Anger over female circumcision in a Muslim sub-sect in India
NY Daily News, Tuesday, April 24th 2012
Over 1,600 Bohra Muslim women in India have signed an online petition calling for an end to the practice of female circumcision in the community. The community’s insistence on “Khatna” (the excision of the clitoris) sets it apart from other Muslims in the Indian subcontinent.
Eleven years ago, Farida Bano was circumcised by an aunt on a bunk bed in her family home at the end of her 10th birthday party.
The mutilation occurred not in Africa, where the practice is most prevalent, but in India where a small Muslim sub-sect known as the Dawoodi Bohra continues to believe that the removal of the clitoris is the will of God.
“We claim to be modern and different from other Muslim sects. We are different but not modern,” Bano, a 21-year-old law graduate who is angry about what was done to her, told AFP in New Delhi. She vividly remembers the moment in the party when the aunt pounced with a razor blade and a pack of cotton wool.
The Bohra brand of Islam is followed by 1.2 million people worldwide and is a sect of Shia Islam that originated in Yemen. While the sect bars other Muslims from its mosques, it sees itself as more liberal, treating men and women equally in matters of education and marriage.
The community’s insistence on “Khatna” (the excision of the clitoris) also sets it apart from others on the subcontinent. “If other Muslims are not doing it then why are we following it?” Bano says.