Religion News Service
NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) International rights groups, churches and activists are escalating campaigns against female genital mutilation now that a new practice has emerged in which girls are checking into hospitals to have the procedure.
In what being referred to as the medicalization of FGM, doctors, nurses and other health practitioners are secretly performing the procedures at the request of families.
“Like abortion, they are performing FGM for the money in hospitals and other places,” said the Rev. Richard Nyangoto, a Roman Catholic priest in Kisii County, an area in the country’s southwest where FGM is widely practiced.
“Taking it to hospital does not make it right,” added Nyangoto. “It’s evil.”
Health care providers now perform up to 18 percent of FGM cases and the trend is growing, according to the World Health Organization. . . [Full Text]
Sheikh Abduwahab Mursal, described in a Daily Nation report as a “top religious leader” in Kenya, is reported to have said that “it [is] a taboo in the Islamic faith for a woman to be touched by or discuss sexuality with a man even if he is a medical practitioner.” The comment appears in a news story about Sheikh Mursal’s efforts to convince Muslims in Kenya to embrace “modern family planning” practices. [Daily Nation]. The Sheik is secretary of the Wajir branch of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya.
This kind of assertion has created an impression in western countries that Muslim physicians may not examine patients of the opposite sex, an impression that is being used to justify suppression of freedom of conscience among health care workers, and which tends to fuel prejudice against Muslim medical and nursing students and physicians. If the Sheikh’s statement has been accurately reported, it is certainly at odds with practice in even the most conservative Islamic countries.