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Mufti Bans Female Circumcision

Reuters, June 25, 2007

Egypt's state-appointed Grand Mufti said today female genital cutting is forbidden by Islam.

Genital cutting of girls, often referred to as female genital mutilation or circumcision, is banned in Egypt although the practice remains widespread as a rite of passage for girls and is often viewed as a way to protect their chastity.

The statement was the strongest yet against the practice by the Mufti, who is the government's official arbiter of Islamic law. The Grand Sheikh of Cairo's prestigious al-Azhar mosque, Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, had previously described the practice as un-Islamic, although some other clerics have supported it.

Both Tantawi and Coptic Pope Shenouda, the leader of Egypt's minority Christian community, have said that neither the Koran nor the Bible demand or mention female circumcision, which is usually performed on pre-pubescent girls.

Girl's death

The statement came after Budour Ahmed Shaker died on Thursday while undergoing the procedure in the southern province of Minya after she was given a large dose of anaesthetics, security sources said.

Egypt's doctors' syndicate has launched an investigation into the death, an Egyptian newspaper said. The girl's father has filed a lawsuit against the doctor for negligence and the doctor could face up to two years in jail, the security sources said.

 

The practice is performed on both Muslim and Christian girls in Egypt and Sudan, but is extremely rare in most of the rest of the Arab world. It is also common in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

A 2005 UNICEF report on the practice showed that 97 per cent of Egyptian women between the ages of 15 and 49 had been circumcised.

Original article

(Posted on June 26, 2007)

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The practice is performed on both Muslim and Christian girls in Egypt and Sudan, but is extremely rare in most of the rest of the Arab world. It is also common in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Thus, it's clear (as Sonya had pointed out several months ago) that this is an African, not Islamic, custom. It's also a cultural practice, not a religious one.

Nevertheless, ignorant people (which means the vast majority, especially with Moslems) commonly confuse what is cultural with what is religious.

It will be interesting to see how long this mufti retains his job. Or perhaps the official position of Egypt is beginning to shift. I recall that there was a physician or professor in Egypt who, several years ago, wrote a treatise stating that there was no requirement in Islam for [male] circumcision, and asserting furthermore that it was not even mentioned in the Koran at all. There was a huge outpouring of public indignation over this simple statement of fact, and as a result he was fired from his position and imprisoned (probably for insulting Islam or blasphemy). The fact that anyone could easily verify that circumcision is nowhere mentioned in the Koran was clearly beside the point. Culture and religion had become intertwined, and public emotions were stronger in this case than evidence and fact.

Posted by ghw at 8:09 PM on June 26

/ym/Compose?To=sailor4330@bellsouth.net

Keep in mind that male circumcision is widespread as well within Christian countries, and there is no massive outcry against that.

Posted by a blue communist at 12:56 AM on June 27

Keep in mind that male circumcision is widespread as well within Christian countries, and there is no massive outcry against that.
Posted by a blue communist


That's because we have feminists to raise a hue and cry. And they know how to get attention. (Note that there was no fuss about this until the rise of feminism; nobody ever heard of such a custom.)

But we don't have, um, machoists  to do the same for males.

Posted by voter at 3:06 PM on June 27

Very sad. I wish countries would recognize that all genital mutilation is wrong.

Posted by Bill M. at 4:52 PM on June 27

/ym/Compose?To=sailor4330@bellsouth.net

Keep in mind that male circumcision is widespread as well within Christian countries, and there is no massive outcry against that.

Well, perhaps in the USA it is still commonplace, but certainly in Europe it is something of a rarity.

http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/

Posted by at 11:24 PM on June 27

Keep in mind that male circumcision is widespread as well within Christian countries, and there is no massive outcry against that

There is a total difference. Nobody is cutting of the male's genitals, just removing a small flap of skin for hygienic purposes and it is done in a sterile environment by trained medical personnel. The male is not disfigured nor does it impede any of his activities, ie. sexual etc. later in life. Of course it's up to the parents.

Posted by at 8:38 AM on June 28

Source: http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2007/06/mufti_bans_fema.php

 

 

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