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An overview on Female Genital Mutilation: Looking into the Bohra community

Introduction To The Bohra Community

In India, female genital mutilation (FGM) is commonly practiced by the Muslim Bohra community. This practice is referred to as Khatna or Khafz, and is carried out mainly on the male and female members of the community. The Dawoodi Bohra community is a sect of Shia Islam. The majority of its members live in various countries such as Pakistan, India, Yemen, East Africa, and the Middle East.

There are a significant number of members of the Dawoodi Bohra community living in various countries, such as Australia, North America, South East Asia, and Europe. According to sources, the worldwide population of the community is around a million.

The Dawoodi Bohra follow a Shiism-based paradigm that was established by the Fatimid Imamate of Egypt during the medieval era. They fast during Ramadan and perform Umrah and Hajj.

The Dawoodi Bohra is a Shia sect that is also referred to as the Ism'l Tayyab. Due to the issue of the successor of the late Ithna Ashari Shia leader, the Isma'ilis split from the mainstream group. They considered the late Isma'il bin Jafar to be their leader, while the Twelvers regarded the late Musa Kazim bin Jafar as their leader.

Due to a succession dispute, the Ismailis divided themselves into two sects: the mainstream Isma'ilis and the Druze. The Bohras were also linked to the Fatimids through their missionary activities in India. The surviving correspondence of the community's founder, Imam al-Mustansir shows that the early conversions were carried out through missionary activities.

The Dawoodi Bohra community's legacy can still be traced back to the teachings of the late Ithna Ashari Shia leader, the 21st Imam Al-Tayeyab. He is currently in seclusion and is considered to be the current leader of the group. The governance of the sect's subsequent branches has been entrusted to the Da'i al-Mutlaq.

Due to the dispute over the leadership of the Da'i, various groups within the community emerged. Most of these groups are led by Dr. Mufaddal Saifuddin, who is currently the 53rd Dai-al-Mutlaq.

Introduction To Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a type of surgery that involves partial or total removal of the external female organ. It can be performed by traditional circumcisers, who are usually involved in the delivery of children. This procedure involves the removal of the outer and inner labia and the closure of the vulvar.

Female genital mutilation is a type of procedure that involves cutting a woman's skin using a blade that's unclean. It's usually done on women who are around the age of 45 to 50.

It has been identified by WHO that there are four types of FGM,

TYPE 1:
This is also called clitoridectomy. This is the part or whole removal of the clitoris and the prepuce[1].

TYPE 2:
This is a procedure that involves partial or whole removal of the external tissues, such as the labia minora and the clitoris. The amount of tissue that is removed varies depending on the community.

TYPE 3:
Infibulation is a type of procedure that involves closing the vaginal opening using an external seal. This can be done with or without the removal of the external portion of the clitoris.

TYPE 4:
Other harmful procedures that can be performed on a female genitalia include penetrating, pricking, scraping, cauterization, and incising.

Other terms related to FGM are incision, deinfibulation and reinfibulation. Incision refers to the creation of cuts in the area known as the clitoris or the prepuce. It can also be done to scratch the perineum and the symphysis.

According to the practice of DE infibulation, it involves cutting open a woman's closed genitalia to simplify intercourse.

Infibulation is the exercise of sewing the external labia back together later deinfibulation.

Complications Related To FGM

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a serious health issue that affects the reproductive and sexual health of women and adolescents. The effects of this procedure vary depending on the type performed and the practitioner. Complications can occur in various ways, such as infibulations.

Some of the most common complications that can occur after a female genital mutilation are shock, infection, and pain. Other injuries to the surrounding tissues can also be severe.

Some of the long-term complications that can occur after a female genital mutilation include anaemia, child birth, dyspareunia, cysts and abscesses, damage to the urethra, sexual dysfunction, and an increased risk of HIV transmission.

Infibulation, also referred to as type III FGM, can cause whole vaginal obstruction. It can create a barrier that prevents women from having intercourse and childbirth. After infibulation, a lady has to undergo gradual vaginal opening relaxation to allow sexual intercourse to take place.

Infibulation usually occurs during the first night of a woman's marriage. It is performed by either the partner or a circumciser to allow the husband to have intimate moments with his wife. At childbirth, many women are cut again due to the small opening in the vagina. In addition to these, infibulation can also lead to other health issues such as urinary tract infections and anemia.

What Beliefs Are FGM Practiced On?

  • There are various factors that affect the decision to have female genital mutilation (FGM). The most common reasons cited for this procedure are the cultural factors that affect the family.
  • FGM is considered to be necessary to raise a girl and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.
  • This procedure is considered to be an acceptable sexual behavior. It can also help a girl maintain her virginity and ensure that she will be married properly.
  • Places where it is believed that being cut increases marriageability, FGM is most probably carried out.
  • In places where FGM is considered a social norm, the pressure to conform to the standards of others can also be high. This is why it is usually performed in most areas.
  • This practice is also linked to the idea of modesty and feminity. It implies that cutting and removing a woman's genitalia is both beautiful and hygienic.
  • In many places, traditions and cultures combine to form an argument regarding FGM. They believe that it's a religious practice.
  • Female genital mutilation is also commonly practiced in rural areas due to the lack of education. This practice is carried out less frequently by people with high school or secondary education.
  • In some communities this is practiced as an adoption of the neighbouring countries practice or as an adoption of the ancient traditions.

Laws Passed Against FGM

The Bohra community is a modern one. They believe that women should be educated, but they also practice female genital mutilation as a ritual.

There have been no laws passed to protect women's rights and prevent child abuse. The issue will come up before the judges when they consider whether the practice of Khatna is protected under the Indian constitution's article 25. It is also possible that the court will consider other factors such as public morality and health when it comes to protecting this practice.

Conclusion
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a type of harmful medical procedure that involves the removal of the outer layer of a woman's skin. It can be performed in four different ways: excision, infibulation, the clitoridectomy, and excision. The origins of this practice are not known. There are various socio-cultural factors that influence its practice.

According to UNFPA, there are about 200 million women and girls alive who have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). If the practice continues at its current level, then around 68 million women and girls will be cut from the world's population by 2030. FGM can cause various health conditions such as high fever and infections. It can also lead to the death of a girl.

Due to the fear of being labeled as a rebellious individual, people do not raise questions about this practice. Currently, there are no laws against this harmful practice. The court is currently considering how to protect the community from this practice.

Written By: Khushi Chaudhary

End-Notes:

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