Female circumcision is not genital mutilation, Islamic scholar, medical expert insist

Female circumcision is not genital mutilation, Islamic scholar, medical expert insist

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FEMALE circumcision practised under Islamic injunction has been distinguished from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which has been condemned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as not having any health benefit.

A renowned scholar, Sheikh Abdul-Hafeez Ariremako, made the clarification in Ibadan, Oyo State, at a programme organised by the Group of Muslim Professionals in commemoration of WHO’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

Speaking on the topic “Female Circumcision: Any Benefit at all?” Ariremako said the global effort against female genital mutilation is in accordance with Islamic practice which prohibits mutilation of female genitals.

He, however, stressed that female circumcision could be successfully carried out by licensed medical experts – without any complications.

The scholar, who maintained that female circumcision is not only a health issue but also a socio-cultural and religious practice, said despite the controversies surrounding abortion, it has been legitimised in some parts of the world and accommodated under the public health policy in order to prevent quackery and avoidable complications.

“Female circumcision deserves an equal, if not a better, treatment,” he added.

Also speaking at the programme, a veteran medical doctor said in the campaign against female genital mutilation, it should be clearly distinguished from female circumcision which, according to him, is still being practiced in communities worldwide.

The medical practitioner, who pointed out that researches had not established significant health benefits of female circumcision, maintained, however, that disregarding its socio-cultural and religious benefits would amount to nothing but cultural imperialism.

While advising against the circumcision of the female child by quacks and in unsafe environment, he identified the resultant complications as including genital infections, bleeding, narrowing of the orifice and contraction of deadly diseases like Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and hepatitis.

According to him, all these are preventable if the government could accommodate female circumcision under public health policy.

Both the doctor and Sheikh Ariremako unanimously held that “a well-executed female circumcision makes partners more comfortable during coitus.” This, they regarded as a social benefit of female circumcision which facilitate faithfulness among couples. According to them, “it indirectly scales down the spread of s3xually transmitted diseases (STDs).”

The programme, which was attended by Muslim professionals from all walks of life under the chairmanship of the Library Coordinator and Chief Imam of Fountain University, Osogbo, Alhaji Sirajudeen Bakrin, was also graced by the Webmaster of the University of Ibadan, Alhaji Abdul-Hafeez Adelopo.

February 23, 2018 (Nigerian Tribune)

By Saheed Salawu

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