“Female Circumcision (FGM/C): between the Incorrect Use of Science and the Misunderstood Doctrine”
Cairo- October 8th, 2013- The International Islamic Centre for Population Studies and Research of Al Azhar University and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have jointly released a publication on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. The implementation of the document’s recommendations will be done in cooperation with the National Population Council. The book presents comprehensive answers by prominent scholars and experts clarifying misleading ideas over religious, health and traditional norms surrounding this harmful practice.
According to UNICEF today more than 125 million girls and women worldwide have under-gone some form of FGM/C in 29 countries across Africa and the Middle East. Another 30 million girls are at risk of being cut in the next decade.
In Egypt, overall support to FGM/C is declining and the practice is slowly decreasing. The prevalence of FGM/C decreased from 76 per cent in 2005 to 74 per cent in 2008 for girls aged 15-17. However, collective efforts are needed to accelerate and sustain progress towards the elimination of this harmful practice.
“FGM/C has no health benefits and is associated with immediate and long term complications which endanger the life and health of the female child. It also has deleterious effects on the child's future reproductive and psychological health. Healthcare providers should refrain from performing this harmful procedure as it violates the code of medical ethics and has no religious basis what so ever and is criminalized.” said Professor Dr Gamal Serour, Director of the International Islamic Center for Population and Research, Al Azhar University.
Latest data indicates that 72 per cent of FGM/C cases in Egypt were performed by medical doctors. "The Egyptian Government renews its commitment for enhancing FGM abandonment strategies through stressing on the importance of raising awareness on the harmful effects of FGM as a practice that has no religious grounds; and the enforcement of legislations criminalizing FGM especially by physicians who violate the medical code of ethics." said Dr. Abdel Hamid Abaza – Assistant Minister of Health for Family and Population
The release of the publication coincides with the upcoming celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child. “As clearly demonstrated by Al Azhar University scholars and medical experts, there is no religious nor medical justification for FGM/C. Putting an end to this practice will improve the health and well-being of girls and women and safeguard some of their fundamental rights. It is everyone’s responsibility to speak out and help put an end to this harmful practice and we look forward to continue working with all our partners to this end” said Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative in Egypt.