NBC Allergic to Mentioning Islam As They Warn of Female Genital Mutilation In USA

NBCNews.com found a scary foreign trend invading America: “Horrific Taboo: Female Circumcision on the Rise in U.S.”

"The practice of Female Genital Mutilation is common across much of Africa, where it is believed to ensure sexual purity before marriage, “ reported Annabel Roberts and Marion Smith. But in some places in America, “The pressure to get daughters cut is great,” said one activist. Try to find the words “Islam” or “Muslim” in the story? It’s nowhere to be found:

For Americans on the outside of communities where it is practiced, FGM is such an unknown that many medical workers, law enforcement and child protection officers are not informed on how to proceed when confronted with it.

“This has been such a taboo topic, we [haven’t been able to] take it out from under the table. We need to make it something that can be discussed,” said Shelby Quast, senior policy adviser of Equality Now, an international women’s rights NGO [non-governmental organization].

“There has to be a huge shift so that we identify this as a form of violence against girls – and not something that's protected as a cultural and religious tradition,” she said.

That's about as close as the NBC reporters go to a mention of Islam. (Equality Now also has the same habit of evasion.) A report from the U.S. Agency for International Development is blunt:

[I]n predominantly Muslim communities, the practice has been linked with Islam and the belief that every Muslim woman must be subjected to it is very strong. For example, the Somali community in Wajir said:

“One who is not circumcised is not a Muslim, and even her parents are seen as not being in the religion, that is how we see as Somalis.”

NBC's reporting that a dramatic uptick in immigration from Africa is bringing those customs to our country:

In Phoenix, Arizona, a staggering 98 percent of Somali women being treated at the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic have been circumcised, founder Dr. Crista Johnson said. She estimates the Somali community is at least 12,000-strong.

Johnson has supported such victims all over the country – from Washington,D.C., to Michigan to California – and says the spike in immigration from such communities has been astonishing in recent years. “The number has easily quadrupled because of migration patterns,” she added.

There's been only one prosecution on this in the US. Legislation was strengthened in January 2013 with a federal law making “vacation cutting” illegal – "when girls are taken during their school vacations to countries where female mutilation is widely practiced to be cut there."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis