Female genital mutilation: religious coercion or cultural requirement?

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Student in Reproductive Health, students Research and Technology Center, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor, Department of Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Reproductive Hormone Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Instructor, Deprtment of Midwifery, Islamic Azad University, Tuyserkan Branch, Tuyserkan Iran.


Introduction: Social tradition may originate from religion or nonreligious root. From long ago, there was female genital mutilation as a social behavior among some ethnic groups. Some people believe that female genital mutilation is a religious obligatory. To understand the accuracy of this assertion, people must know the commands and doctrines divine religions. This study was performed with aim to investigates the views of the heavenly religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism about female genital mutilation.
Methods: Collecting data in this review article was library resources, scientific journals, WHO and UNICEF, databases of Sciencedirect, PubMed, Magiran, Cochran library, Google Scholar, IranMedex and SID. Time interval for searching references was 2002 to 2016. Information were collected by using the keywords of Female Genital Mutilation, Female Genital Circumcision and Female Genital Cutting along with the keywords of doctrine, Sunni, Shia, Jewish, Christian, Islam and Religion. Data were analyzed qualitatively
Results: From 68 searched articles, 28 articles which met inclusion criteria and were related to the purpose of the study were reviewed. The results showed that although nowadays female genital mutilation is performing by Muslims, Christians and Jews, but Koran, Bible or Torah has not recommended it and don't know it as a mutilation obligatory for girls. Only, Shafei know it necessary to remove the skin of clitoris.
Conclusion: In societies where female genital mutilation is done, cultural tradition is dominant on religious convictions; although the advocates for justifying their actions claim that the reason is religious orders.


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