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Friday, December 14, 2007

Egyptian sheikh sues to allow female genital mutilation

From Earthtimes:
In an act that has sparked outrage among Egyptian women's rights activists, a controversial Islamic scholar filed a lawsuit against the minister of health protesting a recent ban on female circumcision, a practice referred to by rights groups as female genital mutilation (FGM). Egyptian Sheikh Youssif al-Badri claimed the ministerial decree violated the Egyptian constitution as well as Islamic principles.

Conservative Muslim and Christian Egyptian families, have their daughters circumcised as a means to preserve their chastity. Recent studies revealed that about 90 per cent of Egyptian women have been subjected to the practice.

In June, the health ministry banned doctors and nurses from carrying out the procedure. The announcement followed the death of an 11-year-old girl in Upper Egypt as a result of the procedure. Medics who carry out circumcisions may face imprisonment and being stripped of their medical licenses.

While al-Badri argues that the practice is necessary in curbing women's sexual inclinations, women's rights activists and physicians disapprove of his view.

"Many of the circumcised women who seek our help were traumatised having no ability to lead a normal sex life, which affects their relationships with their husbands," said Nihad Abul-Qomsan, head of the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights.

...Egypt's top Islamic and Christian authorities were quick to voice support for the ban, saying the practice had no basis either in Koran or in the Bible.

"The constitution is based on the Islamic sharia law, which does not stipulate FGM, giving a wife the right to enjoy sex with her husband," Khalil Mustafa Khalil, who holds a masters degree in FGM legislation, told the independent al-Badeel newspaper.
I'm just wondering what university gives a masters degree in FGM legislation.