According to Stop FGM Middle East, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that female genital mutilation is permissible, but not obligatory.
The hideous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is neither an exclusively Muslim nor a principally Middle Eastern phenomenon. It exists among non-Muslims through wide areas of Africa.
But in Iraq and Iran, FGM is mainly associated with Kurds. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq… has pursued a substantive effort to eradicate FGM. As reported here, the KRG parliament introduced legislation prohibiting FGM in 2007… In 2010, the KRG health ministry produced a plan to eliminate FGM and called on Islamic clergy to condemn the custom…
By contrast, “the existence of FGM in Iran is a well-kept secret,” according to the organization Stop FGM Middle East. On November 25, 2014, Radio Farda, the U.S.-backed Farsi-language broadcast directed to Iran, aired a 30-minute documentary on FGM under the rule of the Islamic Republic. Translated by Stop FGM Middle East, the transcript revealed yet another cruel feature of Iranian life, reinforced by the hypocrisy of the ruling clerics.
Radio Farda noted that in 2014 Iran was added, for the first time, to the global list of countries in which FGM is present…
How would Ayatollah Khomenei know that it “does not hurt”? Even reading about this subject give me the creeps. Until 9/11 (when I started reading around about the Middle East) I had no idea such a practice existed anywhere. I had never heard of it at all.
For some reason or other, it must have never caught on in Europe, even in the ancient pre-Christians tribal days.
For a personal story by a woman who had it done to her as 7-year-old in Pakistan, see here. It is not graphic but quite depressing.