Monday, June 16, 2008

Egyptian Islamists lose battle for Female Genital Mutilation

The "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood fought the good fight, but owing to the undemocratic nature of the Egyptian government, they were unable to block laws that forbid female genital mutilation and will not register marriages to minors.
According to the government supported Al-Ahram newspaper, the legislation carried despite strenuous objections of the defenders of the faith. Egyptian electoral laws ensure that the government party has a majority. Nonetheless, Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed, managed to elect the largest group of "independent" candidates affiliated with its views, but still controls only about 20% of the representatives.
The laws were sponsored by President Hosni Mubarak's wife, Susan, who heads the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood (NCMC).  Accoring to Al-Ahram:  

Muslim Brotherhood MPs did their best to block a vote on the law's most sensitive articles by repeatedly claiming they contravene Islamic Sharia and serve a Western agenda. Sayed Askar, a Brotherhood MP, argued that Islamic clerics have differing opinions on FGM and whether or not it is an Islamic tradition. "Why not leave it optional for parents to decide instead of criminalising it?" asked Askar, who went on to assert that outlawing FGM was tantamount to promoting vice.

Mohamed El-Omda, an independent MP with Islamist leanings, argued that FGM is an Islamic tradition. "This is a practice that has been performed for over 1,400 years and it is against the Sunna [traditions of Prophet Mohamed] to outlaw it," he railed. El-Omda accused the NCMC of exercising enormous pressure on the assembly to pass the law in one day. "The problem is that the NCMC obtained millions of dollars in donations from Western institutions to push their non-Islamic agenda on Egypt. Its members want to see this agenda enacted as soon as possible so they can claim more cash donations," he said. El-Omda, together with his mother and two daughters, led a demonstration in favour of FGM in front of the assembly.

One hopes there will be sympathy demonstrations in London, San Francisco and Washington. "WE WANT FGM" "DEMOCRACY IS THE CANCER. ISLAM IS THE ANSWER." NCMC is clearly an implant of foreign colonialist imperialist agents of the Zionist conspiracy. We can't wait for real democracy in Egypt, can we?
Shame on the Mubarak government! Progressives should be outraged that the puppet Mubarak government has outlawed delightful practices such as child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which many Islamists believe are part of Sha'aria law. One thing will lead to another. Next, they will outlaw wife beating and insist that daughters be sent to school.
Ami Isseroff 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

see this editorial in the MB english website

The Muslim Brotherhood Does Not Support Female Circumcision

The opposition of some Muslim Brotherhood MPs to the latest law criminalizing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) should not be misinterpreted as to suggest the Muslim Brotherhood supports FGM.

For most MBs, FGM is a hateful and brutal tradition that needs to be eradicated from Egyptian society. None of the MB leaders I have personally interviewed endorses this habit either in their own life or for others.

It should be noted that the Muslim Brotherhood has not released an official statement about that issue, which refutes any allegations that the movement actually supports it.

It is true that some MB parliamentarians strongly opposed the decision, which is a small part of the controversial Child Law passed by the PA last week which triggered angry reactions from all political currents. But their arguments differed.

There were those who were against the complete banning of FGM without exceptions, explaining this to be problematic since there are cases when there is a medical need for it.

In fact, according to specialized doctors, there does exist certain abnormal cases in which surgery is really needed to remove the offending appendage not mutilating the normal genital organs, and the law has indeed set that condition for resorting to FGM.

Very few, however, mentioned “preserving women virtue” as part of their argument, which is totally rejected by committed Muslims and the vast majority of MB members.

Such opinions only reflect the cultural dimension behind this habit. Those MPs are representatives of the community they live in, and they voice its cultural and social background. They either belong to rural areas or to Upper Egypt, which is known for its deeply rooted traditions of oppressing women.

The Muslim Brotherhood as the largest moderate Islamist organization in the world would not tolerate injustice and violation of women’s body, particularly that there is no religious script that mandates female circumcision. But even if it is permissible (though the most commonly cited Hadith in that regard is weak), it must be banned because it involves harm; and there is a juristic rule in Islam that there should be no harm, nor reciprocating harm.

We have textual evidence that prophet Mohamed (pbuh) circumcised his male nephews (male circumcision is medically proved to be hygienic) , but in contrast we have no corresponding information regarding any such procedure for anyone of the prophet’s five daughters.

One of the MB leaders I spoke to was Dr. Abdul Moneim Abu El Fotouh, MB executive bureau member, and the secretary general of the Arab Doctors Union. He voiced the previous opinion. He preferred to describe FGM as a “merely social habit that contradicts with Islamic morals.”

“We are for penalizing any abuse of the human body, and FGM is one form of bodily abuse,” he told Ikhwanweb. “We embrace the tolerant religion of Islam which gives sanctity to the human body and forbids any assault on it.”

Abu El Fotouh also said that resorting to surgeries is acceptable only in the few cases when there is a medical prerequisite. “But only specialized doctors can decide that,” he said.

Specialized doctors have proved that female circumcision has undeniable far-reaching negative effects on women’s health, as well as on their social, sexual and psychological well-being. It can cause death through hemorrhaging and later complications during childbirth. It also carries risks of infection, urinary tract problems, and mental trauma.

Now FGM will be punishable by a jail term of between three months and two years or a fine of 1.000-5,000 Egyptian pounds (190-940 dollars.)