Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a destructive, invasive procedure that is usually performed on girls before puberty. Part or all of the clitoris is surgically removed. This leaves them with reduced or no sexual feeling. Orgasms are sometimes impossible to experience later in life. Many health problems result from the surgery.
FGM originated in Africa. It was, and remains, a cultural, not a religious practice.
Among individuals and groups opposed to the mutilation, it is seen as a method of reducing the sexual response of women in order to make them less likely to become sexually active before marriage or to seek an extra-marital affair after marriage.
To some who promote the operation, it is seen as a cultural requirement that has health benefits and makes women more physically beautiful. These views are not shared by the rest of the world.
The operation is forced on approximately 6,000 girls per day, worldwide -- about one every 15 seconds. Since FGM is practiced when the girls are young, they are unable to give their informed consent.