hroughout history, the status and role of women in Islam has been seen as oppressive and degrading by western society. The women in Islamic society have, and continue to be treated cruelly and seen as inferior to men. Decade after decade, few changes and improvements regarding women's rights in Islam have been made, as inequality is still predominately evident in the lives of Muslim women today. However, this inferior status and unethical treatment is not due to Islamic religion, but is directly linked to past traditions, culture and values of specific countries. Due to Islamic integration into north African and middle eastern countires, these practices have spread throughout a larger area in the eastern hemisphere, and have been taken on by the Islamic society as a whole. The oppression and mistreating of women in Islam is not a result of the religion's central beliefs and ideologies, but is greatly influenced by the culture and traditions of north African and middle eastern countries.
The oppression and mistreating of women in Islam originated from the cultures and traditions of north African and middle eastern countries in which the religion is dominant in. Islam is the world's second largest religion, with an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims world-wide. One third of all Islamic followers are found in north African and middle eastern countires, predominately in Iraq, Somalia, Saudia Arabia, Turkey and Sudan (Desilver, 2013). Unfortunately, Islamic women face many oppressive and harmful rules and practices that they must abide by, mostly originating from these specific countries, not from the religion itself. Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is a very common, important practice in Islamic society. Female genital mutilation is the procedure in which a women has their clitoris excised, in order to block all sexual fulfilment and desires, promote hygiene, and to initiate one into women-hood (Chesler).