Mariya Karimjee was just a little girl when she experienced a horror shared by millions of women around the world.
“When I was 7 years old, my mother took me to a lady in the neighborhood, where I underwent a ritualized cutting,” Karimjee says. “I later realized that this was female genital mutilation.”
The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is February 6.
Globally, it is estimated that 100 million to 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), according to the United Nations Population Fund.
Health effects of FGM/C include bleeding, shock, infection, infertility and risk of childbirth complications, including newborn death.
Governments, nongovernmental organizations and religious leaders, like Imam Mohamed Magid, condemn the practice. “Those who believe that FGM is a religious practice, they misunderstand the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,” says Magid.