Egypt's child law Criminalizes Female Genital Mutilation

Written by Gulf News


June 09, 2008
By Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent
Gulf News
Egypt's child law is greeted with stiff opposition
Cairo: Mustafa, a father of three girls, is proud of having his children circumcised, and vows to do the same if he gets a new baby girl.  Under a new law passed by the Egyptian Parliament this week, female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM) is criminalised.

"This is nonsense," said Mustafa, a native of the south Egyptian city of Sohag who has been living in Cairo for around 20 years. "Circumcision for girls is a must as it protects their chastity," added the 48-year-old Muslim father. "Islam also encourages circumcision for girls as well."

Egypt's Mufti Ali Juma, the country's top Muslim cleric, has, however, branded the centuries-old tradition as sinful and un-Islamic. Egypt has intensified its fight against female circumcision after the death of two local girls last year due to complications from FGM procedure.

Heavy criticism

The new child law, which was greeted with heavy criticism from Islamist MPs, makes female circumcision a crime unless specialists rule it is a medical necessity.

The practice is believed to be widely spread in Egypt's countryside in particular. "The amendments to the old child laws reflect strange values and foreign cultures," said Mohammad Mokhtar Al Mahdi, a member of the Islamic Research Centre, an influential arm of Al Azhar, considered the Sunni Muslim world's leading institution. (Continue to full article)

Gulf News coversbreaking news, polls, opinion, pictures, live weather, sport and features from the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah), the Middle East and the world.  

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