Hard Data Reveal African FGM-C is an Islam Problem, Now Threatening U.S. Muslim Women

Jaha Dukureh, is a 24 year old Muslim woman born in Gambia, victimized by both female genital mutilation/circumcision (FGM-C), and child marriage. According to Dukureh, these practices aren’t restricted to her native West African nation of Gambia—which is 90% Muslim. Emphasizing that FGM/C and forced marriage occur among immigrant Muslim communities in the U.S., she observed, “ these are the things they [Muslims] practice on their daughters.” A New York Daily News story revealed how Dukureh’s abusive FGM/C as an infant, was compounded as a teenage girl, in “preparation” for an arranged marriage:

When she was 15, Jaha Dukureh’s father made her go to a Manhattan doctor’s office to get her vagina — almost entirely sewn up during an infant circumcision ceremony in her native Gambia — cut back open so she would be ready for a forced arranged marriage to a 45-year-old man. She believes the doctor knew it was for an underage wedding — a Gambian marriage counselor arranged the procedure. “I was awake,” said Dukureh. “I screamed the whole time when they were doing it.” Dukureh hadn’t realized anything was different about her body until that day. She believes she was less than a week old when her labia and clitoris were cut off and her vagina sutured shut except for a small hole

Dukureh is now making a public appeal to the Obama Administration to update the U.S. FGM/C surveillance data (last available from a rather crude 1997 CDC estimate) as a logical prelude to more aggressive enforcement efforts aimed at eliminating this misogynistic barbarity. Alarmingly, FGM/C has been sanctioned by the mainstream North American Muslim imam-training organization, The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America.

Hard data, from UNICEF published in 2013 (tabulated below) demonstrate that FGM/C remains overwhelmingly an Islam problem (for its Islamic doctrinal basis, i.e., to reduce a woman’s “concupiscence,” read here) in Africa, relative to Christianity (or animism).


Country FGM-C Prevalence (%) Population (millions) % Muslim/% with FGM-C % Christian/% with FGM-C
Somalia 98 3.3 98.8/99 < 0.1/69*
Guinea 96 10.2 85/97 8/80
Djibouti 93 0.8 94/92* 6/69*
Egypt 91 84 90/92 10/74
Eritrea 89 5.3 48/98 50/85
Mali 89 14.5 90/88 5/84
Sierra Leone 88 6.2 60/95 25/80
Sudan 88 30 > 97/>97 1/69*
Gambia 76 1.8 90/78 8/20
Burkina-Faso 76 15.8 61/82 23/60

FGM-C rates from 2013 UNICEF data for the ten African nations with the highest prevalence; Population sizes per most recent Wikipedia estimates

* imputed to overall average of those in Muslim/Christian groups, reported

As Jaha Dukureh’s harrowing personal story makes plain, FGM-C—overwhelmingly a problem of African Islam—has now been “imported” into the U.S. Only candid assessment and vigilance unimpeded by see-no-Islam cultural/clitoral relativism can extirpate the abusive practice of FGM/C before it becomes a scourge for hapless U.S. Muslim women immigrants from these African Muslim communities as well.

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