Title

"Cover Story" piece on female circumcision, a cultural mandate practiced by some

Authors

Connie Pacillo

Source

Casco Bay Weekly

Date

6-24-1999

Pages

8, 9, 11, 1

Abstract

"Cover Story" piece on female circumcision, a cultural mandate practiced by some members of Portland's Muslim community, including interviews with two anonymous local women who were circumcised when they were children. In many African, Asian and Arabic countries, the cultural tradition of circumcising young girls has, through generations, become inextricably linked to the practice of Islam, even though nothing in the Koran specifically requires it. Circumcising female children was made a federal crime in 1997, and cases have been prosecuted in New York and Illinois. Dr. Hector Tarraza, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Maine Medical Center, and spokespersons for Catholic Charities of Maine, the state Department of Human Services and the state Department of Mental Health all seem to fear that taking a strong stand on the subject could drive practitioners further underground. The practice is not strictly Muslim. It's also performed in some Jewish, Christian and animist cultures. But countries with the highest rates are Somalia (98%) and northern Sudan (89%). With references to a 1996 report on the practice in Maine by then Catholic Charities intern Elizabeth Hawkins.

Subjects

Female circumcision

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