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GOP Making Female Genital Mutilation A Felony

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Two bills are being introduced in Michigan to make Female Genital Mutilation a felony. The legislation comes in response to the arrest of 2 southeast Michigan Doctors for their role in FGM involving two 7-year-old girls brought here from Minnesota for the barbaric procedure. The amount of damage to female genitalia can vary from minor to catastrophic, can trigger physical and emotional damage and can even result in death.

State Senator Rick Jones is among a group of Republicans who says this kind of violent attack of girls and women must be stopped. “This is an outrageous attack on females and it leaves them scarred both physically and emotionally.” Jones says his bills will be put before a Senate committee this coming week and he believes it will move very quickly. “We want this on the books fast”, he said “This kind of brutal attack cannot continue.” Under the bill introduced by Jones performing such a procedure would be punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Dr. Lori Post who works at the Fineberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University has worked to battle Female Genital Mutiliation for several years around the world, and
intends to testify on behalf of the legislation this coming week. I asked her why she is so dedicated to the cause, “Because 23 million girls and women will face the risk of Genital mutilation this year, and they face the risk of a lifetime of medical problems or death”, she told me. “And because millions of women have their civil rights violated in this way every year”, she added.

Senator Jones also told me he will also focus on parents or others that facilitate taking children across state lines for the procedure or that encourage the act to occur in the first place. Jones was quick to point out it is a cultural problem and not unique to any particular religion and that people need to be clear on that point. For that reason Jones says he is focusing on the act of Genital Mutiliation itself.

Meanwhile the Michigan Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in an article published by the Detroit News suggested that the new legislation is too harsh and may be rooted in racism. Dawud Walid said the stiffer penalty is questionable and may be because, “the individuals involved don’t appear on the surface to look American enough.” In fact he went further and said they look foreign. The implication of the Republicans is that they are xenophobic.

Senator Jones laughed out loud and said “the practice is evil and barbaric” and that it doesn’t matter what the people look like and pointed out the bill is designed to protect little girls from getting violently assaulted no matter what color they are or where they are from.

His sentiments are identical to my own from earlier this week when I wrote:

If we cannot protect these children that are as defenseless as lambs in the field then who are we really? How can we pontificate about American values of any sort on any level if we don’t put defending these children first and foremost? I do not care from where they come or if they are here legally or illegally. I do not care what religion they practice or what language they might speak.  We must stand up for them, speak for them and ultimately protect them. If they are here and being brutalized it is up to us to look out for them. And that means all of us.

While some in the Islamic community are questioning the validity of the new proposals Democrats have remained silent on the matter. No Democrats have thus far co-sponsored either bill or offered one of their own. That is something else I predicted in a column earlier this week: It will remain the scourge it is because of spineless people who falsely claim the moral high ground.  Sadly many on the left will ignore the whole harrowing ideology that leads to such bloody outrages against little girls and instead will continue to focus on the mindless talking points and trying to label political opponents as racist, xenophobic knuckle-draggers.

Once again I call on all lawmakers to put aside any partisan differences and stand up for the little girls and women that are butchered every day in Michigan and around the world. Most estimates put the worldwide number of those affected at over 200 Million. In the United States the number is placed at 500,000 but many believe that number to be much higher. I am asking Democrats; why are you silent on this issue? Why are the Republicans the only ones willing to stand up against this abomination?

Members of the Michigan Congressional delegation have also spoken out but once again it is only Republicans including Jack Bergman and Tim Walberg. I have reached out to every single Democrat including Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and have not received any response.

If I were cynical I might wonder if votes for Democrats from the Islamic community are more important than the general health and well being of little girls across our state.

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