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Fauziya Kassindja
ISBN # : 9780593041611
Publisher: Bantam Books
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Fauziya Kassindja describes her upbringing in a small Western Africa village as "part modern, part traditional, and Muslim throughout." Her Muslim father did not force his daughters to wear veils and encouraged their individualism. Most importantly, Kassindja's father instilled in her a distrust and fear of female circumcision, a controversial procedure still performed in many parts of the world. Tragically for Fauziya, he would die an untimely death, but his emphatic disgust at this dangerous and life-threatening operation had a remarkable effect on his daughter. She would flee the country just hours before her own circumcision, eventually arriving in the United States, where she faced an immigration nightmare.
Fauziya recounts her harrowing ordeals in both Africa and the United States with eloquence and remarkable depth. Her initial navet in assuming that she would automatically gain asylum only adds to the tragedy of her story, as she instead faces isolation and religious persecution in high-security prisons. She graphically describes the horrors of strip searches and a terrible sickness that was ignored by prison staff.

This is a book of unspeakable despair put into words as well as a remarkable friendship forged between Fauziya and her lawyer (and contributing editor) Layli Miller Bashir, who was at the fore of Fauziya's case and brought national attention to the plight of these females seeking asylum. Fauziya gained her political asylum in June 1996, but the book ends on a cautionary note; the immigration process for these women is still arduous and often unsuccessful.

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