Iraqi Kurdish four-year-old Shwen screams during her circumcision in Suleimaniyah on April 14, 2009. The parliament in Iraq's northern autonomous region of Kurdistan is preparing to outlaw female circumcision, according to a woman MP and a doctor who had long battled to halt the widespread practice. The German non-government group Wadi carried out research in 201 villages in the autonomous provinces and in the predominantly Kurdish Kirkuk area in September. It found that 3,502 out of 5,628 women and girls surveyed had been mutilated -- an average of more than 62 percent. While widespread in the African continent, it is not known how female circumcision was introduced into northern Iraq. The practice, encouraged by some clerics, does not appear to exist in other parts of the country. By Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images.
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