Trial Draws Attention to Genital Cutting
By DOUG GROSS (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
October 27, 2006 6:25 PM EDT
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - The trial of an Atlanta-area father accused of circumcising his 2-year-old daughter with scissors is focusing attention on an ancient African practice that experts say is slowly becoming more common in the U.S. as immigrant communities grow.
Khalid Adem, a 30-year-old immigrant from Ethiopia, is charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children. Human rights observers said they believe this is the first criminal case in the U.S. involving the 5,000-year-old practice.
Prosecutors say Adem used scissors to remove his daughter's clitoris in their apartment in 2001. The child's mother said she did not discover it until more than a year later.
"He said he wanted to preserve her virginity," Fortunate Adem, the girl's mother, testified this week. "He said it was the will of God. I became angry in my mind. I thought he was crazy."
The girl, now 7, also testified, clutching a teddy bear and saying that her father "cut me on my private part." Adem cried loudly as his daughter left the courtroom.
Testifying on his own behalf Friday, Adem said he never circumcised his daughter or asked anyone else to do so. He said he grew up in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and considers the practice more prevalent in rural areas.
Adem, who removed a handkerchief from his pocket and cried at one point during his testimony, was asked what he thought of someone who believes in the practice. He replied: "The word I can say is `mind in the gutter.' He is a moron."
His lawyer, Mark Hill, acknowledged that Adem's daughter had been cut. But he implied that the family of Fortunate Adem, who immigrated from South Africa when she was 6, may have had the procedure done.
The Adems divorced in 2003, and Hill suggested that the couple's daughter was encouraged to testify against her father by her mother, who has full custody.
If convicted, Adem, a clerk at a suburban Atlanta gas station, could get up to 40 years in prison.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, using figures from the 1990 Census, estimated that 168,000 girls and women in the U.S. had undergone the procedure or were at risk of being subjected to it. (if this monsterous behavior crosses "ethnic and religious lines", how would one establish that a certain number of girls are at "risk of being subjected to it?" This sounds like a lie to me)
The State Department estimates that up to 130 million women worldwide had undergone circumcision as of 2001. Knives, razors or even sharp stones are usually used, according to a 2001 department report. The tools often are not sterilized, and often, many girls are circumcised at the same ceremony, leading to infection.
It is unknown how many girls have died from the procedure, either during the cutting or from infections, or years later in childbirth.
Nightmares, depression, shock and feelings of betrayal are common psychological side effects, according to the federal report.
The report estimated that 73 percent of women in Ethiopia had undergone the procedure, based on a 1997 survey.
Taina Bien-Aime, executive director of Equality Now, an international human rights group, said female circumcision is most widely practiced in a 28-country swath of Africa. She said more than 90 percent of women in Ethiopia are believed to have been subjected to the practice, and more in places like Egypt and Somalia.
"It is a preparation for marriage," Bien-Aime said. "If the girl is not circumcised, her chances of being married are very slim."
The practice crosses ethnic and cultural lines and is not tied to a particular religion. ( yeah, sure, unhuh, you bectha. lots of jews, bhuddists, and christians are cuttin their little girls privates up ain't they?! ) Activists say the practice is intended to deny women sexual pleasure. In its most extreme form, the clitoris and parts of the labia are removed and the labia that remain are stitched together.
"I had maybe read about it in Reader's Digest or some other journal, but not really considered it a possibility here," said Dr. Rose Badaruddin, the pediatrician for the Adems' daughter.
Many refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia come to Georgia through a federal refugee resettlement program.
"With immigration, the immigrants travel with their traditions," Bien-Aime said. "Female genital mutilation is not an exception."
Federal law specifically bans the practice, but many states do not have a law addressing it. Georgia lawmakers, with the support of Fortunate Adem, passed an anti-mutilation law last year. Khalid Adem is not being tried under that law, since it did not exist when his daughter's cutting allegedly happened.
I'd post pics but it would violate the CoC.
Kill him with fire.
No, not really. It is, however, most commonly practiced among people belonging to smaller, more localized religions which are generally lumped together under the term "animism," or religions that generally believe that everything is alive and has a soul ("animism" comes from "animus," meaning "mind" or "soul"). Whether or not the practice is done or permitted in Muslim groups depends on the group. The Shafi'i school of Islam at one time ordered a slight trimming of the clitoral hood that was thought to enhance sexual pleasure. The Shias practice something similar. It is not, however, mandatory (although like male circumcision, the one being circumcised usually doesn't have any say in the matter, and it's rather the parents who choose). Many Arab Muslims reject the practice entirely, saying it's un-Islamic.
Has he been found guilty? It sounds like he's still under trial. You know, that thing that we all have a right to, and an impartial one at that, according to the Constitution?
Uh, no, that is bullshit. ALthough some tribes practice circumcision that are not Muslims the practice is MOST prevalent among Muslims and not just Africans. It is practised from Saudi Arabia and that area all the way to Morocco. Most of the Others that do practice it are "part" of the Islamic world and the habit just crosses religious lines. Very few "animist tribes" practise this ritual. And NO they do not do it for some kind of pleasure for the women AT ALL. The whole entire purpose of it to deny women sexual pleasure so that they will remin "chaste" till they get married. Same with the veils and locking them up in the house 24/7 and of course marrying them as young as possable to avoid "temptation" and making the society an essentially Sexually segregated one. It is NOT really a problem in Africa south of the Sahara, and although it does predate Islam so did slavery, but unlike other cultures that did away with this abhorrent practice Islam has kept it up and nutured it. Ethiopians DO NOT practise this unless they are Muslims, most are christian and do not.
You're right. Wait until he's convicted, then kill him with fire. We still have some rights left in this country, and due process of law is one of them.
Female circumcision is a comom African Muslim practice. An example of piety by virtue of the blade.