“The procedure is believed to initiate girls into adulthood and ensure their marriageability, according to Human Rights Watch, a New York nonprofit human rights organization.”
Human Rights Watch, unsurprisingly, is wrong. It’s actually done to reduce female sexual pleasure so that women are more easily controllable. This repulsive practice is justified in Islamic texts.
“Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64
Why is it obligatory? Because Muhammad is held to have said so: “Abu al- Malih ibn Usama’s father relates that the Prophet said: ‘Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.’” — Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75
“Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: ‘Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.’” — Abu Dawud 41:5251
“Do not cut severely,” but not “Do not cut.”
That’s why it is so common around the world, and why it is certain to become increasingly common in the United States.
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