Arts & Culture

On International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, Egyptians Still Debate Its Health Benefits

On International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, Egyptians Still Debate Its Health Benefits

Stock photograph

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a long-debated issue in Egypt, with Egypt being among the top six countries where the practice occurs, according to UNICEF.

While Monday marked the UN-sponsored International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, Egyptians continue to debate whether it has health benefits or not.

The illegal practice includes any act that involves altering or injuring the female genitalia with no medical reason. The procedure that is internationally condemned and considered as a major violation to the rights of women and girls is rather common in Egypt, as it is believed to curb the sexual desires of women.

According to a statement issued by the UN, FGM is a form of inequality between sexes and an extreme discrimination against women. Also, it violates their right to life as the procedure may lead to death.

UNICEF previously announced that an estimated 85% of Egypt’s female population between 15 and 49 have been subject to some form of FGM.

While the UN, along with international campaigns, are working to completely eliminate FGM by 2030, the illegal procedure is still widely debated in Egypt, particularly as some link it to religious reasons.

Member of parliament Elhamy Agina showed controversial support to the illegal practice in 2016. He argued that about 64 percent of Egyptian men suffer from impotence which makes it inevitable for women to undergo FGM to reduce their sexual instincts.

Ahmed Al-Tahawy, another MP, said that leaving women without FGM is not healthy. In a press statement, he said that “unwanted sexual desire” may happen which will lead to bigger problems. He further added that we should not follow the west in everything they do, claiming that the procedure has a reference in Qur’an.

Despite these statements by members of parliament, FGM is actually banned in Egypt and is considered un-Islamic by Al-Azhar. Previous studies have found the phenomenon is not necessarily linked to Islam, with Christian women also having undergone FGM.

Egypt banned FGM in 2008. Article 242 of Egypt’s Penal Code criminalizes the circumcision of girls and the punishment for performing FGM is a prison sentence ranging from three months to two years or a fine of EGP 5,000.

Egypt is among 17 African countries the UN is focusing on to help abandon any kind of FGM. In May 2016, a girl in Suez Governorate died during an FGM operation. Her mother was given a one-year suspended prison sentence.

3,000-Year-Old Ramesside-era Tomb of Royal Scribe Discovered in Luxor
Sudan's President Could 'Take Egypt to UN' over Disputed Land

Subscribe to our newsletter


Arts & Culture

More in Arts & Culture

Wander Through Fantasy Worlds with this Egyptian Photographer’s Dreamy Online Shoots

Mary AravanisJune 4, 2020

Vybz: Bringing Egypt’s Independent Artists to Life During the Pandemic

Farah KhairatJune 3, 2020

‘It’s a Great Platform for Expression’: One Egyptian’s TikTok Success Story

Mary AravanisMay 31, 2020

Eid Plans in the Time of Coronavirus: Trying to Keep the Spirit Alive

Mary AravanisMay 24, 2020

In Photos: Egyptian Photographer Captures Sinai’s Uninhibited Childhood

Egyptian StreetsMay 23, 2020

A Little Green Sanctuary: a Beginner’s Guide to Minding Houseplants

Mary AravanisMay 21, 2020

In Photos: The World’s Karaite Jewish Heritage Lives on at Cairo’s Moshe Dari Synagogue

Niveen GhoneimMay 20, 2020

Ramadan Series 2020: Our Top 3 Must-Watch Ramadan Shows of the Year

Mary AravanisMay 11, 2020