AMSTERDAM — For the first time in the Netherlands, a mosque has come out in support of female circumcision, according to a newspaper report Thursday.
The highly controversial statement on circumcision comes from a pamphlet “Fatwas of Muslim Women” provided by the El Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam for its open day. A fatwa is an official statement or order from an Islamic religious leader.
The pamphlet says that women who lie deserve 100 blows and the husband’s duty of care for his wife is negated if she refuses him sex or leaves the home without his permission, newspaper Trouw reported.
There have been many claims in the media in recent years about “imported brides” who are forced by their husbands to stay in the family home — unless accompanied outside by a male relative. Some of these women, it is claimed, live in total isolation from Dutch society.
The call for girls to be circumcised — removing part of the female genitalia — is likely to cause the biggest outcry so far. If done right, the mosque’s pamphlet claims, circumcision is healthy for both boys and girls.
But unlike male circumcision — in which the mosque claims that for reasons of hygiene, the male’s foreskin can be circumcised — there are absolutely no medical grounds for female circumcision.
Nevertheless, it urges that the foreskin of a girl’s clitoris should be removed, but not the clitoris itself — as is often wrongly assumed to be the case. Removing the foreskin would help the woman keep her feelings of lust under control, the pamphlet says.
In recent weeks, politicians have called for the Dutch government to do more to stop the practice among immigrant communities. To date, the Health Ministry has ruled out compulsory checks on girls to make sure they have not been circumcised.
The Pharos health centre for refugees said never before has a mosque in the Netherlands come out publicly in support of female circumcision.
Ironically, El Tawheed Mosque organised the open day to counteract negative publicity caused by previous controversial statements made by one of its imams which were condemned as fostering anti-western and anti-woman bias.
On one highly-publicised occasion, an imam referred to non-Muslims as “firewood for hell” and he forbade Islamic women to leave the family home without the permission of their husbands.
“Fatwas of Muslim Women” continues on this theme and states that science has proved men and women differ in “biological nature, physical capabilities and mental capacity”. It says it is unjust to give women the same “responsibilities, rights and duties as men”.
The pamphlet, written by a “prominent imam” and published in Egypt in 2000, was one of the many booklets available at the open day.
Trouw noted “Fatwas of Muslim Women” lacks any biographical information about the author, Mufti Ibn Taymyah (or Taymiyya).
He lived in the 14 century and has been described by Arabism scholar Hans Jansen as an “influential ideologue for militant Islamists”. Jansen has drawn comparisons between Taymyah and Osama bin Laden.