Egypt Imposes Total Ban On Female Genital Cutting

Armen Hareyan's picture

Female Genital Cutting

Egypt recently announced that it will impose a total ban on femalegenital cutting, rescinding a provision that allowed the practice to beperformed by qualified physicians in exceptional cases, BBC News reports (Abdelhadi, BBC News, 6/28).


Femalegenital cutting -- sometimes referred to as female circumcision orfemale genital mutilation -- is a practice in which there is a partialor full removal of the labia, clitoris or both. About 6,000 girlsundergo genital mutilation daily, and the World Health Organizationestimates that 100 million to 140 million women worldwide arecircumcised. At least 90% of women who undergo genital cutting live indeveloping countries -- such as Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone,Somalia and Sudan -- while almost no women undergo the practice inIran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, according to UNICEF (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 12/7/06).

Aspokesperson for the ministry of health said that under the ban, nomember of the medical profession would be allowed to perform theoperation in public or private clinics, adding that any person breaksthe law will be punished. The country's top religious authorities,including the head of the Coptic Church and Grand Mufti, have expressedunequivocal support for the ban, BBC News reports (BBC News, 6/28).

GrandMufti Ali Gomaa on Sunday said the practice is not allowed underIslamic law. He added, "The harmful tradition of [female] circumcisionthat 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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