Female Cutting Banned In Egypt

Female Cutting Banned InEgypt

06 July 2007

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An estimated ninety percent of Egyptian women have been subjected to genital mutilation. But after a twelve-year-old Egyptian girl died undergoing the procedure, Egyptian heath minister Hatem al-Gabali announced that any practice of female genital mutilation “will be viewed as a violation of the law and all contraventions will be punished.”

Egypt’s state-appointed Grand Mufti condemned female genital mutilation, saying it is forbidden by Islam. The Grand Sheikh ofCairo’s al-Azhar mosque, Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, previously described the practice as un-Islamic. And Coptic Pope Shenouda, the leader ofEgypt’s minority Christian community, said the Bible does not demand or mention female circumcision.

Egyptoriginally outlawed female genital mutilation in 1959, but subsequent decrees permitted some forms of the procedure. The practice involves cutting off part or all of the clitoris and other female genitalia, sometimes by a doctor but often by a relative or midwife. Side effects can be terrible, and include hemorrhage, shock, and sexual dysfunction and serious psychological or emotional distress.

Female genital mutilation is most prevalent in African countries, includingEthiopia,Eritrea, andSudan. Estimates of the number of women who have been subjected to this practice range as high as one-hundred thirty-million worldwide. And an estimated two-million girls are at risk each year.

Female genital mutilation is a harmful, traditional practice that threatens the health, basic rights and dignity of women. TheUnited Statesis working for the total elimination of the practice through education, empowerment of women, and enforcement of laws.

A key strategy is for non-governmental organizations, women’s groups, community leaders, and religious organizations to adopt culturally appropriate activities and reach out to all members of society, including men and boys. It is high time to eradicate this centuries-old violation of women and girls.

EgyptImposes Total Ban On Female Genital Cutting

Main Category: Women’s Health / OBGYN News
Article Date: 05 Jul 2007 – 12:00 PDT
Sexual Health / STDs
Egypt recently announced that it will impose a total ban on female genital cutting, rescinding a provision that allowed the practice to be performed by qualified physicians in exceptional cases, BBC News reports (Abdelhadi, BBC News, 6/28).

Female genital cutting — sometimes referred to as female circumcision or female genital mutilation — is a practice in which there is a partial or full removal of the labia, clitoris or both. About 6,000 girls undergo genital mutilation daily, and the World Health Organization estimates that 100 million to 140 million women worldwide are circumcised. At least 90% of women who undergo genital cutting live in developing countries — such as Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan — while almost no women undergo the practice in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, according to UNICEF (Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, 12/7/06).

A spokesperson for the ministry of health said that under the ban, no member of the medical profession would be allowed to perform the operation in public or private clinics, adding that any person breaks the law will be punished. The country’s top religious authorities, including the head of the Coptic Church and Grand Mufti, have expressed unequivocal support for the ban, BBC News reports (BBC News, 6/28).

Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa on Sunday said the practice is not allowed under Islamic law. He added, “The harmful tradition of [female] circumcision that is practiced in Egypt in our era is forbidden” (Reuters, 6/24). According to BBC News, the announcement comes after a young girl recently died while undergoing the procedure in a private medical clinic in Egypt (BBC News, 6/28).


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