Some by the older generation for thousands of years
Some religious men believe that this is an issue that has to do with the family; therefore they choose to leave the choice to the parents (Human Rights, 2010). Despite all the fatwas and hadith that are being communicated by people, however, neither female genital mutilation nor male circumcision is ever mentioned in the Holy Qur’an (Selim. M, 2012).
A study conducted by UNICEF across all African religions reveals that 23.6% of men, 15% of women who have heard of FGM said it is required by their religion (UNICEF, 2016). Even though Muslims are the majority in Nigeria with 50%, compared to Christians that are 40% of the population, only 20.1% of Muslim women in North West and North East zones practice FGM, where most Muslims reside (Okeke TC et al., 2012). In Niger, for example, only 2% of Muslim females have experienced FGM as compared to 55% of Christian women (UNICEF, 2013). However, more than half of the Muslim women who have been cut have undergone the unclassified type of FGM, which are the Angurya and Gishri type. On the other hand, a study by UNICEF in 2016 reveals that in the south and central parts of Nigeria 31.4% and 29.3% of females practice FGM respectively (UNICEF, 2016). This proves that FGM is not linked to one religion. Since in countries like Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Niger the prevalence is much more greater in the Christian religion than in Islam. As a matter of fact, it is simply a cultural practice that has been performed by the older generation for thousands of years and is migrating to countries outside Africa, for example, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In 2012, Public Health Reports published that 513 thousand girls in the United States are at risk of undergoing FGM (PMC, 2016).
d. Male’s attitudes towards FGM
The main reason behind the FGM practice is social acceptance, which happens through preserving the female’s virginity and diminishing sexual sensation. It is believed that this avoids bringing any “disgrace” to the girl’s family. However, there haven’t been many systematic surveys done on the male’s attitudes towards the practice of FGM. But available research shows that in some countries more men are willing to express their desires to end FGM than women. For example, In Guinea; the country with the second highest prevalence of FGM in the world 38% of men are against FGM and wish to end it, as compared to only 21% of women. 46% of the men in Guinea expressed that FGM does not have any benefits and that it is purely related to culture and traditions compared to 10% of women that believe that FGM is beneficial to the female health. Men are showing evidence of the increasing desire and push to end FGM (UNICEF, 2016).