London Free Press
Why is Ramadan, the month in which Muslims redouble their efforts to please Allah, the “traditional time for girls to be cut”? Reuters shows no curiosity about this. The answer is because female genital mutilation has justification in Islamic law, and Islamic law is considered divine law, superseding all human law.
This story repeats the usual establishment media line: “People in countries where FGM is still common attempt to link it to religion, but the practice has nothing to do with any faith and predates both Christianity and Islam. It has also been denounced by religious leaders worldwide.”
That is only partially true, at best.
Yes, “people in countries where FGM is still common attempt to link it to religion”: “It is a religious thing. Do you want to change religion?” said one Egyptian in response to a campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation. “You only listen to what the West is saying.”
However, the establishment media ignores the fact that actually FGM is mandated in Islamic law: “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” — Umdat al-Salik e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64
Why is it obligatory? Because Muhammad is held to have said so: “Abu al- Malih ibn Usama’s father relates that the Prophet said: ‘Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.’” — Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75
“Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: ‘Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.’” — Abu Dawud 41:5251
That hadith is classified as weak, but this one is classified as sahih (reliable): “Aishah narrated: ‘When the circumcised meets the circumcised, then indeed Ghusl is required. Myself and Allah’s Messenger did that, so we performed Ghusl.’” — Jami` at-Tirmidhi 108
If Muhammad had the genitals of his favorite wife, Aisha, mutilated, that is a strong endorsement of the practice from the man who is an “excellent example” (Qur’an 33:21) for Muslims.
Why does it matter whether or not FGM is Islamic? Because the practice will never be eradicated if its root causes are not confronted. As long as those Muslims continue to believe that Allah and Muhammad want it done, for some that will override all other considerations, in Sudan and everywhere else.
Somalia’s coronavirus lockdown has led to a huge increase in female genital mutilation (FGM), with circumcisers going door to door offering to cut girls stuck at home during the pandemic, a charity said on Monday.
Plan International said the crisis was undermining efforts to eradicate the practice in Somalia, which has the world’s highest FGM rate, with about 98% of women having been cut.
“We’ve seen a massive increase in recent weeks,” said Sadia Allin, Plan International’s head of mission in Somalia….
She told the Thomson Reuters Foundation nurses across the country had also reported a surge in requests from parents wanting them to carry out FGM on their daughters while they were off school because of the lockdown.
FGM, which affects 200 million girls and women globally, involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia. In Somalia the vaginal opening is also often sewn up – a practice called infibulation.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has warned that the pandemic could lead to an extra two million girls worldwide being cut in the next decade as the crisis stymies global efforts to end the practice.
Allin said families in Somalia were taking advantage of school closures to carry out FGM so that the girls had time to recover from the ritual, which can take weeks.
The economic downturn caused by coronavirus has also spurred cutters to tout for more business, she said. “The cutters have been knocking on doors, including mine, asking if there are young girls they can cut. I was so shocked,” said Allin, who has two daughters aged five and nine.
She said restrictions on movement during the lockdown were making it harder to raise awareness of the dangers of FGM in communities….
The UNFPA, which estimates 290,000 girls will be cut in Somalia in 2020, said the spike was also linked to Ramadan, which is a traditional time for girls to be cut….
By: Ador Vincent Mayol - Senior Reporter / Inquirer Visayas
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Cases of internet-based sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines continued to go up, with eight out of every 10 perpetrators related by blood or affinity to the victims, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by the International Justice Mission (IJM), found that the estimated number of internet protocol (IP) addresses used for internet-based child sexual exploitation in the country rose 250 percent from 23,333 in 2014 to 81,723 in 2017.
“The results of the study show that Osec (online sexual exploitation of children) is a growing and heinous crime,” Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said in a statement released by the IJM. Villar is in charge of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“We need to act as a global community — ending impunity in both source countries like the Philippines,’’ she said. “The Philippine government is committed to sustaining our collaboration with international law enforcement agencies in combating this threat against our children.”
The IJM released on May 21 the study titled “Online Sexual Exploitation of Children in the Philippines: Analysis and Recommendations for Governments, Industry and Civil Society.”
Child porn on FB
Authorities have asked Facebook to give up data of those behind the “alarming proliferation” of pages on the social media platform that promote child pornography during the COVID-19 community quarantine.
The DOJ, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police said the platform was being used to distribute and publish child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM) online.
Certain Facebook pages with suggestive names are used to promote and facilitate exchanges of child pornography among the members, the law enforcement agencies said in a statement.
The administrators and members of such Facebook pages manage to evade law enforcers by regularly changing their names and keeping the pages private.
The agencies asked the public to report to law enforcement authorities goings-on on Facebook “that tend to prejudice a child’s physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, psychological and social well-being.”
The IJM study, conducted from 2017 to 2019, stated that the Philippines was a “global hot spot” for children’s abuse online.
It examined 90 cases that were investigated between 2011 and 2017, involving 381 victims.
Among the 43 victims for whom the exact length of abuse was known, the average length of abuse was two years, ranging from two months to four years.
An analysis of victim profiles showed that the median age was only 11, with the youngest less than 1 year old.
Another unsettling finding, IJM said, was that 41 percent of the abuses were facilitated by biological parents and 42 percent by other relatives—or at least 83 percent by people related to child victims.
The study, however, was unable to measure the prevalence of Osec—a subset of internet-based child sexual exploitation—due to inconsistencies in the quality of reporting by electronic service providers (ESPs) and because ESPs are not currently detecting livestreamed abuse.
Since technology was yet to be developed or deployed by ESPs to detect livestreamed abuse, the IJM said it was often uncovered only when a foreign law enforcement agency identified an offender for a different but related offense like possession or sharing of CSEM.
Foreign authorities’ referrals
The study revealed that 64 percent of Philippine Osec cases were initiated by referrals from foreign authorities.
“The tech industry should prioritize detection of all child sexual exploitation materials—especially newly created CSEM and livestreaming—because of the gravity of harm that repeated sexual exploitation causes victims,” IJM Philippines director Samson Inocencio Jr. said in a press statement.
“There are children who need rescue now, but rescue starts with timely detection and robust reporting,” he added.
The study recommended legislation expanding ESP reporting requirements to make CyberTipline reports more useful to law enforcement; greater international law enforcement collaboration, such as placing foreign police liaisons in source countries; and implementing child-protective measures and trauma-informed care from rescue to reintegration.
It also proposed increasing Osec-dedicated staffing, budget and collaboration among law enforcement agencies, and improving collaboration in information and intelligence-sharing, measurement and data collection and research on Osec.
The study was made in partnership with the government, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other concerned parties under the US-Philippines Child Protection Compact Partnership between the US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Philippine government.
Thomas Brewster Forbes Staff
There’s been a huge spike in reports of online child sexual exploitation during the time of COVID-19, Forbes has learned.
The U.S.-based nonprofit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) said it had recorded a 106% increase in CyberTipline reports of suspected child sexual exploitation—rising from 983,734 reports in March 2019 to 2,027,520 in the same month this year.
The CyberTipline is huge not only for law enforcement—which initiates investigations based on tips—but also for tech companies like Facebook, Google and other social media platforms. The U.S. tech industry files reports of child exploitation images and videos found on their sites and apps to NCMEC, which then triages the tips and sends them to the relevant police agency.
Some sources have linked the rise in online child abuse to lockdowns enforced by national governments in response to COVID-19. “Due to the confinement and the fact that now, everybody, including our children, are spending more time online means there is increasing exposure to these operators who are looking for opportunities to engage with them and to contact them,” acting head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Center Fernando Ruiz told Forbes.
Other current and former American police officers told Forbes they’d also seen a sharp increase in child abuse, but not only online. There’s also been a jump in physical abuse at home.
“We’ve seen a very significant rise because, if we think about it, for some children, we are locking them in the house. With the person who’s victimized, their only escape is outside the house,” said one, who asked to remain anonymous as they weren’t authorized to talk on the record. “And we’re adding stressors, like that person [the victimizer] may have financial concerns because they're out of a job, and all those things are boiling over. So it’s not just sexual abuse, but physical physical violence against family.”
But, despite the assumed link between COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and increased child abuse, a NCMEC spokesperson said it couldn’t be so sure about the connection. It may be that the reason for the rise in fact stems from the fact that more people are working from home and have more time on their hands to report illegal imagery.
“A significant factor contributing to the dramatic increase are several child sexual abuse videos that went ‘viral’ in recent weeks,” the spokesperson added. “In one case, the video was widely shared because people were outraged and trying to help identify and rescue the victim.”
They added, however, that kids and adults are spending more time online, “so there’s likely an impact of more reports or more incidents—we just don’t know how big of an impact.”
Dark web discussion
The spokesperson noted, however, that it had heard of “instances where child predators are using the dark net to discuss stay-at-home orders and use the opportunity to entice children to produce sexually explicit material.” The dark net, or deep web, is the part of the internet that’s routed through what’s known as the Tor Network, which sends website visitors through multiple servers and encrypts all their traffic to protect users’ privacy.
Europol’s Ruiz confirmed that his investigators had seen the same. “We have seen how in some posts uploaded to [dark web] forums they talk about seizing the opportunity of this confinement and the increased exposure of children online as a possibility to access them and increase production of material.”
If you’re one of those people who publicly shared abuse material in the hope that it’ll help increase awareness, you might want to stop. As the NCMEC spokesperson noted, it’s illegal to share images and videos of child sexual abuse, even if you’re trying to help.