One of Russia’s most important Orthodox priests, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, later published a Facebook post supporting Berdiev’s comments. In the post, he said the Muslim cleric’s critics were “feminist-howling” and referred to Berdiev as a great husband and and traditional, respectable man. He, too, said that women exist to procreate, and that feminism today is a lie. Chaplin did, however, say that Orthodox women have no need for FGM because they are not promiscuous.
Thankfully, Russian politicians quickly drafted a bill to further criminalize the procedure, and, shortly thereafter, Berdiev backtracked on his words. Wait till you see this…
Shortly after making his comments suggesting that all Russian women undergo FGM, Berdiev decided to backtrack, denying his previous statement but still insisting that something had to be done about social depravity in the country.
We don’t know what the cleric sees, but the real depravity is the fact that women are still being mutilated without scientific basis in 2016 in one of the world’s leading countries. Berdiev’s comments in the first place were prompted by a study published by the Russian Justice Initiative, a human rights foundation that found FGM was still happening in mountain communities in Russia’s Republic of Dagestan.
Thankfully, something good did come from this frightening support of a dangerous practice. Along with the religious leaders’ comments comes increased awareness of the prevalence of FGM in Russia. Politician Maria Maksakova-Igenbergs presented a bill to the Russian parliament earlier this week proposing ten years of imprisonment for those found guilty of committing FGM. She clarified, “FGM is mutilation based on sexual discrimination. Those carrying it out believe that they must do so to protect women from an ‘immoral lifestyle.'”
Unfortunately, this forward-thinking politician lost her spot in the party last May and is ending her term soon. She claims the vote was fixed.
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