Bohra Men Speak Out Against FGM

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) also known as khatna is formally defined as the intentional, non-therapeutic physical modification of female genitalia. In lay terms it means cutting a part of the clitoris of a woman. In real life terms it means , young girl children aged 6-8 are beguiled with a lure of candy or some other promise into an unknown place where another woman, sometimes, in a most crude and unhygienic manner with a razor or blade , without anaesthesia cuts a part of the clitoris. In some cases, it is done in a medical setting but the deceit and secrecy of the practice remains.

Female khatna falls under the World Health Organization’s definition of FGM when it is enforced on a child or an adult woman.

World over, FGM is being banned as it is seen as a practice which violates human and child rights, as it is practiced on children without their consent.

194 countries of the world are signatories of a UN resolution passed in December 2012 denouncing FGM and calling for its ban. Nigeria and Gambia recently banned this practice, as have 20 other countries in Africa.

India does not have a specific law against FGM, nor has the government engaged in any activity to create awareness against the practice of this ritual in India. The practice continues unabated amongst the Bohras, a Shia Ismaili sect. The practice predates Islam and Christianity and is a patriarchal cultural tradition that is surrounded by myth and misinformation.

FGM, physically, psychologically and emotionally harms girls and women, and hence, harms society as well. The practice of FGM is secretive and involves just the female members of the community, usually mother/grandmother and the girl child.

We, the undersigned men, would like to spread awareness against the practice and actively support the campaign to stop FGM .

Men Speak Against FGM is a group of men who have come out openly to support and to campaign together with the Bohra women who are spearheading a movement in the community to bring an end to this practice.

We pledge our support to all women in this campaign to end FGM. Read more >


"I have decided to hold off on this procedure for my daughter until she is 18, mature enough to take her own decisions and to have it performed under the guidance and supervision of a certified medical practitioner, if she wishes it.  I am not sure about FGM, but I am very sure that what I have decided is the right thing to do when you are confused from head to toe."

Anonymous father


"Female circumcision is a brutal practice. Among the Bohras it is imposed by the clergy as a tenet of faith but there is little doctrinal justification for it. The Sayedna says it is necessary and people follow him slavishly, for there is no option to say no given the culture of fear and unfreedom in the community. It is sad that young girls are subjected this atrocity, and still sadder that mothers do it to their daughters. This must be stopped. And, Inshallah, it will be stopped soon thanks to the struggle of brave Bohra women. More power to them." 

Shaukat Ajmeri


WeSpeakOut: For Women's Rights