Incidence and Distribution of Genital Cutting Worldwide
Who Aren't Cut - and Who Are
Virtually all: Chinese, Japanese, North Koreans, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Burmese, Thais
Hindu, Sikh, Parsee and Christian Indians
Zulus, Shona, certain other African nations
most Melanesian and some Western Polynesian (Rennell, Bellona) peoples,
The great majority of: Europeans
men of the former Soviet Union
Central and South Americans
New Zealand Maori
Younger men of Britain and the Commonwealth, especially New Zealand and Australia
About half of: Malaysians (Hindu and Christian Tamils, Chinese and Orang Asli)
A significant minority of:
Americans, especially younger, Hispanic, and in the South West
Bangladeshis (20% are Hindu)
About 500,000,000 Muslims
More than 100,000,000 USAmericans
About 25,000,000 Filipinos
Some tens of millions of older men of Britain
and the Commonwealth
Some tens of millions of African tribesmen
About 14,000,000 South Koreans
Some hundreds of thousands of Central and Eastern Polynesians
(Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Niue, Tokelau)
and Melanesians (Fiji, Vanuatu, parts of Solomon Islands and small parts of PNG)
Some thousands of aboriginal Australians,
mainly in the north and west
Click on the map for a larger image.
Of necessity, this map generalises. In South Africa, for example, whites of British extraction (but not Afrkaners) circumcised "medically" until recently, Xhosa circumcise tribally and Zulus had stopped circumcising but have recently resumed. Even in Israel (barely visible even on the larger map), surprisingly many parents leave their sons intact.
On June 25, 2012, the District Court of Cologne ruled that circumcision of boys is a bodily injury, and doctors doing it could be punished.
On June 13, 2012, the Centre Party justice policy spokeswoman Jenny Klinge said the practice of ritually circumcising infant boys is outdated, dangerous, and should be banned.)
Circumsision is not yet legally questioned, but on April 26, 2010, the KNMG (Royal Dutch Medical Association) issued a policy urging its members not to perform it.
On June 19, 2006 the South African President assented to the Children's Act, which outlaws male genital cutting except for religious and medical purposes, or with the consent of a child over 16. (This has not seriously impeded non-therapeutic circumcision.)
On June 1, 2001, the Swedish Parliament passed a law restricting circumcision to licenced practitioners, except for religious circumcision in the first two months of life. The law comes into effect on October 1 and will be reviewed in four years.
Late in 1999, the Juridic Ombudsman of the Finnish Parliament, Riitta-Leena Paunio, noted that infant circumcision is not recommended without a medical reason and recommended that children should be consulted and should give their permission. She said the Finnish Parliament should weigh up the parents' religious rights over their children against the obligation of society to protect its children from ritualistic operations without immediate benefit to them.
This decision is believed to be the first of its kind in any country.
As an immediate result, the consent of both parents is now required.
Incidence and Distribution of Female Genital Cutting Worldwide
Click on the map for a larger image.
(FGC is outlawed in countries marked with blue crosshatching but is still prevalent at the rate shown in the underlying shade of pink.)
FGC is outlawed in the USA, but for a month in 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics policy suggested doctors be allowed to perform a "ritual nick" to prevent worse. The policy was withdrawn after a storm of protest.
One striking conclusion from these two maps is that wherever Female Genital Cutting is prevalent, male circumcision is also (though the reverse is of course not the case).
People who object that there is no comparison between FGC and MGC should see the list of comparisons.
Updates and corrections welcome. You can email me.
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