Let there be no doubt this is a brutal, painful, humiliating and completely unnecessary procedure performed only because of tradition. This is done to millions of women every year usually without proper anesthetic, sterilization, equipment or training. The World Health Organization points out these important facts (here):
Yesterday Jane Onyanga-Omara of the BBC reiterated the call to put an end to this form of misogynistic torture. She points out that men really need to step up to the plate to help on the issue and I wholeheartedly agree.
She also correctly points out that no religion requires this but there is no denying the connection to religion. It is an added practice to the brutal oppression of women in predominately Islamic nations. The removal of the clitoris is viewed as a tool to maintain sexual purity in women, important to religious practice. In these mostly (or entirely) theocratic countries women do not have the right to say no, also a result of religious tradition.
We all need to join in the call to put an to this barbaric practice. Speak Up and spread the word.