The "cruel" and "gruesome" practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) has become a thorny issue in the United States.
The practice done on girls mostly in Muslim-majority countries has been denounced by some of its victims who have found the courage to speak out on this largely taboo subject matter in the countries where the practice is prevalent, CBN News reported.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, FGM is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons.
The U.N. body estimates that some 200 million girls and women still living today have been subjected to FGM, which is widely practiced in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab states. It is also practiced in some countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, and also among migrant populations throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
FGM poses serious danger to the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women, resulting in complications like severe pain, shock, hemorrhage, and tetanus or infection, among other health problems, UNPF states.
In December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution urging countries to ban FGM, calling it an "irreparable and irreversible abuse," Seeker reported.
Female genital mutilation was performed before Islam came into existence and it's not dictated by the Quran, Islam's holy book, according to scholars. Nevertheless, FGM is largely practiced by Muslims, although there are conflicting views among them on whether the practice is tied to their faith.
Sheik Yousef Al Badri, of Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, addressed the issue in a documentary film titled "Honor Diaries."
"Circumcision is the reason why Muslim women are virtuous, unlike Western women who run after their sexual appetite in any place with any man," he says in the film.
However in the same documentary, a doctor named Dr. Qanta Ahmed says, "Female genital mutilation is not advocated in Islam in any way, shape or form."
Women who have been subjected to FGM have come out to denounce the practice. Mariam Bojang, one of them, found it difficult to describe the torture she underwent.
"The experience of FGM is, oh my, I don't even think there is a word on earth I can describe it with. It's cruel, gruesome, no one on earth, I wouldn't even wish it on my enemy, that's how gruesome it is," she said in a CBN News video.
She earlier described her ordeal in excruciating detail in an interview with Global Woman Peace Foundation in April 2016.
The U.S. Congress has already passed legislation making it illegal to perform FGM in the United States and that girls must leave the country to have the procedure performed elsewhere, a practice known as "vacation cutting."
A similar legislation has reportedly been enacted in 24 states in the U.S.