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Muslim Immigration Puts Half a Million U.S. Girls at Risk of Genital Mutilation


A June report from the Instituto Cervantes, a group created to promote the Spanish language, documented how four decades of mass immigration to the United States has made America the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking country.

But a petition from the womens’ group Equality Now reveals that immigration has put the United States on a list that will be much more difficult for progressive immigration enthusiasts to cheer. A massive influx of immigrants from Muslim-populated countries in Africa and the Middle East has led the group to conclude that more than half a million girls in the U.S. are in danger of having their exposed sexual organs skinned from their bodies.

The practice is known as female genital mutilation (FGM).

Equality Now’s estimation comes from the Population Reference Bureau, or PRB, a non-partisan Washington research group. PRB explains that its estimates are derived from, “the general procedures used by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)… [in addition to] country-specific FGM prevalence rates from the Demographic and Health Surveys… [and] the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey [to] obtain numbers of women in the United States with ties to one of the countries where the FGM prevalence rate was at least 2 percent.”

FGM is widespread in many of the countries where the United States handpicks immigrants for admission to the United States.

The Atlantic describes how the procedure is carried out:

It usually involves the complete removal of the clitoris, and often the removal of some of the inner and outer labia. In its most extreme form–infibulation–almost all the external genitalia are cut away, the remaining flesh from the outer labia is sewn together, or infibulated, and the girl’s legs are bound from ankle to waist for several weeks while scar tissue closes up the vagina almost completely. A small hole, typically about the diameter of a pencil, is left for urination and menstruation. The cutting is usually done with a razor, a kitchen knife, or a pair of scissors. It is rare for any anesthesia to be used.

As the United States continues to mail out immigrant visas to countries with hostile and violent attitudes towards women, it will increasingly challenge Americans’ self-perception of what it means to live in a First World country.

Jaha Dukureh, an FGM-survivor and founder of the activist organization Safe Hands for Girls, warned that “every year thousands of girls here in the United States go through female genital mutilation.”

Dukureh writes, “Many in the U.S. hear about FGM and think it only happens in far away lands. Unfortunately, this is far from reality. I hear from girls everyday that were born here in the United States who have been through FGM. These young women are your average American teenagers — some of them you know, some of them you went or go to school with. And there are many more girls in the US that are at risk of being cut.”

Although Americans will not hear it reported on your evening news, the summer season now brings with it more than summer school or summer camp: for thousands of girls, it’s what is known as “cutting season” in America.

While many American girls associate summer with campfires, lightening bugs, community pools, sweet tea, and plastic lanyards, a new summer tradition is taking hold in the nation as thousands of migrant communities from around the country begin preparing their daughters for grotesque and lifelong sexual disfigurement.

The Daily Beast writes: “As students across the country prepare for summer vacation, female genital mutilation (FGM) activists… are gearing up for what they call ‘cutting season’—the summer months when young girls can be sent to their ancestral lands to be circumcised.”

Activists can recount countless anecdotal stories of U.S. girls savagely maimed on family vacations. The Atlantic reports one account from Asha Mohamud, a pediatrician and Somali immigrant who lives in Alexandria, Virginia:

“There was a time I got a call from someone in northern Virginia,” Asha Mohamud says. “They heard of a girl in a school who was at risk. The teacher was teaching about sex education, and the young girl pointed out the clitoris and said,`That part is really bad, and my mother is taking me back in the summer to have that cut out.’” Mohamud tried to find the girl, but by the time the story had reached her, it was too late. The girl had already graduated and returned from her trip to Africa.

The PRB report attributes the prevalence of FGM in the United States exclusively to immigration:

In 2013, there were up to 507,000 U.S. women and girls who had undergone FGM/C or were at risk of the procedure… This figure is more than twice the number of women and girls estimated to be at risk in 2000… The rapid increase in women and girls at risk reflects an increase in immigration to the United States, rather than an increase in the share of women and girls at risk of being cut… about 97 percent of U.S. women and girls at risk were from African countries, while just 3 percent were from Asia (Iraq and Yemen).

To put the U.S. half a million figure in perspective, the Orchid Project, a U.K.-based charity dedicated to combating FGM, estimates that 41,572 girls over the age of 15 in Uganda have undergone the procedure and 77,522 in Cameroon.

The African-born population in the United States, according to U.S. Census data, “has roughly doubled each decade since 1970.” The PRB report notes that, “between 2000 and 2013, the foreign-born population from Africa more than doubled, from 881,000 to 1.8 million”; and, “in fiscal year 2014, one-fourth of the 70,000 refugees arriving in the United States were from Africa.” Additionally, as the Center for Immigration Studies documented from a recent Census report, immigration from the Middle East is the fastest-growing bloc of new visa admissions.

Each year, about 100,000 immigrants are added to the U.S. from predominantly Muslim countries.  Student visas for Middle Eastern countries have also grown enormously, including 16-fold increase in Saudi students since 9/11.

These immigrants are not coming to the country illegally and have nothing whatsoever to do with the U.S. border. The flood of immigration from FGM countries is almost exclusively produced by green cards, refugee programs, and other forms of legal importation. The Washington Post explains: “The great majority of African residents arrived legally. Most are U.S. permanent residents or citizens, or hold work or educational visas. Some, especially the large numbers of Ethiopians, fled a succession of conflicts over the years and have been resettled here as refugees.”

“Egypt, Ethiopia, and Somalia—accounted for 55 percent of all U.S. women and girls at risk in 2013,” the Population Reference Bureau reports. “The FGM prevalence rate for women and girls ages 15 to 49 is 91 percent in Egypt, 74 percent in Ethiopia and 98 percent in Somalia.”

Washington D.C. has proven a popular destination for many settlers from FGM countries. Today, in our nation’s capital there are nearly 4,000 girls at risk of having their genitals butchered, according to PRB. In the New England setting that provided the backdrop for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, more than 22,000 girls are at risk of being maimed. In Eleanor Roosevelt’s home state of New York, nearly 50,000 girls are in danger of having a sexual organ cut from their bodies.


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