To more recent news
November 15, 2020
Man (46) arrested after two three-month-old babies left fighting for their lives following alleged botched circumcision
by Rodney Edwards
Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a 46-year-old man after two three-month-old babies were left fighting for their lives at a children's hospital in Belfast following an alleged botched circumcision at a house in Co Fermanagh last week. Two other people have been charged in connection with the incident.
Paramedics were called to a house in Enniskillen where they discovered the boys had sustained serious injuries and were bleeding heavily. The babies were admitted to nearby South West Acute Hospital. Their parents were arrested by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The couple were charged with two counts each of cruelty to children.
The boys were transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where they spent several days in intensive care and later underwent urgent reconstructive surgery.
November 13, 2020
Man Circumcises 9 Underage Boys With Soldering Gun In Sweden, Gets Suspended Sentence
by Suneeta Sunny
A man, who circumcised boys with a soldering gun while claiming to be a doctor, has walked away with a suspended sentence in Sweden.
The Syrian man was accused of circumcision of nine boys between April and May 2018 in the Swedish cities of Söderhamn and Gävle, reported Sputnik News.
The court acquitted him of assault on four occasions and causing bodily harm on five occasions. He also received a penalty of 180 hours of community service and a fine of $10,000 in damages as part of the sentence. The prosecutor had previously demanded two years of imprisonment.
The unidentified man in his 30s was not a licensed doctor in Sweden. He reportedly performed the circumcisions at the request of the boys' guardians with a non-medical soldering gun. The man charged approximately SEK 2,000 ($230) for his service.
The incidents came to light after a pharmacy staff alerted police when they suspected a crime due to the purchase of a large amount of topical anesthetic and wound gauze, RT News reported.
Medical journals described a couple of the boys were in so much pain that they had difficulty in walking after the botched circumcision, reported Sputniknews.
The man reportedly performed the circumcisions at the request of the boys' guardians with a non-medical soldering gun.
The court cited there was no established link between the inflammation caused and the procedures. The court also found it was not proven that the pain caused by the procedure was of such a nature to be classified as abuse. [If it had been anywhere else on their bodies, would it not be abuse?]
5. november 2020
Omskæring af drenge uden medicinsk indikation er etisk uacceptabelt
Omskæring bør ikke foretages uden informeret samtykke fra personen selv
Lægeforeningen mener, at omskæring af drenge uden medicinsk indikation er etisk uacceptabelt, hvis indgrebet foretages uden informeret samtykke fra den, som får foretaget indgrebet. Omskæring bør således ikke foretages, før drengen har opnået myndighed til selvstændigt at tilvælge indgrebet. Begrundelser for Lægeforeningens holdning
Ethvert kirurgisk indgreb indebærer en risiko for komplikationer, og derfor bør kirurgiske indgreb som udgangspunkt begrænses til situationer, hvor de med stor sandsynlighed vil være en sundhedsmæssig fordel for patienten. Lægeforeningen mener ikke, at det er dokumenteret, at omskæring indebærer en sundhedsmæssig fordel for drenge.
Omskæring indebærer smerte og ubehag for det barn, der bliver omskåret. Lægeforeningen mener, at lægelige indgreb, der indebærer smerte eller ubehag for umyndige personer, bør begrænses til situationer, hvor indgrebet er en klar sundhedsmæssig fordel for personen. Lægeforeningen mener ikke, at en sådan fordel er dokumenteret.
Omskæring af drenge er et kirurgisk indgreb, der permanent ændrer drengens anatomi. Med indgrebet reduceres barnets mulighed for at bestemme over sin egen krop samt for selv at påvirke sit kulturelle og religiøse tilhørsforhold. Lægeforeningen finder det derfor bedst i overensstemmelse med individets ret til selvbestemmelse, at beslutningen om omskæring overlades til personen selv, når denne har nået myndighedsalderen. Omskæring af drenge uden medicinsk indikation bør ophøre
Ud fra et lægefagligt og lægeetisk perspektiv mener Lægeforeningen, at den nuværende praksis med omskæring af drenge uden medicinsk indikation bør ophøre. Overgangsprocessen vil være kompleks og bør varetages i dialog med de befolkningsgrupper, for hvem drengeomskæring har en særlig religiøs eller kulturel betydning. Det vigtigste hensyn i overgangen frem mod et ophør bør være de pågældende børns helbred, herunder minimering af antallet af indgreb der foretages under forhold, som ikke er patientsikre.
Lægeforeningen har ikke grundlag for at vurdere, om et forbud på nuværende tidspunkt er bedste løsning for patientsikkerheden og de samlede samfundsmæssige hensyn. Derfor har Lægeforeningen ikke taget stilling til dette spørgsmål, og Lægeforeningen er således hverken fortaler for eller modstander af et forbud.
Lægeforeningens bestyrelse, 5. november 2020
Danish Medical Association
November 5, 2020-
Circumcision of boys without medical indication is ethically unacceptable
Circumcision should not be performed without the informed consent of the person himself
The Danish Medical Association believes that circumcision of boys without a medical indication is ethically unacceptable if the procedure is performed without the informed consent of the person who has the procedure performed. Thus, circumcision should not be performed until the boy has gained the authority to independently choose the procedure. Reasons for the Medical Association's position
Any surgical procedure involves a risk of complications, and therefore surgical procedures should in principle be limited to situations where they will most likely be a health benefit to the patient. The Danish Medical Association does not believe that it has been documented that circumcision has a health benefit for boys.
Circumcision involves pain and discomfort for the child being circumcised. The medical association believes that medical interventions that involve pain or discomfort for minors should be limited to situations where the intervention is a clear health benefit for the person. The medical association does not believe that such an advantage has been documented.
Circumcision of boys is a surgical procedure that permanently changes the anatomy of the boy. The intervention reduces the child's ability to decide over his own body as well as to influence his own cultural and religious affiliation. The Danish Medical Association therefore finds it best in accordance with the individual's right to self-determination that the decision on circumcision be left to the person himself when he has reached the age of majority. Circumcision of boys without medical indication should cease
From a medical and medical ethics perspective, the Danish Medical Association believes that the current practice of circumcising boys without a medical indication should cease. The transition process will be complex and should be handled in dialogue with the population groups for whom boy circumcision has a special religious or cultural significance. The most important consideration in the transition to an end should be the health of the children concerned, including minimizing the number of interventions performed under conditions that are not patient safe.
The Danish Medical Association has no basis for assessing whether a ban is currently the best solution for patient safety and the overall societal considerations. Therefore, the Medical Association has not taken a position on this issue, and the Medical Association is thus neither an advocate nor an opponent of a ban.
The board of the Danish Medical Association, 5 November 2020
November 11, 2020
Proposal to ban male circumcision scrapped from Finland bill
by Cnaan Liphshiz
JTA — Lawmakers in Finland have removed language against nonmedical circumcision of boys from a bill on female genital mutilation following a push by Jews in the country and wider Europe.
The measure calling to “clarify” Finland’s ban on the genital mutilation of women passed Friday in the Parliament. Amendments would have potentially limited or outlawed the nonmedical circumcision of boys, Yaron Nadbornik, president of the Central Council of Finnish Jewish Communities, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. His organization reached out to Milah UK, a London-based advocacy group, which involved representatives at the Foreign Ministry, Nadbornik said.
The European Jewish Congress also was involved in efforts to eliminate the amendments added by the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, which is headed by Leena Meri of the populist the Finns Party. Finland is an EU member state and subject to the rulings of the European Court of Justice.
Jews and Muslims have vocally objected to attempts to ban nonmedical circumcision of boys in Europe by coalitions of right-wing anti-immigration parties and liberal ones that view the custom as a violation of children’s rights.
The new Finnish law does state the issue of circumcision of boys should be “clarified” in the future, but Nadbornik said a ban “has been averted for the time being.”
Some 50,000 Finns who wanted their Scandinavian nation’s penal code to have a specific law against female genital mutilation signed a petition leading to the bill. Mutilation had been punishable under laws against aggravated assault,
September 18, 2020
Birmingham man charged with ‘criminal actions’ during circumcision procedures
by S Neeraj Krishna
A 54-year-old man in Birmingham has been charged with assaulting children while [in fact, by] performing circumcisions.
Mohammad Siddiqui of Hockley faced 34 charges, including ill-treatment, neglect, causing unnecessary suffering or injury, and actual bodily harm.
The former NHS doctor was also accused of administering “a prescription only medicine, when not an appropriate practitioner”, a Hampshire police spokesperson said.
Siddiqui had been arrested as part of a “large investigation” based on alleged offences related to conducting circumcisions at private residences between 2015 and 2018. [Raising the question, if he is not a registered medical practitioner, how did he get the prescription medicine?]
The alleged “criminal actions” reportedly involved boys in Birmingham, Walsall, Coventry, West Bromwich, Worcester, Reading, Banbury, Oxford, Southampton, Portsmouth, London, East Grinstead, Christchurch, and Swindon. ["alleged" and quotation marks? One distancing would suffice. The paper seems to want to discharge him without trial.]
“This investigation is related to an individual’s possible criminal actions whilst undertaking circumcision procedures, and is not concerned with the practice of circumcision itself,” said an officer. [Raising the question, why not? Why is this operation alone treated so differently from other surgery?]
In 2018, the Hampshire Constabulary had launched a probe — “Operation Jetson” — into allegations against Siddiqui.
According to the force, Siddiqui had been arrested in July 2018 on “suspicion of grievous bodily harm”.
The Muslim Council of Southampton also backed the police “to bring to the attention of and to raise awareness among the Muslim and other communities who practice male circumcision” about his activities.
Siddiqui had worked as a clinical fellow (paediatric surgery) at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust between June 2012 and November 2013.
He reportedly operated a mobile children’s circumcision service outside the NHS at that time and carried out circumcisions at private residences.
“He faced 47 allegations when he operated on male children outside work hours between June 2012 and November 2013,” joint statement from the police and MCS had noted.
“He was suspended from his post, stopped carrying out the procedures and resigned from the NHS and surrendered his GMC registration.
“He then continued to provide a poor and dangerous practice without registering with the Care Quality Commission and without any indemnity insurance for his private work.”
In 2015, the Daily Echo reported that Siddiqui had been “struck off for carrying out circumcisions under unhygienic conditions which had left children ‘writhing in agony’”.
Subsequent investigations led to his arrest and legal proceedings. Siddiqui, who was released on bail, will appear at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 6.
September 11, 2020
Parents flee hospital with seriously hurt baby after circumcision gone wrong
Police eventually track down couple and escort them to medical center to ensure baby gets treatment; child in stable condition, but requires emergency surgery
by TOI staff
Police launched a search Friday afternoon for a couple and their baby, after they fled a hospital in northern Israel with their son who had been seriously injured during his brit milah circumcision ceremony.
The parents had arrived at Safed’s Ziv Medical Center with the 8-day-old child, who was bleeding profusely following the apparently botched procedure. Specialist doctors who examined the child determined his life was in danger and told the parents he would need an immediate operation, the hospital said.
However, the couple then took the child and fled, sparking a police hunt that included roadblocks being set up in the area. It was not clear what caused the parents to flee.
Eventually found by traffic police, the couple claimed they were on their way to Poriya Hospital in Tiberias [about an hour away] to seek further treatment.
Police escorted the couple to the hospital to ensure the child received urgent medical care.
The hospital said that doctors managed to stabilize the condition of the baby before transferring him to the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where he was expected to undergo surgery in their specialist pediatric urology department.
September 3, 2020
Despite disagreement in the group, the DF supports a ban on circumcision
At a group meeting, the Danish People’s Party’s parliamentary group has decided that the party is against circumcision of boys under 18 years of age.
– It has put so much pressure on us that we have taken the meeting today. And this has led us to now announce that the Danish People’s Party is in favor of a minimum age of 18 for boy circumcision, says the party’s health spokesperson, Liselott Blixt.
The debate over ritual circumcision of boys has flared up in recent weeks.
This is especially so after several medical organizations have regularly withdrawn from a working group that is to prepare a new guide for non-medical circumcision.
However, there are still several parties that have not clearly addressed a possible ban. Among other things, the governing party, the Social Democrats and the Liberal Party, are hesitant.
From SF, Enhedslisten, Nye Borgerlige, Alternativet and Liberal Alliance, it has been said that they are in favor of a ban.
Although the Danish People’s Party now also clearly states, there is no complete agreement in the group.
That is why three of the 17 members of parliament have been released so that they can vote whatever they want.
– Here we have made an agreement that there are three – who for special reasons they can explain themselves – will vote differently than the group. But the Danish People’s Party’s announcement is that we are now against circumcision of boys under 18 years of age.
Liselott Blixt will allow the three members to share their views on circumcision. But she says:
– I see it as a health reporter as wrong to cut in healthy children, while others see it as a matter for the family, where they have a different approach.
It is the former minister and current co-founder of the party Fremad Simon Emil Ammitzbøll-Bille, who has put forward a proposal in the Folketing for a ban on circumcision.
August 27, 2020
With no mohels around, New Zealand man circumcises his own son
Jews in country rely on circumcisers from Australia to perform ceremony, but a coronavirus travel ban prevents them from coming
by Marcy Oster
JTA — A Jewish couple in New Zealand couldn’t get a mohel to perform a bris, or circumcision ceremony, for their son — so they decided to take on the responsibility themselves.
Noam and Elisheva Fogel have been emissaries from the Jewish Agency and Bnei Akiva in New Zealand for the past two years. Their son, Eden, was born some five months ago, two days before the country closed its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ynet reported.
There are no mohels in New Zealand, and Jewish families rely on ones from Australia to travel to the country to perform circumcisions. According to New Zealand law, mohels must be certified doctors. [What law?]
Last week, the couple decided not to wait any longer and Noam performed the circumcision, supervised by a local doctor and a community rabbi, according to Ynet.
They told the news website that they are looking forward to the day when they can tell their son what it took to give him a “brit.”
About 8,000 Jews live in New Zealand; the majority live in Auckland and in the capital, Wellington, as well as smaller communities in Christchurch and other cities.
August 13, 2020
Maine Democrat Sara Gideon Killed Bills Outlawing Female Genital MutilationMaine Dems argued legislation was racist
by Yuichiro Kakutani
Democratic Senate candidate Sara Gideon repeatedly killed bills to outlaw female genital mutilation during her tenure as the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.
Gideon leveraged her leadership position in the Democrat-controlled legislature to kill two separate bills that would have criminalized the practice of severing the clitoris of infant girls and sewing their vaginas shut. Instead, the Democrat supported a different law that would have funnelled $150,000 to her political allies to educate Mainers about the practice instead of criminalizing it, according to a former state legislator who spearheaded the push to stop the mutilation.
Under Gideon's leadership, Maine Democrats argued that the bill was racist toward the state's large immigrant community from Somalia, a country where the practice is "nearly universal" according to the United Nations. The Democrats also argued that the practice rarely takes place in Maine and is already outlawed by existing federal and local laws. [Since the Michigan court case, this is no longer true.]
Gideon's efforts have helped make Maine one of only 12 states that have not banned female genital mutilation. ...
Female genital mutilation is an archaic cultural custom practiced in parts of the Middle East and Africa that the United Nations considers a violation of human rights. The procedure, which is done to discourage sex outside of marriage, causes numerous medical problems such as excessive bleeding, infections, difficulty passing urine, and sometimes death. [All also true of male genital cutting - except for the UN attitude.] A 2012 Public Health Reports study estimated that more than 500,000 women and girls were at risk for female genital mutilation or its consequences in the United States.
Gideon and House Democrats ultimately voted against the original version of the 2017 bill, leading to the bill's failure. To justify their votes, some Democrats argued that existing federal and local laws already prohibited the practice—even though the Maine Prosecutors' Association testified that they "do not feel confident that they can charge someone with committing Female Genital Mutilation without the passage of this bill."
July 22, 2020
Taxpayers Sue Massachusetts Medicaid About Circumcisions
by Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.
After years of unproductive communications with state and federal officials about Medicaid circumcisions, Ronald Goldman, PhD, founder and Executive Director of the Circumcision Resource Center, heads a lawsuit representing taxpayers who want MassHealth (Medicaid) to stop paying for infant circumcisions. This historic legal action was filed in Suffolk County Superior Court by Attorney Peter Adler. Pertinent Federal and State regulations require that all Medicaid paid services shall be medically necessary.
The State Medicaid office pays for elective, non-therapeutic male infant circumcisions as an administrative policy decision. According to Massachusetts General Laws, State officials can be sued to have the Court order them to comply with the law. Dr. Goldman said, “Finally, we are going to hold officials accountable for their abuse of taxpayers’ funds and reduce the rate of this harmful practice.” There are about 10,000 Medicaid circumcisions a year in Massachusetts. This costs taxpayers about 17.5 million dollars per year.
February 25, 2020
Several infants contract herpes during Jewish circumcision ritual
by Aliza Chasan
NEW YORK — Several infants have contracted herpes in New York in recent months after undergoing a circumcision ritual, the Health Department confirmed.
There have been three cases reported since December and four since September 2019, officials said. Before this, the most recent cases of DOS-related neonatal herpes were in 2017.
"Protecting the health and wellbeing of infants is always the city’s first priority," a Health Department spokesman said. "The spread of neonatal herpes through ritual circumcision is a public health risk. To address this risk, we will continue to work with providers and families across our city to keep our youngest New Yorkers safe."Infants have died after contracting herpes.
The Health Department has conducted outreach in Jewish communities about the risks around ritual circumcisions and around metzitzah b’peh, which is not done during the majority of circumcisions. During metzitzah b’peh, the person performing the circumcision places his mouth on the the circumcision wound to suck blood away from the cut. Saliva from adults can carry a type of herpes that causes minor symptoms in adults, but potentially serious symptoms in newborns.
A baby infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 could have brain damage or develop a lifelong disability, health officials said.
In 2013, a baby developed a fever seven days after circumcision and vesicular lesions the following day.
21. februar 2020
Styrelse blåstempler rituel omskæring
Af Tine Maria Winther
Omskæring af drengebørn er generelt et ufarligt indgreb med få komplikationer, konkluderer Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed i et længe ventet notat. Notatet indgår, når Folketinget senere i år skal behandle et borgerforslag om en mindstealder på 18 år for religiøs funderet omskæring
Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed er nu klar med en opdatering af notatet ’Omskæring af drenge’ fra 2013. Konklusionen er, at omskæring af drengebørn i langt de fleste tilfælde er ufarligt og forbundet med få komplikationer – når det religiøse indgreb foretages under lægeligt ansvar.
Ligeledes konkluderer styrelsen også, at det ikke er påviseligt, at omskæring af drenge har konsekvenser for deres seksualitet i voksenlivet.
På verdensplan er cirka en tredjedel af alle mænd og drenge omskåret. I Danmark estimeres antallet af ikke-terapeutiske omskæringer til at være cirka 2000 per år. Udtrykket ikke-terapeutiske dækker over, at omskæringen ikke foregår af medicinske årsager.
Notatet vil senere i år indgå, når Folketinget skal behandle et borgerforslag om en mindstealder på 18 år for rituel omskæring.
Tidligere overrabbiner Bent Melchior modtager nyheden med glæde.
”Jeg har mange gange siddet med dem, som nogle kalder ofrene, på skødet, hvad enten det er mine egne efterkommere eller om det er fremmede, der har givet mig det, som vi hos os betragter som en æressag, at få lov at sidde med den dreng, der skal omskæres. Og sandheden er, at det, de reagerer over for, ikke er den mand, der foretager indgrebet, men mig – fordi jeg tager fat i de små ben for at sørge for, at de ikke spræller og rammer ham, der står med kniven,” siger Bent Melchior, som understreger at der skal være en læge til stede.
”Det har været en regel hos os, så langt jeg kan huske tilbage. Og jeg kan huske ret langt tilbage,” siger 90-årige Bent Melchior.
Mikael Aktor, der har jødisk baggrund og er lektor i religionsstudier på Syddansk Universitet og næstformand for Intact Denmark, som er en forening mod omskæring af børn, er til gengæld ikke hverken glad eller tilfreds med notatet.
”Min helt overordnede indvending er, at Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed i det hele taget tillader en operation på børn, som ikke fejler noget. Børn, der ikke er patienter, bliver patienter. Og så hæfter jeg mig ved, at mange af de spørgsmål, folketingspolitikerne bad om at få belyst, ikke er besvaret eller besvaret mangelfuldt,” siger Mikael Aktor, der dog understreger, at han ikke har nået at læse det endelige notat, som blev lagt ud på styrelsens hjemmeside i dag, men at han forholder sig til det foreløbige udkast, der kom frem tidligere på måneden.
Yderligere hæfter han sig ved, at styrelsen medgiver, at bedøvelse af børn under et år er en udfordring. Styrelsen vurderer dog samtidig, at der kan gives tilstrækkelig smertelindring ved omskæring af drenge udover generel anæstesi.
Styrelsen har også taget for let på komplikationer ved omskæring, idet den har baseret sig på studier med al for kort opfølgningstid, vurderer Mikael Aktor.
En af dem, der også har stillet spørgsmål til notatet i høringsperioden, er læge og ph.d. Kasper Ankjærgaard, der også medlem af Intact.
”Jeg er paf over, at notatet betoner irrelevante, ganske små fordele og samtidig nedtoner væsentlige, behandlingskrævende komplikationer og senere vanskeligheder i forbindelse med seksuelle funktioner.”
Christian Newspaper (Denmark)
February 21, 2019
Authority green-lights ritual circumcision
by Tine Maria Winther
Circumcising boy children is generally a safe intervention with few complications, the Danish Patient Safety Authority concludes in a long-awaited note. The note will be included when Parliament examines a citizens' proposal for a minimum age of 18 for religiously based circumcision, later this year.
The Patient Safety Authority is now ready with an update of the note 'Genital cutting of boys' from 2013. The conclusion is that the circumcision of boy children in the vast majority of cases is harmless and associated with few complications – when the religious intervention is carried out under medical responsibility.
The Agency also concludes that it is not demonstrable that the circumcision of boys has consequences for their sexuality in adulthood.
Worldwide, about a third of all men and boys are circumcised. In Denmark, the number of non-therapeutic circumcisions is estimated to be approximately 2000 per year. The term non-therapeutic implies that the circumcision does not take place for medical reasons.
The memo will be included later this year when Parliament will have to deal with a citizens' proposal for a minimum age of 18 years for ritual circumcision.
Former Chief Rabbi Bent Melchior received the news with pleasure.
"I have often sat with those who some call the victims on their lap, whether it be my own descendants or strangers who have given me what we see as an honourable cause, to be allowed to sit with the boy to be circumcised. And the truth is that what they react to is not the man who does the procedure, but me – because I take hold of the little legs to make sure they don't cut and hit him with the knife," says Bent Melchior, who stresses that there should be a doctor present.
"It's been a rule with us, as far as I can remember back. And I remember quite a long way back," says 90-year-old Bent Melchior.
Mikael Aktor, who has a Jewish background and is an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Southern Denmark and vice-president of Intact Denmark, an association against child circumcision, is not happy or satisfied with the note.
"My overall objection is that the Danish Patient Safety Authority essentially allows an operation on children who have nothing wrong with them. Children who are not patients become patients. And then I note that many of the questions asked by the Members of Parliament have not been answered, or answered inadequately," says Mikael Aktor, who stresses that he has not been able to read the final note, which was posted on the agency's website today, but that he is dealing with the preliminary draft that came to light earlier this month.
Further, he notes that the agency admits that the anesthesia of children under a year of age is a challenge. At the same time, however, the Agency considers that adequate pain reliefother than general anesthesia can be provided when circumcising boys .
The Authority has also taken complications of circumcision too lightly , Mikael Aktor estimates, based on studies with inadequate follow-up times.
One of those who have also asked questions about the note during the consultation period is a doctor and PhD, Kasper Ankjærgaard, who is also a member of Intact.
"I am staggered that the note emphasizes irrelevant, quite small advantages while downplaying significant, treatment-intensive complications and subsequent difficulties associated with sexual functions."
December 11, 2019
Egyptian anti-circumcision group calls for an end to 'male genital mutilation'
Several groups in Egypt and the Middle East are calling for an end to male circumcision, saying the risky operation is not justified for medical or religious purposes.
Like many Egyptian families, Amina and her husband celebrated the circumcision of their son with a ceremony at home with the family. In their village near the northern Sharqia governorate, a circumciser carried out an operation to remove the skin from the tip of the 7-month-old's penis. The baby received many presents, mostly gold and other valuables.
But the bleeding after the operation did not stop.
They hurried their baby to the hospital, where the doctor told Amina that her son was at risk of a permanent deformity and had barely escaped from death due to loss of blood.
“No words can describe my misery when they told me my son risked death or impotence,” Amina, 27, told Al-Monitor.
Amina's son survived, but risky circumcisions are common in Egypt, given that many families in the countryside choose to perform circumcisions at home rather than in a sanitized clinic. In cases like this, usual calls are issued for parents to have the operation performed at a hospital. Yet, this time, new groups are questioning whether circumcision makes sense biologically, culturally or even religiously.
While international institutions have fought female genital mutilation, or FGM, for years, activists now believe it's time to stop regarding male circumcision as normal. Some on social media have called for an end to "male genital mutilation,” or MGM.
“The issue is considered a taboo because it has three sides: cultural, religious and medical. This makes our fighting even harder,” said Nidal el-Ghatis, the Palestinian-Australian author of the book “Male Circumcision Is a Crime Against Humanity and Islam.” Ghatis is also an administrator of a Facebook group with the same name.
A 2016 study published in Popular Health Metrics estimated that 37-39% of males worldwide have been circumcised. In the United States, 71.2% of males have been circumcised, while that figure is 94% in Egypt.
Though circumcision is seen as a common practice in those two countries and beyond, more people are questioning this tradition, according to Ghatis.
“In our Facebook group, we offer many articles and posts by specialized physicians from different countries, including Egypt, the Gulf, Morocco, Palestine and others, to make people think of the negative aspects of circumcision," he told Al-Monitor. "Our efforts are snowballing over the years and many people joined us.”
Advocates of circumcision say that the small operation, usually carried out anywhere from seven days after birth to 15 years, can reduce the risk of cancer and lower the risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Critics quote studies that claim circumcision reduces sensitivity, causing premature ejaculation, and that the operation itself is risky as it may cause excessive bleeding.
Seham Abdel Salam, an Egyptian doctor specializing in public health, sees both FGM and MGM as severe, medically unnecessary and a source of pain and trauma for children.
“Surgeries should be done only when they are necessary," Abdel Salam said. "If a child or a baby is healthy and there is nothing wrong with his health, why should I do this surgery and take a sensitive part of his body, which is beneficial to him, without even his consent?”
Abdel Salam, who is also an anthropologist, wrote a study titled, "Male Genital Mutilation (Circumcision): A Feminist Study of a Muted Gender Issue."
“Circumcision is mainly related to ‘culture,’ not religion. Jews, Muslims, Baha’i, many [Eastern] Christians and even nonreligious people do it," she said. "This culture should be changed."
Abdel Salam has also created a small information center to provide families and researchers with documents, books and multimedia on the topic.
Some researchers believe male circumcision originated in Egypt, based on the narrative of the Greek historian Herodotus, who said pre-Islam Egyptians practiced circumcision for the sake of cleanliness.
Circumcision is an obligatory ritual in Judaism. It is not mentioned in the Quran. However, it is highlighted in some of the Prophet Muhammad's sayings and became a sunnah, or a good deed.
Preacher Ashraf Saad Mahmoud told Al-Monitor that male circumcision is a tradition in Islam, citing a hadith, or saying, of the prophet. This particular hadith, narrated by Abu Huraira, a companion of the prophet, reads: "Five things are in accordance with al-Fitra (i.e., the tradition of prophets): to be circumcised, to shave the pelvic region, to pull out the hair of the armpits, to cut short the mustaches and to clip the nails."
Mahmoud explained that the hadith proves that male circumcision is a well-established practice in Islam. "However, Muslim scholars disagreed over whether it's obligatory or not," he said. "Three Imams out of the four Sunni grand Imams — Malik, al-Shafii and Ahmed bin Hanbal — said it is obligatory. That means men who are not circumcised are sinning."
He said, "Perhaps the reason for this is that the foreskin may be infected by microbes and impurities that cause diseases, endangering the wife's health. The foreskin also limits the wife's enjoyment in the marital relationship." [These claims are hotly disputed, and the second is flatly contradicted.]
He continued, "The fourth Sunni Imam, Abu Hanifa, said that male circumcision is sunnah and therefore not obligatory. According to Abu Hanifa, there is no sin if men are not circumcised. But men, in this case, should look after personal hygiene."
Saeed Abdel Moty Hussein, the founder of the Facebook page Egyptian Movement to Fight Male Circumcision, said that anti-MGM movements have a long way to go.
“We are still fighting online and on social media, because it is much easier than fighting through local media ... as it will be confronted by a strong refusal from religious institutions like Al-Azhar,” Hussein told Al-Monitor.
Amina's circumcision scare was more than a year ago, but today she is worrying less about social norms, as she is pregnant with her second child, another boy. Tapping her belly, she said she may just let him go without the circumcision ceremony.
Springfield New-Leader (Missouri)
November 20, 2019
Charges dropped against Nixa man accused of illegally circumcising two teens
by Harrison Keegan
Prosecutors dropped the charges last week against a Nixa man who had been accused of illegally circumcising two teenagers.
Curtis Abbott, 48, was indicted in August 2018 on felony charges of child endangerment and unauthorized practice of medicine or surgery.
Abbott, who is not a doctor, had been accused of illegally performing two circumcisions, and he was looking at possible prison time.
Last week, however, Abbott's attorney Stacie Bilyeu said the Christian County Prosecutor's Office dropped the charges against Abbott during a pre-trial court appearance.
...Christian County Prosecutor Amy Fite ... said she could not comment on the specifics of Abbott's case, but deferred prosecution agreements typically contain provisions about the defendant obeying all laws and sometimes attending anger management classes or other types of counseling.
...Filings in Abbott's 2017 divorce case ...say Abbott claimed to have multiple prophetic communications, raised exotic livestock and had a strong interest in polygamy.
Daily Mail (Australia)
October 29, 2019
Boy, three, has penis amputated in botched circumcision in Brazil before doctor tried to hide his mistake using gauze and bandage
by Natalia Penza For Mailonline
A three-year-old boy had his penis amputated in a botched circumcision performed by an experienced surgeon who was then found dead several days later.
Father Alberthy Camargos, 24, told how he took his son for the routine operation at a clinic in Malacacheta, eastern Brazil, last month after being advised he needed the surgery.
However, he became concerned after the procedure - which normally lasts 30 minutes - ended up taking four hours.
When Mr Camargos asked physician Pedro Abrantes what had happened, the doctor assured him that everything was fine and his son was healthy.
But when the concerned father went to remove his son's bandages and check on the wound, he discovered that his son's penis had been replaced by a rolled-up piece of gauze.
'I went crazy and dropped to the ground. I went into shock. I tried to move, but I was paralysed and needed to be supported by nurses,' he said.
The child was transferred to the Teófilo Otoni hospital, a private unit in a neighbouring city.
There the boy underwent new and detailed evaluations with a paediatrician and urologist.
Both confirmed, after medicating to control the pain and to prevent the spread of infection, that the child's genital organ had been severed.
The diagnosis in the medical report stated there had been 'laceration of the foreskin skin with open and bleeding cavernous bodies (spongy-like areas) [...the central hydraulic mechanism of the penis]… and the inadvertent partial amputation of the penis… (leaving) the base of the penis'.
The boy has since undergone plastic surgery to protect a length of urethra left behind after the botched surgery, meaning he will not need a catheter.
Mr Camargos, a bank clerk who has custody of his son after separating from the boy's mother, said: 'About a year ago I was told (my son) was suffering from phimosis, where the foreskin of the penis cannot be easily retracted. [This was another lie. It is normal for the foreskin to be unretractable at three.]
'This was a procedure that should have taken about 30 minutes, but it lasted nearly four hours.
'When the doctor took off the first bloodstained bandage there was a kind of rolled gauze underneath that appeared to be covering my son's penis. But when that was taken off there was nothing there but a stump and no visible penis. I went crazy with the shock.'
A spokesperson for Dr Carlos Marx Municipal Hospital said an internal enquiry is underway and the medical team that assisted the doctor is under investigation.
...the family is considering taking legal action against the hospital.
A health official said the deceased surgeon had a medical career spanning almost 30 years and there had been 'no records of problems with his professional conduct while working in the public health service'.
Police chief, Mariana Grassi said (to FocusOn News): ...'We need to establish whether Dr Abrantes, who died under non-suspicious circumstances, was responsible solely for the medical error or whether other professionals were involved.'
October 16, 2019
High Court rules female genital mutilation illegal in all forms, NSW court erred in quashing convictions
by Elizabeth Byrne
Three people charged with female genital mutilation offences against two primary school-aged sisters could face further punishment after the High Court ruled the New South Wales Court of Appeal erred in quashing their convictions.
Warning: This story contains graphic details that may confront some readers.
In 2015, the girls' mother and a former nurse Kubra Magennis were found guilty of two counts each of breaching the ban on female genital mutilation in NSW.
All were sentenced to 15 months in jail but, while the women were allowed to spend the sentence out of custody, Mr Vaziri was jailed.
It was Australia's first female genital mutilation prosecution.
But the charges were quashed by the NSW Court of Appeal last year, after the trio argued the ceremony was only ritualistic and new evidence showed there was no visible physical damage to either girl.
Today, in a divided ruling, the High Court found the law did cover the circumstances in the case and that it was meant to criminalise the practice in its various forms.
'Skin only sniffs the steel' in ceremony
At the original trial the eldest child had given evidence describing Khatna, saying "they give a little cut … in your private part" using a tool similar to a pair of scissors.
However, Ms Magennis said the ceremony had used forceps, not a blade, and the "symbolic" form of Khatna involved a "ceremony of touching the edge of the genital area … allowing the skin to sniff the steel".
After the trio were convicted, a medical examination showed the tip of the clitoral head was visible in both girls, allowing them to argue successfully that the genitals were not mutilated.
The convictions were set aside but prosecutors sought an appeal to Australia's top court, arguing the actions of the three had still breached the NSW law.
Today the majority of the High Court bench found in the NSW prosecution's favour, deeming the trio's actions illegal.
The case has been referred back to the NSW Court of Appeal for further consideration about whether the jury's verdict was unreasonable.
Justices Virginia Bell and Stephen Gageler differed from the rest of the court taking a narrower view of the offence and argued that the Court of Appeal made the correct decision.
"The Court of Appeal was right to hold that superficial
tissue damage, which leaves not physical scarring and which on medical
examination is not shown to have caused any damage to the skin or nerve
tissue, is not in law capable of amounting to mutilation," they said.
October 12, 2019
'No consent' circumcision doctor suspended for a month
by Caroline Lowbridge
A mother whose son was circumcised without her consent said she was "furious" the doctor has only been suspended for a month.
The boy was taken to be circumcised by his Muslim grandmother, and Dr Balvinder Mehat did not check the mother consented to the procedure.
Dr Mehat was investigated by the General Medical Council and admitted the allegation at a misconduct hearing.
However, the tribunal decided he was "no risk to patients".
"It's an absolute joke and I won't trust another doctor ever again," said the boy's mother.
"If I went round and cut his bits off I would be getting years in prison.
"Even if they struck him off it wouldn't have been enough punishment, because he has caused my son so much pain, but such a short suspension is a slap in the face."
Dr Mehat said he would be writing a letter of apology "directly to the patient".
"I am very regretful that the care I provided to the patient did not go well as we had both hoped," he said in a statement to the BBC.
The boy's mother said she thought people were "scared to do anything because it's a religious issue".
"It's perverted and it shouldn't be done to kids because they can't consent to it," she said.
"Why aren't the NSPCC looking into it? Why isn't the government looking into it? It's illegal to dock a dog's tail or to circumcise a girl but it's legal to circumcise a boy." ...
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service found his actions were a "serious breach" of GMC guidance, and his fitness to practise was impaired by reason of misconduct.
However, it decided there was a "very low risk of repetition" and "no risk to patients" by allowing him to continue working.
September 23, 2019
New York Mohel Accused of Infecting [yet another] Infant With Herpes During Circumcision
by K Thor Jensen
The New York City Department of Health has issued an alert after an infant was infected with herpes earlier this month by a mohel who placed his mouth on the child's penis after circumcision.
The practice of applying direct oral suction on the wound left behind by the removal of the foreskin—known in Hebrew as metzitzah b'peh—is not common in Judaism, but is practiced in some ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.
As is tradition, the unnamed boy was circumcised eight days after being born. Ten days later, a rash presented across his genitals, groin and posterior. He was taken to a hospital and a specimen was taken from a lesion, which tested positive for herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), responsible for most cold sores.
The baby was hospitalized and, though there is no cure for herpes, he was placed on a 14 day-course of acyclovir, used to treat outbreaks. ... Herpes is particularly dangerous in newborns, as their immune system has not full developed.
According to the New York Post, there have been 24 reported cases of infant herpes linked to circumcision since 2000, resulting in two deaths and two cases of brain damage.
After herpes reporting became mandatory in 2006, there
been 164 confirmed cases of neonatal herpes in New York over all—12
percent of which are linked to oral contact during circumcision.
Standard Digital (Kenya)
September 6, 2019
Five women jailed for 3 years for getting circumcised
by Olivia Murithi
Five women were convicted for willingly procuring Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) services for themselves.
Florence Kiende, Caroline Wanja, Charity Karimi, Charity Muthoni and Winfred Kawira pleaded guilty to the charge of seeking and undergoing FGM at Kiagu in Central Imenti when they appeared before Githongo Resident Magistrate Evelyn Wachira Ndegwa.
...Kiende, 28, ... told the court she decided to get circumcised because her grandmother told her it was best.
She further asked for forgiveness.
Wanja [and Karimi]... w[ere] arrested after chief Titus Kinyua received  tip-off[s] from the public.
Kawira...told the court she had a young child and asked for forgiveness.
The court heard that Charity Muthoni underwent the procedure ... knowing it was a risk to her health.
She was taken to Githongo sub-county where an examination revealed septic wounds on her private parts which were treated.
The women were handed a three year sentence with an option to pay a Sh200,000 [$US1,930] fine.
Imenti Central Sub-County Commander John Tarus issued a strong warning to women seeking services of FGM practitioners across the county.
He said the practice has been overtaken by time and perpetrators would face the law.
Daily Mail (London)
September 4, 2019
Pharmacist, 70, is spared jail after posing as mother of 11-month-old boy so he could be circumcised without parents' consent
by James Wood
A pharmacist who posed as the mother of an 11-month-old boy so he could be circumcised without his parents' consent has been spared jail.
Martina Obi-Uzom, 70, was entrusted to look after the child while his parents were away over the weekend of September 2 to 3, 2017.
She used the opportunity to travel to London and employ the skills of a Jewish mohel - a Jew trained in the practice of circumcision - to get the child circumcised, determined he conform to her Nigerian Christian beliefs. [Her what? Male genital cutting is no more part of Christianity in Nigeria than anywhere else.]
Yesterday, Obi-Uzom, of The Lighthouse Pharmacy in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex was convicted by a jury of causing grievous bodily harm to the boy.
She was sentenced to fourteen months imprisonment, suspended for eighteen months at Inner London Crown Court. She was also ordered to pay £1500 costs and a £140 victim surcharge.
The court heard she recruited a male to pose as the child's father [and what became of him?] and travelled to Golders Green, north-west London, while the child's parents were away.
When she arrived she signed the parental consent form, which was accepted on face value by the mohel [who must have been blind. What penalty does he face?]
...Obi-Uzom was also ordered to pay £1500 costs and a £140 victim surcharge .
...[Judge Freya Newbery told her:] 'It was an arrogant, imperious decision for what you wanted in place of the mother. It was a serious breach of trust.
...Judge Newbery said the offence merited a prison sentence, but there were circumstances that allowed her to suspend it.
'I accept your intention in your mind wasn't to harm the boy [and where does the road lead that is paved with good intentions?] and you are a woman of impeccable character,' he said. [Doesn't this act disprove that?]
'You have worked in the community promoting the needs of less fortunate children. You are a professional person, a pharmacist, highly qualified and devoted to your family.
'As a pharmacist I recognise your profession is under jeopardy [She's 70 years old!] as is potentially your ability to travel to family in America with this conviction [So?].'
August 18, 2019
Regina woman suing after tip of son’s penis cut off in circumcision
REGINA — A Regina mother has filed a lawsuit alleging negligence after the tip of her baby’s penis was severed during a circumcision. [The tip is always severed: the foreskin is the tip.]
In an interview, the woman says she and her husband are worried about their son’s self-esteem as he grows up.
The circumcision happened last November when the boy was nine-days old. The mother has filed a statement of claim against the doctor, his business, and an unidentified intern she believes did the procedure.
The woman, whom The Canadian Press is not naming to protect the identity of the child, said she and her husband took their newborn to the Victoria East Medical Clinic in Regina for the procedure.
The mother is of African descent and said circumcision is part of her family’s culture.
“It was already taking too long,” she said, remembering how quick the procedure had been for her older son eight years earlier. “I could hear the baby crying so much.”
She said Dr. Owen Miller, the physician they understood was going to perform the circumcision, came into the waiting area and was apologetic.
“He came out and he said, ‘There’s a problem. We have to call the ambulance,”‘ the mother recalled.
The lawsuit adds, “After the botched surgery, Miller informed the plaintiff (mother) that his intern performed the surgery.”
“Someone just told me he was performing some practice on my baby, that’s what it sounded like,” she said. “I couldn’t even talk.”
The mother said her baby bled for hours and wailed in pain while he was in the emergency room.
Photographs taken by the woman show the infant lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to machines and a tube to carry urine.
She said a surgeon informed them he was too young to have the severed tip re-attached. [But not too young to have it cut off? Necessary paediatric surgery can work miracles - why not this relatively simple operation?]
Dr. Todd Sorokan, a pediatrician based in British Columbia, said circumcision remains a relatively common procedure in Canada, with between ten to 30% of babies having it done.
...The boy’s next followup appointment is in September. His penis is mostly functional, but is disfigured, said his mother.
“It’s healed up, but it doesn’t look normal.”
The mother kept the severed part of her son’s penis and stored in the freezer, she said, in case he someday has questions about his body.
To earlier news (headlines)
Back to the Intactivism index page.