Friday, November 26, 2004
Genital Mutilation 'On the Increase in Europe'. (Via LGF)
Young girls born in Europe to immigrant families from Africa are being subjected to ritual genital mutilation, and authorities are doing little to discourage it, a leading women’s rights activist warned.
Somalia-born supermodel and best-selling author Waris Dirie, who has campaigned to end the disfiguring practice she suffered at age five in her homeland, said yesterday that she estimates one in every three African families living in Europe is secretly carrying out the ritual on their daughters. No official figures exist.
The procedure – illegal in most European countries – is especially prevalent in Germany and the Netherlands, as well as in Austria, where an estimated 8,000 girls born into immigrant families have been affected, Dirie said.
“We don’t know who’s doing it and where,” because there are few initiatives to prevent it or to encourage doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and others to report suspected cases, Dirie said. An exception is France, where there is strong awareness and education, she said.
“What good is a law if no one is paying attention?” Dirie told reporters in Austria, where she was being honoured yesterday by a Roman Catholic men’s movement for her efforts to stop the practice.
Islamic religious leaders are telling Europe’s Muslim Africans that the prophets recommend the ancient ritual, which involves the removal of the clitoris, often with a dull blade and no anaesthesia, Dirie said.