The most common form of female genital cutting, representing about 80 percent of cases around the world, includes the excision of the clitoris and the labia minora. A more extreme version of the practice, known as Pharaonic circumcision or infibulation, accounts for 15 percent of cases globally and involves the removal of all external genitalia and a stitching up of the vaginal opening.The Times piece concludes that, "as Western awareness of female genital cutting has grown, anthropologists, policy makers and health officials have warned against blindly judging those who practice it, saying that progress is best made by working with local leaders and opinion-makers to gradually shift the public discussion of female circumcision from what it’s believed to bestow upon a girl toward what it takes away."
That bit is hard to swallow, especially as I feel outrage at the pain and fear I see in these girl's eyes. But a World Health Organization rep says, "For our culture that is not easily understandable. To judge them harshly is to isolate them. You cannot make change that way."