Russian Muslim official doubles down on support for female circumcision, says it should be performed on all women
Ismail Berdiev, the chairman of the North Caucasus Muslim Coordinating Center, is doubling down on his defense of female circumcision in Russia. The mufti now says that all women should be circumcised, regardless of faith.
“We need to circumcise all women to end depravity on Earth and reduce sexuality,” Berdiev told the news agency Interfax. “It's necessary to reduce women's sexuality. If this [circumcision] were applied to all women, it would be a good thing. God created women to give birth to children and to raise children. And this [circumcision] doesn't have anything to do with that. Women can still give birth, and there's less depravity.”
Berdiev was responding to a new report by the organization “Russian Justice Initiative,” which found that female circumcision is practiced in certain areas of Dagestan, one of Russia's predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus. Russian Justice Initiative found cases in remote villages where girls under the age of three (and sometimes as old as 11) were circumcised.
On August 15, Berdiev told the radio station Govorit Moskva that female circumcision is a healthy, “purely Dagestani custom.”
The ritual—removing all or part of the clitoris and sometimes the labia—is carried out to reduce sexual sensitivity, in order to “prepare” women for their role as wife in a patriarchal family. The surgery is conducted at home by a religious figure.
According to the United Nations, roughly 200 million women in the world have undergone some form of female circumcision. The practice is most widespread in Africa.