WADI: 50% of Kirkuk women circumcised
By WADI — ekurd.net
February 8, 2012
KIRKUK, Iraq's border with Kurdistan region,
— In its latest report on FGM,
the German WADI says the circumcised women are
facing social challenges to an extent of insult.
The records are dangerous
The report which resulted from a filed investigation
on FGM in Kirkuk province, says out of one thousand
participants, 600 hundred were circumcised. The
report concludes that over 50% of the province’s
women are circumcised.
One of the phases of the investigation was a
fieldwork of distributing 1 thousand 250 forms
asking 60 questions only for women above the age of
12. The WADI teams were exposed to several social,
religious and cultural obstacles while investigating
the issue. They were even threatened with death, “if
they stirred the FGM subject.”
WADI reports that all the factions of Kirkuk expect
for Christians, which do not circumcise their girls,
made obstacles for their work. The Kakaiyie (a
mixture of Islam and ancient Iranian religions)
narrate abnormal stories on FGM and believe that
circumcision starts with their religion. The Muslims
say circumcision is a sunnah (ritual) of the prophet
Muhammad while Kakaiyies say the origin only
attributers to them. Among Kakaiyies, girls are
circumcised without the knowledge of their parents
and sent back as a gift to their families.
Although the teams worked on the people’s awareness
on the subject and met with religious clerics, “But
they considered the teams as westerners and agents
of sedition and deforming Islam.” The report says
the Pana Centre invited some Mullahs to discuss the
subject of FGM, “But they said we should not
prohibit circumcision, and claimed that the project
intends to remove and deform Islam.”
The report also notes that recent data and
statistics show the increase in the killing of
women, and that “Some of the women are facing family
problems because of their lack of interest in sex
(since they are circumcised).”
Also the Mullahs claimed that FGM is not dangerous
for women’s health, but some of them agreed stating
that, “If it’s harmful for the society and hurts
families, then it’s better not to be done.” The
Shitti and Turkmen Mullahs said, “FGM should not be
prohibited, but it should be done on the decision of
The report also notes that some of those who are not
circumcised are facing insults as, their feeding is
haram (religiously prohibited). The report brings an
example where a woman from Prde town circumcises
herself by her own hand in the result of people’s
talks, “They told me my feeding is haram so much.
They were coming to my house but did not touch
anything. I was forced to circumcise myself. I lay
in bed for three months because of bleeding and
The team visited Prde to meet with the women and the
Mullah of the town. The Mullah retaliated that his
father (whose also a Mullah) supports circumcision
and if he knows you have come to stop the
phenomenon, he’d encourage people to throw stones at
One of the obstacles facing the team was girls were
ashamed to discuss the subject directly related to
their genitals. “Once we met with 30 women in Altun
Kopri, and only one of them was not circumcised. But
when the media came in, the women were fearful and
some of them left the meeting which means the
subject should be closed.”
The report tells another story when a mother
circumcised five of her girls. When she was asked
why did she do that, she answered, “I knew a girl
not circumcised was very quarrelsome, that’s why we
should circumcise girls.”
Another story is from Hawija, where an 18-year old
girl married to a Kurdish boy, but the boy only
agreed if the girl agrees to circumcision. The girl
was only married after she was circumcised. She has
two daughters now, but divorced. “I was reading
about FGM before and I knew it was harmful for sex
and pain. But for the boy I agreed to circumcision,”
said the girl.
“I had bedtime issues, whenever the boy came to me I
remembered the moment where they cut it with razor,”
said the girl.
The norms of Kirkuk province reflect in their
individuals from all the factions. When it came to
FGM, the factions called the teams deviators and
deformers of culture.
In Shwan district, a woman was faced with violence
since she was not ready to circumcise her daughters.
Her relatives struck her in the head and her husband
divorced her three times but remarried her later.
The woman who was not ready to circumcise her
daughters narrates her story when she was a child.
Although WADI teams had formal permission to speak
and carry out interviews, they were faced with death
threats in Taza town, which is dominated by Shiite
Turkmens. “You should not ask such questions to our
children, or we behead you!” the teams were told.
The teams left the town to surrounding villages.
“The Hawija team was facing threats three times more
than other teams and they were forced to leave
several times,” the report says.
WADI teams now planning a new mechanism to face the
phenomenon as campaigns of signature collecting to
prohibit FGM and awareness raising of people
concerning the issue. The doctors were also asked to
explain the negative effects of FGM to people.
WADI e. V.
Herborner Str. 62
D-60439 Frankfurt a. M.
Tel: ++49/69/57002440/ Fax:975392640
E-Mail: [email protected]
Stop FGM Kurdistan
Thomas von der Osten-Sacken is the director of WADI
at Kirkuk Now kirkuknow.com
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