Egypt recently passed a new Child’s Law. One of the most controversial parts of the law was the criminalization of female circumcision, or FGM. I just did a story on this for yesterday’s edition of The World.

One things I discovered is that while the figure that’s commonly mentioned is that 96% of women in Egypt are circumcised, the figure for teenage girls is about 80% and they project (from government health surveys in which they ask mothers whether they plan to circumcise their daughters) that the rate for young girls will be 60% by 2015.

The Muslim Brotherhood made a big fuss over this law when it was discussed in parliament. One MP brought his circumcised daughters and wife to parliament as an argument for FGM. I had read about this and went to interview Saad Katatni, the head of the Brotherhood’s parliamentary block. He was much more diplomatic with me than his MPs had been in parliament. He actually said he recognizes that FGM isn’t required by Sharia. But he said it shouldn’t be banned because in some “exceptional cases” it’s needed. Pressed on what those exceptional cases might be, he said they were when the organ (he meant clitoris) “طويل طولا شاذا”, meaning “is perversely/abnormally long.” This harks back to the popular belief that female circumcision is necessary for some women whose clitorises otherwise would grow to a monstruous size. When I asked Katatni about the death of Budur (the schoolgirl who died last summer while undergoing FGM), he said isolated cases shouldn’t lead us to condemn the practice completely. He said: “If I as a doctor makes a mistake during a given operation, and the patient dies, do I discard this branch of medicine, do I erase this branch of science?”

0 thoughts on “FGM Ban”

  1. Truth Escapes Satans Grip

    I had a dream.
    I saw satan swimming slowly, languorously, smiling,
    wafting down a river of blood.
    More and more as he spread his blood drenched arms
    across each bank, people murdered themselves
    and murdered their neighbors.
    Their blood poured out filling the river deeper and deeper,
    and satan patiently, willfully, joyfully
    screeched a hideous cry of encouragement.
    The unwitting souls on the riverbank, stood
    with their eyes firmly fixed on the heavens
    spoke the name of God,
    then committed self-murder,
    and satans fingers, dripping blood, dragged their souls
    into his hell bound torrent.
    Occasionally a bright beam of truth
    would shine upon one of the souls on the riverbank
    and they would simply walk away.
    And satan thrashed and screamed each time
    as another soul escaped his grip.

    Through Grace Peace

  2. What benefit can FGM possibly bring a girl? Well, according to some middle-aged moralistic woman in a documentary on the topic I once saw, what if the girl’s husband gets a good job in the Gulf and has to be away for a couple of years to make money for the family? This will help her be a good girl while she waits.

    Oh yeah.

  3. But that’s their whole argument, no? FGM is necessary _because_ of the “benefits” it brings to girls: chastity, virginity, lack of wantonness or sexual wildness. Not to mention those abnormally large organs.

    I read that they passed the FGM article only after a clause had been added that it could be performed in cases of “medical necessity”. When would this ever be medically necessary?! And who decides? Medical practitioners have had some crazy ideas in the past. The origin of “hysteria,” to name just one.

  4. Apparently these people think that women are freaking horny cats that will hump the nearest chair if the look the other way.

    The problem is this is a deeply rooted tradition in these countries, probably ages old.

    Generations upon generations of women were mutilated through out hundreds of years. The girls mothers and grandmothers were mutilated and apparently they are fine and want their daughters to be mutilated too.

    I don’t think its very wise to simply ban the procedure. The people will simply find illegal ways to do it and its very hard to convince them that its bad since they simple want “benefits”, they fear their daughters will run wild and they believe that this is the vaccine. The men feel that their prestige, status and manhood is worth it.

    Does the health ministry have a plan to phase this tradition out other than under-toned TV ads and billboards?

    Does FGM really prevents promiscuity?

    Is the Muslim Brotherhood full of elephant shit?

  5. The whole debate abtly steers away from the subject of male sexuality. The thing I don’t get about Islam (no offense) is that — in the way it is portrayed by the MB, among others — it seems to assume that men are sexual maniacs, unable to control themselves if they see an unveiled woman (or in the presence of a woman with all her sexual organs intact). Surely man (men and women) is not an animal? What happened to self-control? Why all the aggro against women? — Just wondering…

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