Former UN Adviser Defends Female Genital Mutilation as 'Gender-Egalitarian Surgery'

May 5, 2017

A former United Nations adviser who also previously worked for the U.S. government defended the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) during a Wednesday appearance on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

Dr. Fuambai Ahmadu, a former lead consultant at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and former health specialist at the National Institute of Child Health, has long been an advocate for FGM and voluntarily underwent the practice herself. She is an anthropologist and recently worked for the government of Sierra Leone.

Ahmadu told Carlson that she prefers the term "female circumcision" for the practice, during which part or all of a woman's sexual organs are removed for entirely non-medical reasons. She complained that Michigan doctor Jumana Nagarwala was recently arrested for performing a surgery that amounts to "a nick."

The New York Times reports that the "nick" Nagarwala performed "was so painful that [the girl] screamed and could barely walk afterward."

"If we do practice genital cutting here in the U.S. on boys, then it should not be impossible to understand that there are cultures, there are societies that practice what certain people are calling gender-inclusive genital surgeries,"Ahmadu argued.

"I just don't want it in my culture, in my society," Carlson retorted.

"Well, in our culture we don't discriminate,"Ahmadu said. "We have gender-egalitarian surgeries."

FGM is a felony in the United States, punishable with up to five years in prison. Human rights organizations like the World Health Organization and the United Nations consider the practice a violation of human rights, designed to control and degrade women.

Ahmadu is currently the editor in chief a women's quarterly magazine "dedicated to empowering circumcised women and girls in Africa and worldwide," according to her website.

Published under: United Nations , Women