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Religion, Health, and Human Rights Views on Female Circumcision: To Extensively Forbid or Incontestably Acquiesce?

Abdul Manan, Budi Satria, Cut Intan Salasiyah, Zubaidah and Suraiya


Published: 2024/03/01


The debatable practice of female circumcision (FC) triggers various responses, both in the countries where it is practiced and elsewhere. This article contributes to the debate by presenting the perspectives of 19 informants on the long-established practice of FC in Aceh (Indonesia). Though many of the informants agree that when properly regulated the practice benefits sexual desire, holiness and heredity, some also argue that a prolonged depression can result from the custom. Religious teachings are ambiguous on this matter, and there is debate of whether the practice is contrary to religious teaching and whether it can harm the woman’s health. Some contend that FC procedures are a form of discrimination against women. To offer a solution, the symbolic FC in this study may suggest a unique condition where the three domains remain balanced, while preserving the custom. Keywords: Cultural tradition, Discourse analysis, Ritual, Islam, Female circumcision, Aceh, Indonesia

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