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Muslim-American immigrant on trial for genital cutting

The practice of female genital mutilation, termed "female circumcision" by some, is common in the Muslim world.

There are multiple types of female genital mutilation; they differ between Muslim communities, ranging from complete removal of the clitoris to near-complete destruction of the genital area. In Islam the goal of female genital mutilation is to prevent a woman from ever receiving sexual pleasure or being aroused. Female genital mutilation is regarded as a human rights violation by most human rights groups and is illegal in most Western countries.

This is why Khalid Adem, an Islamic immigrant to the United States from Ethiopia, faces up to 40 years in prison for cutting off his 2 year old daughter's clitoris with a pair of scissors. ABC News, Genital Cutting on Trial in Georgia Case:

The trial of an Atlanta-area father accused of circumcising his 2-year-old daughter with scissors is focusing attention on an ancient African practice that experts say is slowly becoming more common in the U.S. as immigrant communities grow.

Khalid Adem, a 31-year-old immigrant from Ethiopia, is charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children. Human rights observers said they believe this is the first criminal case in the U.S. involving the 5,000-year-old practice.

Prosecutors say Adem used scissors to remove his daughter's clitoris in their apartment in 2001. The child's mother said she did not discover it until more than a year later.

"He said he wanted to preserve her virginity," Fortunate Adem, the girl's mother, testified this week. "He said it was the will of God. I became angry in my mind. I thought he was crazy."

The girl, now 7, also testified, clutching a teddy bear and saying that Adem "cut me on my private part." Adem cried loudly as his daughter left the courtroom.

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