Russia has launched an investigation into claims that tens of thousands of girls in remote mountain areas, some as young as three months’ old, have been forced to undergo female genital mutilation.
The general prosecutor’s office has acted following allegations that the life-threatening practice has been taking place “unchecked by the authorities” in the republic of Dagestan, Russia’s state-run news agency Tass reported. (…)
In August, the Dagestani cleric Ismail Berdiyevdescribed FGM as a Dagestani Muslim tradition that was a solution to the “problem of promiscuity in women in general”.
He was supported by Vsevolod Chaplin, an Orthodox Christian leader, who said on Facebook that traditional practices should be allowed to continue without interference. (…)
The Guardian has seen interviews conducted by Moscow-based journalist Marina Akhmedova, who recently travelled to Dagestan to research FGM in the area. She said female cutting was linked to the lack of rights for women in Dagestan, their low status within the family and limited work opportunities.
She said many of the women she interviewed talked about the threat of honour killings if a girl did not behave according to adats (mountain law).
“I believe parents use circumcision as a way of protection from honour killings. They believe if a woman doesn’t have a clitoris she won’t be interested in sex and won’t have it before marriage. The villages support killings of such girls. (…)