Fa Abdul was nine years old when she found out that she was circumcised when she was just a baby.
- A study in 2012 revealed that 93% of Muslim women in Malaysia were pruned
- Women circumcised are not prescribed in the Koran or Hadith, say women advocates
- One mother says the culture and society of Malaysia "awaited us to do it"
She was among the millions of girls across Malaysia whose families believe female circumcision protects young girls from committing "sin."
"Many Muslims in Malaysia will tell you that circumcision will protect girls from growing up and become wild," said Ms. Abdul.
Ms. Abdul talked to ABC about her experience after a new documentary – under the title The Hidden Cut – was released last week.
Chen Ii Veng, a senior producer from the group behind the documentary film R.AGE, said the team began filming a documentary after Malaysia was criticized at the United Nations Forum in February.
The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, held in Switzerland, condemned the country for the continuous practice of female circumcision or female genital mutilation.
Producers of documentaries have found that the procedures are widely performed in private clinics and are not regulated.
"The government said they were developing guidelines in 2012, but none of the doctors we interviewed said they received it," Ven said.
Ms. Abdul – who is a reporter and works to publish online news Malezija – gave birth to her first child, a girl, in her 20s.
"Just follow and stop asking questions"
Due to religious and family pressure, her daughter was subjected to female circumcision.
"The doctor pulled out the lacy and used something that looked like a needle to slit the clitoral hood," she said.
"A [flow] the blood came out, and then my daughter began to cry. "
Decades later, Mrs. Abdul's look at female circumcising has changed dramatically after learning that she has no medical benefits and that it is simply a religious practice.
"We were already born in a culture and that society expected us to do it," she said.
"By acting automatically, just follow and stop asking questions.
"I was young and naive, and in fact I did not know what I was doing-the question I asked was," If it's pointless, then why do we do it? " ""
"We confuse this with Islam"
In Malaysia there are several cultural dimensions of pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care. (Flickr, Takirumi)
A women's rights group based in Kuala Lumpur – called Sisters of Islam – told ABC that female circumcision was widely accepted in Malaysia due to a growing conservative movement.
In countries where Islam is a major religion, according to Sisters of Islam, there is a tendency to "Islamize everything."
"People are scared to question practice, as if they are questioning God," said Siarifatul Adibah, a senior program officer from Islamic Sisters.
"[Female circumcision] not prescribed by the Koran or Hadith [a collection of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings], "Added Ms. Adiba.
"But when they consider something as a religious ordain or fatva, then it's hard for people to really challenge and debate this issue."
In 2009, the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs (JAKIM) in Malaysia ruled that female circumcision had become mandatory, moving from recommendation, but if it had to be avoided.
As a result, three years later, a study by Dr. Maznah Dahlui of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Malaya revealed that 93 per cent of Muslim Muslim women were circumcised.
More than 80 percent of respondents said they were behind religious reasons, while 16 percent said they were controlling sexual drives.
Ms. Abdul said that there was a taboo that there was no circumcision for many Muslim women. (Reuters: Niimas Laula, File)
Ms. Abdul said that society often makes many things that copy behavior from African and Arab countries and defile it as a religious origins.
"We confuse this with Islam and we think that everything they do is Islamic," she said.
She also said regardless of religion or cultural tradition, parents have no right to do whatever they want to do to their children.
"Not just women, but every human being has the right to her body," she said.
ABC contacted the Malaysian Ministry of Health, the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia and the Penang Medical College, but did not respond to comment requests.
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