Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Female circumcision undergone by ‘silent majority’ in Indonesia

Ninety-six percent of Indonesian families report that their daughters undergo some form of circumcision by the age of 14, The New York Times reported on Sunday. In Indonesia, the Assalaam Foundation, an Islamic educational and social-services organization, arranges an annual mass circumcision during the lunar month marking the birth of the prophet Mohammed.

According to Lukman Hakim, the foundation’s chairman of social services, there are three “benefits” to circumcising girls. “One, it will stabilize her libido,” he said through an interpreter. “Two, it will make a woman look more beautiful in the eyes of her husband. And three, it will balance her psychology.”

Female genital mutilation is a practice widely condemned by the international community, but in Indonesia the debate over its continuation is still in the early stages. “The Ministry of Health has issued a decree forbidding medical personnel to practice it,” says the article, “but the decree which has yet to be backed by legislation does not affect traditional circumcisers and birth attendants, who are thought to do most female circumcisions. Many agree that a full ban is unlikely without strong support from the country’s religious leaders. According to the Population Council study, many Indonesians view circumcision for boys and girls as a religious duty.”

Whereas the circumcision of boys has been shown to offer some health benefits, such as a reduced risk of infection, “there is absolutely no medical value in circumcising girls,” said Laura Guarenti, an obstetrician and the World Health Organization’s medical officer for child and maternal health in Jakarta. “It is 100 percent the wrong thing to be doing.”

For the full article, click here.


Post a Comment

<< Home