Circumcised girls have less marriage
chance in Iraqi Kurdistan
August 3, 2010
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
“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
“Religiously it is not
proper to ask a girl about circumcision before
asking for her hand,” said Mullah Dilshad Galali, an
Safeen Ahmed, 30, takes a moderate view about
circumcision believing that love is more than just
“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
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
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
Runak Faraj Rahim, journalist and researcher in
the reason why men are not eager to marry
circumcised girls is the increasing awareness in
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
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