By Jonathon Van Maren
This story is truly disturbing—and from the Toronto Star, no less:
Thousands of Canadian girls are at risk of female genital mutilation, government officials believe. And some are being taken overseas to have the dangerous procedure done — an illegal act known as “vacation cutting.”
Officials from the federal government’s Global Affairs Ministry warn that, as with forced marriage, the “one chance rule” applies to these cases, meaning a professional might get only one opportunity to speak to a potential victim and save her, according to documents obtained by the Star. And yet Canada has done little to understand the scope of the problem and is lagging far behind other developed countries in efforts to prevent it, experts say.
“Based on the limited information available, it is possible that a few thousand Canadian girls are at risk, some of whom will be taken overseas for the procedure,” wrote Elaine Cukeric of the federal government’s Vulnerable Children’s Unit in a June 2015 email to a Canadian consular official in Nairobi, Kenya. At the time, the unit — tasked with dealing with issues related to Canadian children abroad — was reaching out to consulates in Africa, the Middle East, India and Pakistan where cutting is prevalent and asking for their experience dealing with the practice so that “we might develop an effective strategy.”
Female genital mutilation (FGM) — also known as female genital cutting or female circumcision — is a procedure that intentionally alters or causes injury to external female organs. It can be inflicted on girls as young as 1 and varies in severity from partial removal of the clitoris, to excising the clitoris and labia and stitching up the walls of the vulva to leave only a tiny opening — known as infibulation…
What is unknown — beyond anecdotal evidence — is whether FGM is happening within Canadian borders. In the U.S., a doctor in Michigan was recently charged with carrying out the practice on up to 100 young girls, according to federal prosecutors, who say that no Canadian victims have been identified yet. There have also been cases in the U.K., France and Australia.
Let that really sink in for a moment. Little girls, right here in Canada, are being taken overseas by their parents to have a butcher carve up their genitals. And that’s no exaggeration, by the way—read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s account of her own mutilation in her memoir Infidel—it almost made me vomit. Here is how one victim of female genital mutilation, who is now a student at the University of Guelph, described her own experience at the age of six:
Yasmin Mumed remembers the brand new pale pink dress with embroidered flowers. She remembers the morning trip to the busy market with her grandmother. And the candy she got to eat. It was a sunny, happy day.
Then her mind flashes to the dark room filled with women. The blindfold. Being laid on her back. The confusion, the fear and the piercing pain. When it was all over, and the blindfold came off, she remembers looking down and seeing a patch of blood on her dress, just below her belly button.
I’m interested to see if our feminist prime minister Justin Trudeau will have any sort of response to this. Thorny issues like female genital mutilation remind us that multiculturalism is not always a zero sum game—there are certain countries around the world where most people hold to values that we do not simply find foreign, but wicked and repulsive. Cutting out parts of little girls’ private parts would fall into that category, and this trend must be addressed.
I’m not one of those writers who enjoys fearmongering and claiming that Sharia Law is on the verge of coming to Canada. I’ve written in defence of religious liberty across the board, including a series of columns condemning the burkini ban, which did not make me particularly popular. But it is still a simple fact that many Canadian Muslims hold views wildly incompatible with a free and Western society. Just over a year ago, for example, I attended a lecture by author Amanda Lindhout, who survived seventeen months of torture, rape, and captivity at the hands of Somali militants in 2009. Towards the end of her lecture, she asked why none of the men who had seen her get beaten and recaptured by her tormenters had ever tried to defend her—and then answered her own question a moment later:
One reason lies in the answers given to her in two Calgary mosques she visited upon her return to Canada. Her captors had informed her that their sexual abuse of her was sanctioned by Islamic law, due to the verse in the Qu’ran that permitted Muslim men to use “those whom your right hand possesses” as they saw fit. Amanda wanted to ask some Canadian Muslim leaders if that was, in fact, the right interpretation of those words. She stunned the Toronto audience into silence when she admitted that, “at both mosques they told me that what had happened to me was unfortunate, but that it was in fact permissible under Islamic law.” That is in all likelihood why no man stepped forward to assist her.
You could have heard a pin drop in that theatre as she told that story. Many people instinctively balked at this revelation—religious leaders, in a Canadian city like Calgary, actually informing a Canadian woman that her kidnapping and sex slavery was justified by their religion? But there it was. To my knowledge, that story has never been reported on in any news outlet, anywhere, even though I’m fairly certain that this wasn’t the only speaking engagement where Lindhout related that story.
The current Omar Khadr flap won’t die down for some time, and so that will be the main story percolating through the media. But I’m more interested in finding out what Canadian Muslims from certain mosques—say, the mosques run by imams who told Amanda Lindhout her rape wasn’t a crime under Islamic law—have to say about a wide range of issues. Or whether or not the vacations those mosque attendees are taking to their home countries are for the purposes of having their daughters sliced up by some fanatic. In the interests of the cultural diversity Mr. Trudeau enjoys blathering on about so much, I think we should find out.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here