BY CATHERINE REILLY
A senior representative of the Islamic Cultural Centre, Clonskeagh, has informed the Medical Independent (MI) that “female circumcision” should not be banned “but reasonably practised”.
Female circumcision, also termed female genital mutilation (FGM), is illegal under the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012.
In 2010, Dr Ali Selim (PhD), a senior figure at the Clonskeagh mosque, put on record that the Centre opposed the proposed ban under the Criminal Justice FGM Act. In comments to multicultural newspaper Metro Éireann, he contended that the Centre was against FGM but not “female circumcision”. He referred to types of cutting to the female genitalia that are illegal under the legislation that commenced in 2012 and are categorised within the definition of FGM.
Contacted by MI for the latest position, Dr Selim answered: “I believe you know my stand in this regard. I adhere to it. It cannot be banned but reasonably practised.” He believed a saying of the Prophet Muhammad provides an Islamic context to “female circumcision”.
“Female circumcision is a matter that should be determined by a medical doctor. If the doctor thinks there is a need for it, then do it and if otherwise, then otherwise. If it is done, then it should be done carefully and safely and should be limited to the amount needed,” Dr Selim informed MI. He was unable to identify any specific alleged medical needs and when asked if this was a reference to matters around promiscuity, he said “no”. Later, the secretary to Sheikh Hussein Halawa, Imam at the Clonskeagh mosque, confirmed the position outlined by Dr Selim.
Informed of some of Dr Selim’s comments, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Coombe Women and Infants Hospital, Dublin, Prof Chris Fitzpatrick, said: “Female genital mutilation is a crime against young girls and women. There are no health benefits — just misery, suffering and ill-health for millions. It is a criminal offence for a doctor to perform FGM. There is no such thing as ‘reasonable practice’ or ‘limited excision’.” He said there are “many, many Muslims who oppose this barbaric practice”.
Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri, an Imam in Dublin, told MI that FGM/female circumcision “has no basis in Islam”, is harmful and should not be undertaken.
See feature: https://www.medicalindependent.ie/101213/pursuing_an_end_to_fgm