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 Circumcised girls have less marriage chance in Iraqi Kurdistan

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Circumcised girls have less marriage chance in Iraqi Kurdistan  3.8.2010  

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August 3, 2010

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Muhammed Hassan, 22, is a single man who says one of the qualifications that his girlfriend has to have is that she has to have escaped circumcision, or female genital mutilation (FGM) (female circumcision), a phenomenon which Human Rights Watch says is widespread here in Iraqi Kurdistan.

“I will ask a girl about circumcision, if I want to marry her,” said Hassan, fearing circumcised ladies are not as sexually keen as uncircumcised ones.

In of one of the studies mentioned by HRW report published in June, of about 1,400 girls and women interviewed during 2007 and 2008, found that almost 73 percent of women 14 years and older said that at least a portion of their genitals had been removed.

Muslim scholars and Mullahs discourage people like Hassan to take circumcision conditional for not marrying a woman.                                

Circumcised girls have less marriage chance in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“Religiously it is not proper to ask a girl about circumcision before asking for her hand,” said Mullah Dilshad Galali, an Erbil-based Mullah.

Safeen Ahmed, 30, takes a moderate view about circumcision believing that love is more than just sex.

“I prefer to marry an uncircumcised woman. But circumcision will not prevent me from marrying the lady I want,” said Ahmed.

“There are other more important things needing to be taken into consideration when thinking about marriage”.

But indeed few of those interviewed by Rudaw had shared Ahmed’s view. Most of them considered circumcision a big deal urging the families to stop the harmful ritual.

Mullah Galali, a member of the Islamic Scholar’s Union of Kurdistan (ISUK), said “in Islam a boy is only allowed to look at the face, hands and feet of the girl who he is planning to ask for her hand.”

“It is not allowed for the boy to ask about circumcision of the girl.”

Abdul-Basit Farhadi, a judge and the official spokesman of the Judicial Council of Kurdistan, said that the perpetrators of the genital cutting of women are not published by the Iraqi Law.

“Circumcision is not addressed in the Iraqi Criminal Law nor is it in the Iraqi Personal Status Law. It is not considered a crime,” said Farhadi adding that FGM is not considered a reason for a man to abolish his marriage.

Two years ago a package was proposed to the Kurdistan Parliament to ban FGM, but failed to be passed. Some parliamentarians said they were too shy to even discuss the project.

Farhadi believes that since no girl is willing to be circumcised, men should not take genital mutilation problematic. “It is a crime to abolish marriage over the issue of circumcision,” he said.

Following the HRW report, the ISUK issued a fatwa advising parents that FGM was an obligation in religion.

Runak Faraj Rahim, journalist and researcher in women’s affairs,
www.ekurd.netsaid the reason why men are not eager to marry circumcised girls is the increasing awareness in Kurdish society.

However, she said marrying a girl gone under the genital cutting would not be a problem for guys as it is for girls.

“Guys can still get the pleasure they want to. It is the lady who suffers the lack of pleasure from the sexual intercourse.”
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