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Female Genital Mutilation, Islam and Leftist Silence –

by Jamie Glazov

Posted by Jamie Glazov on Oct 2nd, 2009 and filed under FrontPage. You
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Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a


specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of Canadian
Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of
The Hate America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left
Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror.
Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.

My recent NewsReal blog on Naomi Wolf and female genital mutilation (FGM) – also
posted at Frontpagemag.com and Jihadwatch.org — has triggered a heated debate in the
blogs’ comments sections on all three sites. The key arguments in these three sections
personify some of the Left’s key tactics in its romance with tyranny and terror. It is
crucial to shed light on these arguments in order to crystallize the maliciousness,
dishonesty and heartlessness which lie at the center of the leftist agenda. It also helps
strengthen our efforts to fight on behalf of tyranny’s victims, which, in this case, are the
hundreds of thousands of young girls who face the barbarity of female genital mutilation
yearly around the world.
The recent controversy surrounds a Frontpage interview I did with Ines Laufer, an anti-
FGM activist. Along with Lucy Mashua, a Kenyan victim of FGM, she is presently
leading a new campaign, sponsoredgirl.com, to protect girls from this barbarity.

In my NewsReal blog, I raised the question of whether Naomi Wolf, who postures as a
feminist concerned with women’s rights, will be at all interested in joining Laufer’s and
Mashua’s campaign. The issue at stake here is that leftist feminists pretend they care
about women but when it comes to women who suffer under adversary cultures, they
refuse to act, since doing so will legitimize their own societies which they despise and
work to destroy. Thus, millions of women under Islamic gender apartheid have been
abandoned by leftist feminists, whose devotions lie with their anti-Western and anti-
American faiths. The scholar and true feminist Phyllis Chesler has documented this
phenomenon powerfully in her book The Death of Feminism.

To stress the main essence of this problem regarding Wolf and the hypocrites in her
“feminist” camp, I asked in my blog:

“Will Naomi Wolf join the battle? For instance, will she denounce the Islamic theology
and teachings that lead to the mutilation of Muslim girls in Islamic countries?”

My critics who seek to delegitimize my main point have now come forward and think
they are scoring a powerful blow against me by, typically, pointing out that FGM is not
exclusively Muslim. This is a key traditional tactic of the Left. In order to whitewash the
barbarity of adversary cultures, they consistently exonerate it by equivocating about how
some kind of injustice exists somewhere else — and, especially, of course, how it exists
in our own society and civilization.

Thus, some of the critics revel in how Lucy Semiyan Mashua, who is leading the new
campaign against FGM, is from Kenya and comes from the Massai, a Christian African
tribe. This is how their mental gymnastics work: FGM is not just an Islamic practice, so
we can’t say anything critical about Islam when it is connected to FGM. This way we
can’t say that anything is really better than anything else, and we especially can’t say that
our civilization is better than Islam’s or that we have anything to teach Islamic societies.

This kind of thinking deliberately incapacitates any action that could be implemented on
behalf of Islam’s victims. If you try to do something on behalf of the victims, which
begins with honesty about who is perpetrating the crime and why, the critics come
forward and say: “Hey, but it isn’t just Muslims that do it.” Then the critics feel really
good about themselves for pointing this out and, yes, go home and do nothing about the
subject at hand. So in the case of FGM, the leftist feels self-satisfied that he’s pointed out
that it’s not just Islam that does it, he engages in no action to help the victims and the
mutilation of girls under Islam continues.

Naturally Muslims are not the only ones who perpetrate FGM. Of course, FGM is
practised outside of Islam, including under non-Islamic African tribal cultures. I never
said anywhere that FGM is only practised by Muslims. But the key issue here is that
Muslims are the principle religious group that practices this sexual violence against
women. And the reality is that if you are a victim of FGM, then the chances are very high
that you live in a Muslim household and in a Muslim culture.

Now within the context of Islamic FGM, the barbarity is kept alive and legitimized by
Islamic theology. This is the case in Egypt, where this crime against girls is waged on a
massive level. The Egyptian government banned FGM in 1996, but an Egyptian court
overturned the ban in July 1997 because of the ferocious uprising of the Islamic clerics,
who fervently pointed to Islamic teachings to re-implement this war against women’s
sexuality. The Muslim mutilators pointed to traditional Islamic teachings that sanction
FGM, which include the Prophet Muhammad’s instruction that circumcising girls is “a
preservation of honor for women.” Also, a legal manual of the Shafi’i school of Islamic
jurisprudence, ‘Umdat al-Salik, which is endorsed by Al-Azhar University of Cairo —
the oldest and most prestigious university in the Islamic world — states that circumcision
is obligatory for both boys and girls.

Keeping FGM institutionalized also helps the Islamic mutilators keep the structure of
Islamic gender apartheid in place. Keeping FGM legitimized and at work is one of the
most effective means to keeping women subjugated and caged. After all, the strategy
behind amputating the clitoris is clearly to kill the woman’s sexual desire and pleasure,
which, in this diseased misogynist mindset, reduces the chances that she will ever toy
with the notions of autonomy, equality and self-determination.

Question: How can we possibly help Egyptian girls, and other girls who are targeted for
FGM under Islam, if we do not confront the philosophy behind the institutionalization of
this violence? You cannot save Muslim girls from FGM without crystallizing what it is
within the religion that gives fertile soil and legitimation to FGM. The way to save
human beings from this violence is to isolate those teachings and to have them nullified –
and this involves confronting certain Islamic teachings.

Nowhere am I saying that we don’t work against FGM in non-Muslim environments. We


do that too. We do it all. But we can’t save the victims of Islamic mutilation if we are not
honest about the Islamic impulses for that mutilation.

So the main point of my Newsreal blog, where I asked whether Naomi Wolf would join
the battle against FGM, was to point out the hypocrisy of the Left’s silence on this matter.
It’s a silence that stems from the fact that leftists like Wolf know that admitting the
inferiority of an adversarial culture will legitimize Western civilization, a recognition that
they cannot make without risking their entire identities and social belongings. That’s why
the leftist forces in our society do their best to excuse FGM with the tired old mantra: it’s
not only Muslims that do it – as if inaction to save human beings from evil is somehow
justified because a sin might exist somewhere else.

What a revolting image: the smug leftist turning his back on the victims of Islamic FGM
because a non-Muslim somewhere perpetrated FGM. How does this self-satisfied
inhumanity save the Muslim girls who will be mutilated in the future? How does it help
the non-Muslim girls?

Hypothetical question: if we could have saved the Jewish inmates from Auschwitz before
they were murdered, would it have been right to abort the rescue operation (which would
have involved an honesty about Nazi doctrine) upon discovering that someone,
somewhere, in some other place, said or did something anti-Semitic? Hey, it’s not just
the Nazis that do it. Would that have sufficed to justify not lifting a hand to rescue
Auschwitz’s inmates?

Some other connected tactics surface in the debate in the comments sections on my blog.
One critic thinks he is making a big point by stating that Morocco, one of the countries
that Wolf visited during her political pilgrimage, does not practise FGM. But whatever
the extent to which FGM is practised or not in Morocco, the point is that it is practised in
Egypt and Jordan – where Wolf visited and says she found a vibrant sexuality lurking
under the veil.

Another critic thinks she has scored a knockout blow against me by revealing that she did
a google search and found that Wolf has written about FGM. The issue is not whether
Wolf has written about FGM. The issue is whether she has condemned the societies and
cultures within which they are practised and done so on the premise that our society is
more humane and has something to teach those societies and cultures. She has not. In
The Beauty Myth, for instance, Wolf makes a critique of FGM only in passing, with a
“everyone is guilty” theme that ends up comparing FGM with modern day breast surgery.

The core issue is that Wolf does not voice her moral indignation against Islamic FGM
and the Islamic theology that serves as its fertile soil. She does not condemn African
tribal FGM for its African tribal roots, but in the context of how a universal misogyny is
somehow guilty or responsible.

Thus, in the Islamic context, for instance, it is clear that someone like Wolf will never
act, because protecting little girls’ genitals is less important for her than protecting herself
from the charge of being Islamophobic. Her anti-Americanism, ultimately, has to be
prioritized in a sacred and protected place.

In essence, because of Naomi Wolf and her like-minded feminist comrades, here is the
situation: if you are a victimized girl being abused in a Muslim culture, then you have the
unfortunate distinction of being part of a group that the West and FGM activists have
difficulty helping, because the lib-Left has made sure that the Muslim culture and religion
can never be criticized and, therefore, that its sufferers can never be protected or saved.

This is just another chapter of a long dark and grotesque story – the story of the Left, with
its hands drenched in human blood, sacrificing human beings on the altar of utopian
ideals.