Ismail Berdiyev, a leading mufti from Russia’s North Caucasus region, has called for the universal use of clitoridectomy, or female genital mutilation, for “all women to reduce lechery” and “sexuality.” The shocking and disgusting proclamation by Berdiyev is magnified by the the supportive public statement by a senior priest in the Russian Orthodox Church, Vsevolod Chaplin, who wrote on Facebook: “My sympathies for the mufti. I hope he doesn’t retreat from his position because of the howls and hysterics which will start now.”
Berdiyev insisted that FGM is the only moral course for women and that “All women should be cut, so that there is no depravity on Earth.” He explained that “It is necessary to reduce a woman’s sexuality, and it would be good if this [FGM] were done to all women. God created women so that they can have children and bring them up. This [FGM] has nothing to do with that; women do not stop giving birth after having this done.”
Of course, FGM is widely viewed as a criminal act of abuse — an act that has been performed on some 200 million women and girls. It is condemned by the United Nations and doctors worldwide as harmful and discriminatory.
When international groups and leading advocates denounced Berdiyev, the Mufti insisted that it was a “joke.” Not to suggest that a religious figure would ever knowingly lie, but reading the comments above would not seem a joke in any language. It is a detailed advocacy for FGM, which is notoriously common in that area.
As for Chaplin, he certainly did not take it as a joke and defended the Mufti’s support for “his time-honored traditions, recognized by the majority of women living under this tradition.” Chaplin then added that “feminism is a 20th century lie.” However, he also noted that the reason FGM is not required for Christian women is that “they are not debauched anyway.”