Ally Fogg: The law will not end infant circumcisions, but education just might

Our thanks to Patrick for this piece in yesterday’s Guardian. The idea that education will ever end MGM is a fantasy held by those afraid of confronting those who mutilate boys’ genitals on religious and/or cultural grounds, and benefit financially. It ignores the psychology behind why the practise continues – males have to be taught to attach value to their mutilations, in order that they circumcise their own sons. It ignores the empathy gender gap. And the article doesn’t even point out that MGM is already illegal in the UK. An extract:

Personally, I would like to see an end to all non-medical infant circumcision, but I recognise that any attempt at a legal ban is entirely the wrong approach. Rightly or wrongly, it would be perceived as an attempt to force assimilation on Jewish and Muslim communities, and would require them to leave the country in order to observe their religion. It would also encourage the very same backstreet, blackmarket practices that pose by far the greatest medical risks.

A similar argument could, of course, be used for FGM.

The piece has attracted 658 comments so far, the one with the most upvotes (227) is from ‘bettycallmeal’:

It’s absolute barbarism. I say this as a man brought up Jewish and ritually mutilated at the age of 8 days, obviously without my consent.

I don’t give a toss about what the Bible or Quran says when it comes to inflicting savage pain and permanent bodily alterations to babies, and neither should the law. Religions were very clever at securing the next generation of adherents hundreds of years ago by forcing parents to brand their children on pain of eternal damnation. It’s ridiculous now though and should be banned.

And if people have to leave the country to observe their religion as a result, so be it.




2 thoughts on “Ally Fogg: The law will not end infant circumcisions, but education just might

  1. The article itself is of less interest to me than the comments. For a newspaper whose readership generally have little sympathy for issues effecting men and boys, it is an encouraging snapshot of current opinion.

  2. This is from looking at Muslin and Jewish sources.

    The Quran does not asked for circumcision, it forbids altering one’s body. The practise comes from some hadiths which relate actions or deeds of the prophet and his close followers. Other hadiths conflict with these so there is no definite ruling one way or the other. The prophet if circumcised, there is some doubt on this too, as it is said he was born without a foreskin, would have been because of an Arab tribal tradition, so is not handed down from God. Both the Hanafi and Maliki Schools of Islam (which comprise the vast majority of Muslims world-wide) don’t consider circumcision obligatory, merely highly recommended for adult men. Therefore it make sense the boy must be allowed to get to the age of consent before deciding to be circumcised. So it is perfectly possible to be a muslin man and not be circumcised. It is purely symbolic.

    The earliest versions of the Bible do not include Abraham being requested to circumcise his son. Also the type of circumcision now performed by Rabbis is not the originally minor cut that Jesus would have experienced. The more severe version now performed comes from Greek influences.

    So the religious defense is rather weak. Muslim and Jews women are both considered part of their faiths without being cut. Why should men be any different since their religions do not strictly require it?

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