this study by the Population Reference Bureau, the rate of FMG in Somalia is 98%! This is the country that has "contributed" millions of refugees to Europe and the US and is the country of family origin of the two known victims in the Michigan story above. Somali apostate from Islam and human rights activist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is herself a victim of this practice.
But what a disservice being done to the little girls in America who one way or another, are being subjected to this barbaric practice, which has no place in our society. This means that FMG remains in the shadows. Many Americans have never even heard of the practice. How can you speak out and demand your political leaders take action when you don't even know about it? Thus, thousands, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of young girls in this country could be subjected to FMG because the media and lawmakers allow it to live in the shadows. Thus, certain girls in our country are denied the basic human rights and legal protections that our daughters enjoy. It is estimated that more than half a million girls in our country are at risk of undergoing this procedure.
When was it no longer a principle that immigrants accept American laws and values as the price of settling in this country? When was it no longer one of our beliefs that barbaric practices that existed in the "old country" were not acceptable here?
The defendants in the Michigan case are presumed innocent until convicted, but if convicted, it is hoped that our justice system will send a strong message that this practice will not be tolerated. Not in our country. Not ever.
(Hopefully, the media will cover the trial.)