Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Summertime is a Dark Time for Moslem Girls

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, despite her vilifiication by some, persists in spreading the word about the relentless coercion of Moslem women to conform to the patriarchal dictates of their families, even in the US. Here is a shocker from her Foundation's latest e-newsletter:

Today is the first day of summer, and it's prime time for girls to be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) or forced marriage, either here in the United States, or overseas.   

Does this really happen in the United States?

Forced Marriage   
There are numerous reports of girls being taken out of school in the United States in their early teenage years and returned to their parents' home countries to be forcibly married.  For example, in 2007, the New York Daily News reported that a number of girls were being forced to return to Pakistan to marry men chosen by their families. One woman recalled being tricked and drugged before being put on a plane to Pakistan and, once there, being forced at gunpoint to acquiesce to a marriage to a man chosen by her father.

Research conducted by the African Women's Health Center of the Brigham and Women's Hospital found that approximately 228,000 women and girls in the U.S. have either suffered the procedure or are at risk of FGM, a number that increased by approximately 35% between 1990 and 2000.

Because the procedure can have very serious health complications, summer is the optimum time for families to have their daughters cut as they will not be missed from school.  Recovery can take the entire summer and may cause complications for the girls entire life.  Numerous authorities suspect that the actual numbers are far higher, though there have been few reported cases of FGM being performed in the U.S.  There is also a concern that families send their daughters out of the country to suffer the procedure.    

Currently, it is not a crime to take your daughter abroad to undergo FGM. Representatives Crowley and Bono Mack introduced The Girls Protection Act last year that would make it a federal crime to transport a minor outside the United States for the purpose of FGM.  This bill has just been reintroduced and needs your support - contact your legislators today to ask them to pass this bill! 

Have a look at the foundation's website for more news and an opportunity to donate to its very important outreach efforts.

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