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Respect for women’s bodies; between female circumcision and body piercing! 11/27/2006 11:30:00 AM GMT
The recent conference in Egypt and the debate that followed it about Female Genital Mutilation and how rampant or not it is in Muslims societies and whether it should be banned or not brought to my mind how this practice, which I stress has no link to Islam, resembles body piercing, which many doctors, not just religious figures, discourage.
Body piercing has been identified by the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. as a possible vehicle for transmission of hepatitis B, C, D and G, and HIV. So it’s not less harmful than female circumcision, which Western human rights activists have been busying themselves criticising in recent years, and falsely referring to it as an Islamic tradition.
What’s common between the two practices is that both are different forms of desecration of the human body.
Both FGM, still practiced in some African countries by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and body piercing, which is growing among young people especially in Europe and America, should be avoided.
Islamic law does not mandate FGM and tolerates only the most mild form of circumcision. While body piercing has been warned against by most religious figures even in the West as well as medical professionals for the danger it poses to the human body, including bleeding, nerve damage or infection. Statistics also proved that piercing lead in many cases to infection.
Those who undergo body piercing, piercing their bodies in stranger and stranger places - in the mouth, on their navels, through cheeks and even in the genitals, consider it a form of body art and self-expression, and those who circumcise their daughters, in highly secretive rituals, believe it prevents promiscuous behaviour- But God has warned, in both Christianity and Islam, against changing or humiliating his creation.
Examples in Islam:
“It is Allah Who has made for you the earth as a resting place and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape- and made your shapes beautiful” – Qur’an 40:64
“Our Sustainer! Thou hast not created (any of) this in vain” – Qur’an 3:191
Examples in Christianity:
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
Our care and respect for our body prescribe that we avoid what puts it in danger.
The Sheikha can be reached via e-mail at Content@Aljazeera.com (external - login to view)