Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 16:41:48 -0500 (CDT)
From: email@example.com (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Women Slam FGM At Khartoum Gathering
Subject: AfricaNews: Women Slam FGM
Women Slam FGM At Khartoum Gathering
PANA News, 22 April 1999
KHARTOUM, Sudan (PANA) - Female genital mutilation, commonly known as female circumcision, came under fire Wednesday during a session of an ongoing women's conference in Khartoum.
Speakers at the conference of the International Women's Forum, a global organisation of Muslim women, have described the practice as harmful to the physiological, psychological, economic and social well-being of women.
Psychiatrist Ibtisam Mahmoud said the removal of the external parts of women's sexual organs was "alarmingly harmful to the victim's sexual desire."
She said a survey she conducted on a sample of 100 of such women revealed that 76 percent of them had had "painful experiences with their husbands as a result of their poor sexual desire."
Amna Abdulrahman, Secretary of the Sudanese Anti-Harmful Habits Society, said circumcision was harmful to the economy of the family and that of the country "as women need to spend lots of money on drugs and surgical operations to cope with the health complications resulting from this practice."
Dr Raja el Teraifi raised the problem that faces circumcised women in European hospitals.
"Doctors in those countries do not know how to help circumcised women deliver their babies and this often results in serious after-birth inflamations and other health complications," she said.
She said she had noticed the uncircumcised woman was "more active, more intelligent and more sexually rewarding to her husband."
Dr Teraifi said the matter should be embodied in the school curriculum. She called for a more active role of males in the fight against the habit.
Sudan's elders were blamed for perpetrating the practice. "Elder women should be held responsible for imposing this practice on the new generations," Abdulrahman Saeed, a senior Sudanese foreign ministry official, told the conference.
A gynaecologist, Dr Mamoun Haj Ali, said "this practice is harmful to the health and happiness of women, is unjustified and has nothing to do with religion."
He said all the members of the society "should seriously challenge this harmful habit."