Intactivism News

April - May (June) 2012


News items are now being copied to Circumstitions News blog (which takes comments)

- thanks to Joseph4GI

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June 14, 2012

Mandatory Circumcision Not Cost Effective for HIV Prevention

By Sherry Boschert, Ob.Gyn. News Digital Network

SAN DIEGO – Mandating circumcision in the United States would prevent 24 more cases of HIV than does the traditional optional approach to circumcision, but would increase costs by approximately $389 million, making it far less cost effective, an analysis of published data suggests.

The investigators assumed that the overall incidence of HIV in the United States is 27 cases/100,000 people and the lifetime cost of care for someone with HIV is $119,000, based on published data from government statistics and peer-reviewed studies. Using the $392 cost of a circumcision at their institution, they developed computer-generated estimates of the cost-effectiveness of mandatory or traditional circumcision strategies for various populations, said Dr. Sarah E. Drennan, a third-year resident in ob.gyn. at Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans. [They also assumed that the reduction of heterosexually-transmitted HIV apparently found in three studies in Africa was applicable to the USA.]

For the overall U.S. population, mandatory circumcision would prevent 494 cases of HIV at a cost of approximately $790 million. Traditional circumcision – in which the parents choose whether or not to circumcise a newborn – would prevent 470 cases of HIV at a cost of approximately $401 million, she reported at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

[Only a handful of fanatics have ever suggested mandatory circumcision, and it is irrelevant to the study how 100% circumcision is achieved. It would be sufficient for their purposes to refer to "universal" circumcision. It would be illuminating for them to have considered no circumcision, since the rate of "traditional" circumcision is falling.]

The idea of mandatory circumcision policies in the United States has come up because of randomized, controlled trials in Africa showing that male circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male transmission of HIV by 50%-60%, Dr. Drennan said.

She and coinvestigator Dr. Rajiv Gala, also of the Ochsner Medical Center, conducted the current analysis to account for key differences between the two geographical regions. HIV is spread mainly through heterosexual contact in Africa and by intravenous drug use or men having sex with men in the United States. The prevalence of HIV is 5% in sub-Saharan Africa and 0.6% in North America

The study also compared the two strategies in the United States among African American and Hispanic populations, who have lower rates of circumcision and a higher prevalence of HIV, compared with the population as a whole. Traditional circumcision was the more cost-effective strategy in those subgroups too, although not as strongly as in the population as a whole, she said.

For African Americans, mandatory circumcision would prevent 1,878 cases of HIV at a cost of approximately $816 million. Traditional circumcision would prevent 1,807 cases of HIV at a cost of approximately $613 million.

For Hispanics, mandatory circumcision would prevent 472 cases of HIV at a cost of approximately $792 million. Traditional circumcision would prevent 435 cases of HIV at a cost of approximately $342 million.

"Given the U.S. incidence of HIV, recommendations for mandatory circumcision are not supported" and require more U.S. studies on the role of circumcision in HIV prevention, Dr. Drennan said.

Circumcision would have to cost a mere $2.90 for the two strategies to be equally cost effective in tmillion/case for the two circumcision strategies to be equally cost effective in the general population.

The topic has generated controversy in recent years as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was said to be considering recommendations promoting routine circumcision for HIV prevention. The CDC still is considering what might be recommended, but any recommendations will be voluntary in nature, according to the CDC website.

The analysis was limited by a lack of data from randomized clinical trials and by the subjective nature of measuring behavioral risk, she said. The study also did not consider adverse events associated with circumcision or other health benefits other than prevention of HIV.


June 15, 2012

Morris continues to purge his site of Quaintness - unsuccessfully

(C) Brian Morris & the Gilgal Society

Professor Brian Morris of the Univeristy of Sydney has removed references to the Gilgal Society from the French and German versions of his pro-circumcision leaflets.

The Gilgal Society was - and so far as anyone knows, still is - headed by Vernon Quaintance, convicted in April for possessing child pornography.

French, before
Morris leaflet, French, with Gilgal attribution

French, after
Morris leaflet, French, without Gilgal attribution

German, before
Morris leaflet, German, with Gilgal attribution

German, after
Morris leaflet, German, without Gilgal attribution

The circumfetish group circlist replaces the Gilgal Society among recommended websites. The name of Associate Professor Guy Cox of the University of Sydney has also been removed from the leaflets.

The Society and its logo are still emblazoned across its speculative list of Australian and New Zealand circumcisors on Professor Morris's website, circinfo.net. Quaintance (misspelt "Quantance") is still listed as the author of a poem in praise of circumcision in the "humor" section, directly under a picture of a naked baby.

The Gilgal Society has published a sheaf of leaflets by Morris and a fetishistic video of an adult circumcision. Its website continues to advertise his leaflets, though "major computer failure" prevents it from selling them. Soon after Quaintance's conviction, Professor Morris removed the Gilgal logo from his leaflets in English, but it has remained on the French and German versions till recently.

Earlier story


The right of a person to decide what to do with their own body....

New Europe
June 14, 2012

Amnesty International praises the European Parliament's commitment to end female genital mutilation

Today, 14 June, the European Parliament called on the United Nations to officially ban Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) once and for all. The joint resolution passed with an overwhelming majority.

According to MEP Michael Cashman: “Female Genital Mutilation is an internationally recognized abuse of human rights, child rights, and women’s rights, but it can only be addressed if we recognize the holistic rights of women. And, yes, that is including sexual health and reproductive rights. The right of a woman to decide what to do with her own body.”

The number of women and girls in Europe affected by this horrific practice are quite high. At least 500.000 women and girls living in Europe have undergone the practice of FGM. An additional 180.000 are at risk.

Despite the well-known detrimental physical and mental consequences of FGM, it is a practice that is sustained by tradition and performed for purely non-medical reasons. It is an extreme form of gender discrimination.

The EP is urging the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution at its 67th session, which starts in September, to officially ban FGM worldwide. The African Union requested this initiative at the summit on 2 July 2011.


Amnesty International reacted very positively to the EP’s push to end FGM.

“... I hope that this show of commitment will be translated into action before more girls and women are exposed to this human rights violation”, concluded Dr Christine Loudes, Director.


The Local (Norway)
June 13, 2012

Ban ritual circumcision of boys: Centre Party

The practice of ritually circumcising infant boys is outdated, dangerous, and should be banned, according to Centre Party justice policy spokeswoman Jenny Klinge.

“In my view, this is a custom that we cannot accept in a modern, civilized society. Our aim is to prioritize the rights of small children. Fortunately, it has become forbidden to circumcise girls, now it’s time for boys to get the same legal protection,” Klinge told newspaper Dagbladet.

Although the Centre Party itself a junior partner in Norway’s Red-Green coalition government, the politician also criticized the government’s decision to consult experts on the possibility of introducing circumcision into the public healthcare system, a move she fears would legitimize the practice.

She stressed that she was not opposed to circumcision in cases where it was deemed a medical necessity.

“But circumcision based on ritual and religion is actually about holding down a newborn baby boy and cutting off part of a healthy sexual organ, with all the consequences that this might have for an individual’s future health and sex life,” said Klinge.

With this in mind, performing a circumcision on religious grounds ought to be made a criminal offence, she added.

Jan Helge Solbakk, a professor of medical ethics at Oslo University, agreed with Klinge’s criticism of the practice.

“It represents an irreversible operation on a boy who is not in a position to protect himself, and as such is in breach of basic human rights,” he told Dagbladet.

Earlier story


The Freethinker (UK)
June 13, 2012

Circumcision turned into porn by Catholic paedophile

By Barry Duke

JUST under a month ago I drew readers’ attention to a conference taking place in the UK next month to discuss the issue of unnecessary circumcision. It is to be held on Thursday, July 26 at Keele University, Staffordshire, and will explore how boys might be protected from being unnecessarily damaged by the practice.

Ahead of the conference, Glen Poole, Strategic Director of The Men’s Network, this week launched a petition, calling on the UK Government to end unnecessary circumcision in Britain, and I would urge you to sign it.

In my original blog, based on a report that pressure was being put on the Australian Government to end the ban on elective male circumcision in public hospitals, and to substantially increase the Medicare benefit for the procedure, I pointed out that this pressure had come mainly from The Circumcision Foundation of Australia.

The Foundation, I noted, was led by Sydney University biologist, Professor Brian Morris, who thinks circumcision should be mandatory. I have since learned that Morris is a member of a sinister outfit called the Gilgal Society, a UK-based not-for-profit organisation that exists to:

Provide accurate, medically approved, information about male circumcision and its benefits in terms of health, sexual satisfaction and self-image.

Gilgal is Hebrew for “hill of foreskins”, and the society, according Circleaks (motto: A place to learn about those who fund, promote, and profit from circumcision) is headed by a devout Roman Catholic called Vernon Quaintance, 68, who was employed as a sacristan and server for something called the Order of Malta’s Mass.

According to this Circleaks page:

Groups such as the Gilgal Society, the Acorn Society, and the Cutting Club openly admit to a morbid fascination with circumcision to the point of sado-masochistic fetish. These groups advertise that doctors are among their members. There are those on the Internet who discuss the erotic stimulation they experience by watching other males being circumcised, swap fiction and about it, and trade in videotapes of actual circumcisions.

The Gilgal Society has even published a book containing stories eroticising the circumcision of minors. Here’s an extract:

… the boys were given plenty of wine to relax them. … the discussion was about the sex lives of the boys and their school friends. The doctor asked how often the boys wanked. … The doctor showed the boys his microscope and asked if they had ever seen sperm under one. … He suggested to Mark that if he wanted to, he could have a quiet wank whilst Neil was being circumcised… This was eagerly accepted. … He lay back with his eyes closed and just let the doctor get on.

In April this year, Quaintance, from Upper Norwood, became a member of another “exclusive” club when he was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register after being convicted in the Old Bailey of possessing a stash of child porn.

But, despite having three video cassettes with nine-hours’ worth of clips showing boys as young as 11 engaging in sex acts, Quaintance avoided a jail sentence. The retired telephone engineer was handed a 40-week jail term, suspended for two years, ordered to complete a sexual offenders rehabilitation course, and told to pay £300 costs.

Residents in Henley Gardens, where Quaintance is known as “the respected head of the local community association”, were shocked to hear of his conviction. One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said:

I know he is a very religious man and is committed to the church.

Curious as to whether, in the light of Quaintance’s conviction, the Gilgal Society was still publishing circumcision porn, I clicked on the “Publications” link, only to receive this message:

We regret that as a result of major computer failure none of our publications are currently available to order from us.

Let’s hope its “computer failure” is terminal.

NOTE: There also a petition calling for a halt to female genital mutilation in the UK.

Earlier story


No babies will sign.

New York Times
June 12, 2012

City Urges Requiring Consent for Jewish Rite

By Sharon Otterman

New York City health officials proposed on Tuesday that Orthodox Jewish parents be required to sign a consent waiver before they can take part in a circumcision ritual that is believed to have led to the deaths of at least two babies in the city over the past decade.

The proposal, introduced at a Board of Health meeting, represents an escalation of the city’s efforts to curtail the ancient Jewish procedure of metzitzah b’peh, in which an adult male, usually the circumciser, places his mouth directly on the wound created by the removal of the infant’s foreskin to suck away the blood.

Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report based on city information that said that from 2000 to 2011, 11 newborn babies in New York contracted the herpes simplex virus after the ritual. Ten of those babies were hospitalized; two suffered brain damage, and two died.

Based on those findings, the city’s health department issued a statement last week strongly urging that direct oral-genital suction not be performed during circumcision. It also announced that a number of hospitals had agreed to distribute a pamphlet to parents considering at-home circumcision, warning them of the risks.

On Tuesday, Dr. Jay K. Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control for the health department, announced the city’s next step, proposing that the Board of Health, which approves public health policies, require all parents who want direct oral suction to be used to sign a consent form indicating that they are aware of the risk of infection.

... In its study, the C.D.C. estimated that roughly 3,600 newborn boys a year in New York had circumcisions that included the procedure. Those infants, the agency said, had more than triple the normal risk of contracting herpes.

Over the past decade, as stories of babies sickened after such circumcisions have come to light, ultra-Orthodox authorities have strongly defended the practice as a religious right. [There is no such thing as "a religious right", only the rights of people to practise religion, which are subordinate to human rights.] Some rabbis argue that there is not enough evidence to show that the procedure causes infection, while others say the practice is important enough that it should be continued anyway.

Avi Shafran, spokesman for Agudath Israel, an umbrella group for many ultra-Orthodox organizations, said on Tuesday that the group wanted to study the proposed regulation before commenting on it. In March, the organization’s executive vice president, Rabbi David Zwiebel, warned that regulating the practice could drive it underground, making it more risky. [This objection is never used against regulating female genital cutting.]

In his presentation to the Board of Health, Dr. Varma said that two of the families whose babies got herpes after the ritual had told health authorities that they were unaware beforehand that it would be performed. He said distressed families had called, as recently as two weeks ago, saying they did not know their mohel would place his mouth on their infant’s wound, and wanting to know what could be done.

The health department is accepting public comments on the regulation until a public hearing on July 23, and will vote on it in September. Dr. Varma said the department was prepared for opposition.

“Since we are regulating how part of a religious procedure is done, this will be heavily scrutinized by legal experts, and it may be challenged at some point,” he said. “But we feel we are on very firm legal ground, because there is a compelling interest on behalf of the city in protecting the health of infants.” [How does allowing parentally consented metzitzah protect the health of infants?]


Earlier story


That's one small step...

Daily News (Galveston)
June 10, 2012

UTMB invites public to symposium on circumcision

By Molly Dannenmaier

GALVESTON — Is male circumcision a medical procedure or a ritual? [Yes. Next!] Why is it important religiously and historically? [Begging the question that it is.] Should it be performed, and if so, how should it be performed? [Suggesting that the answer "No it should not" is not going to get much of a look-in.]

All these issues will be discussed at a symposium Friday by a panel of experts including a medical historian, a Jewish mohel who is also a pediatrician and two physicians with differing views on the ethical questions surrounding the performing of routine infant circumcision.

The symposium “Cutting Edge Debate: Pros, Cons and Contexts of Male Circumcision” will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Moody Gardens Hotel as part of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s 61st Pediatrics by the Gulf annual Pediatric Review and Update. There are a limited number of seats for the circumcision symposium available to the public by preregistration for a fee of $50, which includes a buffet lunch. The deadline to register is Tuesday.

The panel will engage in a multidimensional discussion of the ethical questions raised by circumcision, the wide array of varied views about circumcision and the social and cultural contexts that shape those views. The audience will be invited to participate in the discussion.

Panelist Dr. Max Mintz is both a pediatrician and a Jewish mohel who has performed about 10,000 circumcisions. He will speak to the place of circumcision in the Jewish tradition, the unique features of religious circumcision and his many years of experience performing the brit milah ritual with families throughout in the southwest region. He said he often is contacted by non-Jewish parents actively seeking out a mohel to perform circumcision on their sons. His discussion will include reasons some of these parents have shared with him for seeking a ritual circumcision instead of a purely clinical one.

Panelist Dr. Mike Malloy, a professor of pediatrics who oversees the UTMB Pediatric Residency Training program in circumcision, will provide an overview of current techniques used, types and rates of complication and the evolving, revolving perspectives on circumcision held by the American Academy of Pediatrics. ["Evolving, revolving"? Like how it has been shifting its bottom on the fence?]

Panelist Dr. Juliet McKee is a UTMB assistant professor in Family Medicine with specific interests in complementary and integrative medicine, women’s and children’s health and maternity care. While she continues to provide circumcision counseling, she no longer performs circumcisions. Her talk will address how she came to this decision, her concern for the vulnerability of infant patients and her desire to induct newborns into the world in ways that are intentional and respectful.

Panelist Jason Glenn is an assistant professor at UTMB’s Institute for the Medical Humanities and a historian of medicine. His talk will provide a social and historical framework for thinking about the ritual of circumcision. Dr. Glenn’s talk will provide the larger contexts within which circumcision is performed and debated.

To register for the symposium, contact UTMB’s Marcy Sifuentes at msifuent(at)utmb.edu or 409-772-3396. Registration is required to attend.

[It's a step forward that the question of NOT circumcising is even going to be raised, but with two pro-circumcision panelists and one who "continues to provide circumcision counselling", the dice are going to be loaded towards circumcising. Who there is going to say anything about the functions and value of the foreskin, or speak for men who wish they had not been circumcised, or the double standard involved in allowing the cutting of boys while totally forbidding any cutting of girls? Joseph4GI also blogs about this event.]


An indication how current the myth is

The Voice (Botswana)
June 8, 2012


By Francinah Baaitse

Minister Matlhabapiri returns to court as scandal unfolds

Details of an illicit affair between the Assistant Minister of Health, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri and his maid were expected once again to tumble out of the closet as the case resumed on Thursday.

Matlhabaphir’s alleged sex sessions with his former maid were exposed when an ongoing assault court case involving the maid’s husband Simon Tafi, hit the headlines last year. ... Tafi had in his previous evidence said: “When I confronted my wife about her multiple sexual encounters with Mtlhabaphiri and cautioned her that she could be exposing us to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS, she told me to my face that Matlhabaphiri could not infect her with HIV/AIDS because he was circumcised.” [And where did she get that idea - from the Assistant Health Minister?]



June 7, 2012

NYC warns parents of rare circumcision ritual

NEW YORK — Several hospitals serving New York City's large population of ultra-orthodox Jews have agreed to distribute a pamphlet to new parents carrying a warning from the health department that a rare form of ritual circumcision is dangerous, has killed at least two babies since 2004 and should be avoided.

The fliers address a procedure called "metzitzah b'peh" in Hebrew that was once a widely observed religious tradition but was abandoned by most Jews starting in the mid-19th century because of fears it could spread disease. During the ritual, the person performing the circumcision, called a mohel, cleans the wound by sucking blood from the cut and spitting it aside.

Doctors say that puts the child at risk of becoming infected with herpes simplex type 1, a virus that most adults have and carry in their saliva.

In adults, that type of herpes is usually harmless, causing occasional cold sores, but to newborns it can be deadly.

New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Wednesday that the ritual caused herpes in 11 children, 10 of whom required hospitalization, from 2000 to 2011.

Two developed brain damage. Two others died, including one last summer, officials said.

"There is no safe way to perform oral suction on any open wound in a newborn," Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said in a statement. "Parents considering ritual Jewish circumcision need to know that circumcision should only be performed under sterile conditions, like any other procedures that create open cuts, whether by mohelim or medical professionals."

All city-owned hospitals have agreed to distribute the flier, plus eight more, including several located in city neighborhoods with large populations of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

City health officials have warned against the procedure before, and it has been a topic of intense discussion in the Orthodox community for years, but the department said has been stepping up efforts since the latest death.

In the past, some rabbis in the city, which has the largest Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, population outside of Israel, have resisted attempts to end the ritual, saying that the warnings about the risks were overblown and there wasn't enough evidence that it was causing herpes.

Most reform and modern orthodox mohels clean circumcision wounds with sterile gauze, a sponge, or use a glass tube to suction away blood.

Earlier story


No surprise. He should have asked for more.

June 6, 2012

Judge throws out SD inmate's circumcision lawsuit

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A federal judge threw out a South Dakota prison inmate's claim he was permanently harmed when he was circumcised as an infant.

Twenty-eight-year-old Dean Cochrun had sought $1,000 in damages from Sanford Health. He also demanded "restoration" surgery.

U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier dismissed the case last week. She says the court doesn't have jurisdiction because both Cochrun and the hospital are in South Dakota.

Agrus Leader June 6, 2012

But U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier dismissed his case last week, finding that the federal court system has no jurisdiction over such a small claim. [So he should have sued for millions....] She also ordered him to pay a $350 filing fee.

Cochrun's lawsuit says he was circumcised shortly after he was born in Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. The hospital is now known as Sanford Health.

Cochrun says the circumcision left him feeling inadequate and unable to fully enjoy sexual intercourse.

Sanford Health says circumcision wouldn't have been done without parental consent. [And that changes what?]

Cochrun is serving time in South Dakota's state prison for kidnapping. [But he won't be there forever, so that changes what?]

Earlier story


Real news: the men are not buying it

UK Zambians
June 2, 2012

80% target set for male circumcision

The American government with its cooperating partners in the eastern and southern African regions hopes to reach about 80 % of males aged 15 to 49 with medical male circumcision in the next five years.

QFM NEWS reports that US ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella says this could prevent up to 3.4 million new infections in the region. [The figure is ex recto.]

Ambassador Storella says his government has been supporting Zambia in implementing the male circumcision programmes because they have proved to be effective in the prevention of HIV infections. [And it seems the US Government has been telling its ambassadors to push circumcision.]

The diplomat notes that the rate of men accessing the male circumcision has continued to be low saying there is need for the male circumcision awareness programmes to be scaled up.

Ambassador Storella was speaking at a meeting on medical male circumcision held for traditional leaders in Lusaka this morning.

Earlier story


The Times of Israel
June 1, 2012

Baby hospitalized after botched circumcision

Doctors expect reattachment procedure to be successful

By Ilan Ben Zion

A two-day-old boy from a Galilee village was rushed to a Haifa hospital on Friday after a botched circumcision.

The infant’s Muslim parents brought their child to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa after the ritual circumciser accidentally dismembered the child’s penis.

Urologists and surgeons worked to reattach the detached organ and said they expect the procedure to be successful.

This is the second time in the past month that the Rambam Medical Center has dealt with a misperformed circumcision.

Earlier story


June 1, 2012

France jails Guinean couple for genital mutilation

A French court Friday convicted a couple of Guinean origin of carrying out genital mutilation on their four daughters, sentencing the father to two years in prison and the mother to 18 months.

The court in the central city of Nevers convicted the couple, who arrived in France in the late 1980s, of "complicity in wilful violence" and sentenced the father to five years in prison and the mother to four years, with part of the sentences suspended.

The couple had been accused of carrying out the act, still practiced in some parts of Africa but illegal in France, on their two eldest daughters, now adults, and their two youngest, now aged 11 and 13.

Prosecutors had insisted on jail sentences for the couple, saying they were not looking for a "symbolic" conviction that would not include prison time.

The affair came to light in 2005 when the mutilation of the eldest girl was discovered in a Nevers hospital, where she was being operated on for appendicitis.

Female circumcision is still practised as an ancestral custom in parts of Africa despite awareness campaigns and increasingly tough legislation. The mutilation consists in a complete or partial cutting off of the clitoris and sometimes the lips of the vagina.

Earlier story


Mother Nature Network
May 30, 2012

New project aims to double-check international aid program results

How much do adult male circumcision programs in Africa reduce HIV rates [...if at all]? Does group lending, which encourages repayment by putting people in support groups, make it easier for peasants in Thailand to pay back loans? There are high-profile studies that answer those questions, said Benjamin Wood, a researcher at the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation's Washington, D.C. office. But his organization thinks there's still a piece missing – studies that double-check the results from aid program research. "It's a bit of a hole in the field," he said. So the initiative is looking to fund repeat studies, which have been perpetually unpopular in almost any field of science.

Getting the same results twice or several times over is an important part of showing a study is true. Repeating experiments can also resolve debates about studies some experts think were poorly done. They help the U.S. government, which spent $15 billion on international aid in 2011, and private donors, who spend billions more, decide how to spend their budgets. Yet repeats are rarely published because researchers don't have any incentive to perform them.

One problem is that scientists build their reputations by publishing new, exciting papers. "Academics have to get published. That's their job," Wood said. Academic journals are less likely to publish a repeat, however, especially if the repeat that finds the original researchers did everything right, Wood told InnovationNewsDaily. Papers that point out something is wrong are more popular, he said.

That leads to another problem. Because repeat studies tend to be negative, researchers are reluctant to release their original data for replication.

So a new project Wood is leading will give researchers money to do repeat studies. His organization will publish preliminary results on their website, so good work doesn't get lost just because it's a repeat. The initiative won't favor negative results, so original researchers shouldn't worry a repeat request will necessarily hurt them.

In fact, original researchers could benefit from cooperating on a replication study, he said. A positive repeat will bring positive publicity to the original study and make it seem more reliable, so more people will read it. "These are all things that are helpful for the original researchers," Wood said.

The initiative will also post on their site if the researchers won't give up their data within three months of getting a request. The listing isn't exactly meant to embarrass researchers, according to Wood. "I think it's just kind of an identification," he said, "and maybe if you're unable to produce your original dataset, it starts to raise questions."

Wood is now looking for experts to nominate studies to get repeated. He wants influential or controversial studies, especially.... The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation may perform in-house a repeat on a study about male circumcision for HIV transmission prevention.



Helsingin Sanomat
May 28, 2012

NEWS ANALYSIS: Finland lacks policy on religiously-mandated male circumcision

By Irina Vähäsarja

The issue of circumcisions performed on boys for religious and cultural reasons has reached a stage in Finland in which it is difficult to find a solution that is acceptable to all.
   The Green League voted in favour of a resolution at its party congress a week ago that such procedures should be phased out in Finland either through advice or, if necessary, through legislation.

Finns Party MP Vesa-Matti Sarakkala submitted a legislative initiative in Parliament calling for an outright ban on circumcisions.
   Earlier in the spring the issue was also taken up by Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson (Swed. People’s Party). In her view, the procedures should be permitted, but legislation, or at least guidelines from the ministerial level are needed on who may perform the circumcisions and under what circumstances.
   There are problems involved in both permitting and prohibiting the operations, but there are also problems involved in the Finnish status quo, which has no specific legislation to back it up.

It is estimated that hundreds of non-medical circumcisions are performed on boys each year, but the circumstances under which they might be permitted, and when they would be classified as criminal assault are unclear.
   A basic guideline has been the decision handed down by the Supreme Court in 2008, in which the religiously motivated circumcision performed on a Muslim boy was not considered a crime, as it was performed in a medically sound manner.
   The decision has been interpreted in such a way that non-medical circumcisions have been seen as permissible as long as they are performed by a doctor.

However, last year Helsinki District Court took a tougher line. The court ruled, among other things, that the person undergoing the procedure should understand what is happening. This means that circumcision of small children would not be allowed.
   The court based its decision on the Convention on Human rights and Biomedicine of the Council of Europe, which was adopted by Finland only after the Supreme Court’s decision.
   The case is still in the Court of Appeals, and it is too early to say if the Supreme Court will rule on it someday.

As long as no legislation is passed, or case law established, cases will end up in court. The situation causes uncertainty among parents who do not know if they could face charges.
   If the surgeries are banned, there is a danger that they will be performed abroad, or that quacks might be enlisted for the purpose, and that if complications occur, the parents might be afraid to take their children in for treatment. In addition, both the Jewish and Muslim communities oppose any ban.
   However, if the procedures are permitted, Finland will be giving its approval to medically unnecessary surgery that interferes with the integrity of the body. The Finnish Medical Association takes the stand that child circumcisions are in conflict with medical ethics.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health favours a compromise. It does not take a stand in either direction on the issue of legislation, but it is preparing a set of guidelines for health care professionals.
   Ministry official Marie Kolimaa is not disclosing the content or schedule of the guidelines. “There are many things that remain open”, she says.
   This is certainly easy to believe. A number of thorny questions need to be considered:

Should public health care be used for the performance of a religious ritual?
   What if all doctors refuse on ethical grounds?
   If the procedures are consigned to the private sector, is it still possible to get a public subsidy?

There is also the question of basic principles, which the Greens also referred to.
   Should Finland seek to act in such a way that non-medical circumcisions of boys would become less common, or be eliminated completely? If so, what would be the means to that end?

Earlier story


May 27, 2012

Guinea: Couple to Face French Court Over Daughters' Circumcision

A couple of Guinean origin is to stand trial for female circumcision in France on Tuesday. Although they were put under control of court in 2005 when their two elder daughters were found to have undergone female genital mutilation, their two younger daughters were later found to have suffered the same fate.

The couple, who came to France in the late 1980s, have been charged with complicity in violence, "having brought about the mutilation of a minor of less than 15 years old". They face up to 15 years in jail.

Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is traditional in about 30 African countries but illegal in France.

The couple's two elder daughters were found to have been mutilated after one of them, then aged 14, was admitted to hospital for appendicitis in Nevers, central France.

After at first denying any knowledge of genital cutting, the father went on to mention a woman who might have practised it, while denying that he knew it was illegal in France and that he had agreed to it taking place.

The couple were placed under judicial control, a form of parole.

At the time the two younger girls had not been circumcised but they were found to have undergone the operation in 2009 when hospital staff again notified the authorities after the youngest, then aged seven, was admitted with heavy bleeding from the vagina.

Again the parents denied any knowledge and the girls refused to say what had happened.


"This case is a first in so far as the parents were warned in 2005 but did it again," lawyer Linda Weil-Curiel, acting for the Committee for the Abolition of Sexual Mutilation, said.

About 40 vaginal mutilation cases have been taken to court in France, she added.


IBNlive (India)
May 27, 2012

Boy with ear ailment circumcised in hospital

By Bhukker Madhu Kumar

BELLARY: Tension prevailed at the V S Hospital in the city on Saturday, when parents of a four-year-old boy alleged that their son was mistakenly circumcised while he needed a lymphod surgery.

Rohith, the son of Vaikunta and Sheshamma, hailing from Penukonda in Andhra Pradesh, was admitted to V S Hospital at BUDA Complex near Moti Circle as a lump on his left ear needed to be removed surgically.

Another boy was admitted to the hospital at the same time complaining of a urological problem.

Hospital doctor Chennanna allegedly performed the surgery on Rohith’s abdomen without verifying facts around 6 am on Saturday, alleged his parents.

Rohith’s parents noticed that the lump in his ear was not removed, only to realise that the surgery was performed in his abdomen. An embarrassed Dr Chennanna wasting no time performed another surgery to rectify his mistake and removed the lump in the boy’s left ear. “Dr Chennanna left the spot in a huff,” the parents said.

However, Dr Chennanna told Express that he had performed the surgeries on the patient only after consent of the boy’s mother. “The boy’s mother asked me to perform the circumcision as well; the two surgeries were performed simultaneously and the boy is in good health,” he added. Rohit was under severe pain owing to the surgeries. He was later shifted to the Vijaynagar Institute of Medical Sciences, Bellary.


He added that Dr Chennanna called him over phone and apprised him on the issue. “The doctor has been advised to file a clarification on the matter with the IMA by Saturday night, following which an emergency meeting will be convened to decide on the issue,” he said.

Dr Vidhyadhar added that the surgery was minor and the boy’s doing well.

Meanwhile, DHO Srikanth Basur told Express: “I have no information on the incident. Whatever I know is what media reported.”

VIMS director was unresponsive to Express’ attempts to contact him.



The Star (Kenya)
May 25, 2012

LSK official calls for harsher laws on FGM

By Moraa Obiria

THERE is an urgent need to review the laws protecting women against female genital mutilation, a Law Society of Kenya council member in the Rift Valley has said. Karimi Njeru said the current laws are too lenient to curb the outdated practice by various communities across the country. Njeru said the existing legal framework of serving a jail term of six months or paying a fine of Sh50,000 [$US 587] by the offenders is too lenient.


Njeru said she will mobilize members of the council to petition the Attorney General to review the laws to establish rather stringent punitive mechanisms against the FGM offenders. She said unlike the current laws which are too soft to prevent the recurrent of the practice, more harsh measures will instill discipline and elicit feelings of regret from the offenders and hence curb the trend.


Meanwhile she urged the Muslim women to be at the forefront in the fight against the practice amongst young girls. “Do not go silent on the practice. Raise the alarm while you can so that we can protect the lives of our girls. Otherwise you will be accused of abetting the crime against children and girls,” said Njeru.

Earlier story


Irish Health (registration required)
May 24, 2012

Male circumcision unnecessary - surgeon

Routine circumcision in male infants is a potentially dangerous and unnecessary procedure, according to a Dublin surgeon, ...

Dublin consultant plastic surgeon Mr Matt McHugh said circumcision was a form of genital mutilation that exposed patients to a number of health risks.

However, a representative of the Jewish community in Ireland has defended ...

Writing in the latest issue of Modern Medicine, the Irish journal of clinical medicine, Mr McHugh said: "There is no rationale for carrying out this extremely painful, traumatic and potentially dangerous procedure on male infants.


Mr McHugh said the reasons put forward for circumcision are "unproven and have no scientific basis of fact". In cases of clinically significant and persistent ‘phimosis' - a condition where the foreskin cannot be fully retracted, and the most common indication for non-religious circumcision - simple measures can be taken to correct the problem.

There is a common belief that the circumcised man runs a lessened risk of venereal infection, particularly AIDS and syphilis, but there are few figures to support this, Mr McHugh said.


However Rabbi Zalman Lent, of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation, said that circumcision was safe when performed correctly ["When performed correctly" Aye, there's the rub.]



...more unsightly and scarred than usual...

Miami New Times
May 23, 2012

Couple Sues Miami Doctor Over Botched Circumcision That Left Son's Penis "Unsightly"

By Michael Miller

A husband and wife are suing their Miami doctor over a botched circumcision that left their infant son with a "unsightly... and permanently scarred" penis. Steven and Keka Lorenzana of Coral Gables filed suit against South Miami ob/gyn Lissette Molina on May 11. The suit claims that Molina botched their son's circumcision so badly that not even corrective surgery could completely fix her mistake.

"The psychological ramifications of any penal [penile] injury are pretty extensive," says David Llewellyn, an Atlanta-based lawyer who handles many botched circumcision cases and has been hired by the Lorenzanas. Money from a settlement or trial would likely to go towards counseling for the child, he said.

On December 1, 2008, the Lorenzanas took their son -- identified in the lawsuit by the initials C.L. -- to South Miami Hospital. There, Molina circumcised the infant using a 1.3 GOMCO clamp, the most commonly used circumcision tool in the U.S.

According to the lawsuit, however, Molina "failed to align the foreskin on the bell of the GOMCO clamp before engaging the nut on the base plate, closing the clamp, and excising the foreskin, resulting in leaving too much foreskin on the ventral side of the penis."

For more than two years, the Lorenzanas' fears about their son's circumcision were waylaid [sic. gainsaid?] by pediatricians. One told the parents that C.L. "would grow into it."

But on April of 2011, Keka Lorenzana met Molina for a check-up and expressed concern about her son's penis. She showed Molina pictures and the ob/gyn told her to consult a urologist.

That's when the Lorenzanas realized the extent of their son's injuries. In September, C.L. underwent corrective surgery at a hospital in Atlanta but, according to the lawsuit, "the ventral side of (his) penis is still unsightly and is permanently scarred."

Neither the Lorenzanas nor Dr. Molina could be reached for comment, but the lawsuit notes that Molina has denied any negligence. We will update if we hear from any of them.

C.L.'s lawyers say that the boy, now three and a half years old, will likely need counseling to overcome the lasting trauma from the operation gone wrong.

"When skin is rearranged on the penis, that is going to affect (1) how it looks and (2) how it feels and very well may affect his sexual life," says Llewellyn, who has a website devoted to circumcision lawsuits.

"Men tend to be very concerned about how their penis looks," he says. "I think that always a tremendous psychological effect on boys and men."


Central Asian News Service (Kazakhstan)
May 22, 2012

Unsuccessful circumcision may lead boy to infertility and psychological abnormalities in Karaganda

CA-NEWS (KZ) - The surgeon cut off the part of 5-year-old child's penis [as always] during the circumcision in Karaganda, TV Channel 31 reported.

Karaganda resident, being converted to Islam, decided to do a circumcision to himself and his two 5-year-old twin sons. The first child had an operation which was successful, but the second one not.

"The surgeon just called an ambulance and said that something was damaged, so we were taken to the 45th hospital. We got bad news only after 4 hours. We were told that the head of our child's penis was cut off completely," mother of the suffered boy added.

Doctors sewed amputated fragment, but it did not catch on. Boy is still afraid of doctors, became tearful, there are problems with speech, even after several months of the last surgery. The criminal case under article for the improper performance of official duties due to negligence in regard of doctor is established. However, this article came under the amnesty, so the case was closed.



the Monitor (Botswana)
May 21, 2012

F/town adult males spurn circumcision

By Chakalisa Dube

FRANCISTOWN: The Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) focal person from the District Health Management Team (DHMT) here, Dr Idy Thaddee Mulenda has said that the majority of adult males in the city and its surrounding areas still do not circumcise.

... "Our target for this year is to circumcise 10,000 males but for the first quarter of this year we have only managed to circumcise 658. The majority of those who have circumcised are students. We have four quarters in a year and it is unlikely that we will reach our 10,000 target if adult men do not circumcise in large numbers," he said.

... we have been talking to institutions such as banks and police stations that have high volumes of workers to send their employees for circumcision when schools are closed," he said. He said despite the intervention, the number of adult males who circumcise is still very low.

Mulenda also stated that only 4,209 men in Francistown and greater Francistown areas have been circumcised since the SMC initiative was launched in the city in July 2009. Of the 4,209, 40 carried out the procedure in private hospitals.

Programme officer at the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP), Eric Magashula, whose organisation works hand in hand with the Ministry of Health to deliver the SMC programme, said the majority of adults do not circumcise because they are reluctant to test for HIV/AIDS. He stated that the number of students who circumcise is high because HIV/AIDS prevalence among them is low.

He said, "We are however expecting the number of adult males who circumcise to increase soon. Of late we managed to reach a lot of individuals in very remote areas near Francistown to sensitise [indoctrinate] them about the importance of circumcising.

Earlier story


the Monitor (Botswana)
May 21, 2012

Vee in P1.3m circumcision deal - allegations

By Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe

The Ministry of Health spokesman Themba Sibanda yesterday claimed ignorance as to whether they paid P1.3 million [$US 169,000] to kwaito kwasa star Vee wa Mampela for the on-going Safe Male Circumcision campaign spearheaded by the star.

Vee is the face of the Ministry of Health's Safe Male Circumcision drive that seeks to have half a million men circumcised to reduce the HIV/AIDS infection. Vee appears on billboards, newspaper adverts and television commercials as the face of the Safe Male Circumcision drive.

Sibanda referred further enquiries to Vee saying the issue of contract is personal. When asked to say if it is true that the tender for the job was never floated, Sibanda said he does not know much about that yet, saying he would have to check with the relevant department.



The Times of Swaziland
May 20, 2012

Accident survivor mysteriously circumcised

By Nhlanhla Mathunjwa

NHLANGANO – A patient who was transferred to a South African private hospital after being involved in a car accident was circumcised without his permission.

This anomaly has left government with a bill of E6 000.


Timothy Dlamini ... was taken to the Louis Pasteur Private Hospital in Pretoria ... after sustaining injuries on his spinal cord during an accident which occurred on September 3, 2011.


Before being involved in the accident, Timothy had already sent an application to the Phalala Fund, as he had a lung cancer problem and needed specialists to examine and treat him.


The doctors examined him and thereafter recommended that he be transferred to a hospital in South Africa.


He remained at the hospital for a month before returning home after being informed that he would not get much assistance because the injuries were serious. He was only given a wheelchair, which he was told he would have to use for the rest of his life. Timothy told this newspaper that during the month he spent at the hospital, not much attention was given to him but one day he was taken to the theater for the circumcision process.

"I never wanted to be circumcised as I did not believe in it," he said.

"A number of people including doctors I worked with at the Nhlangano Health Centre tried to convince me to be circumcised but I told them that I was not going to do it. The reason was that I had been told that once a person is circumcised, he no longer enjoyed sex. I then decided that I would not do it especially because I was faithful to my wife."

He said he was told about the circumcision a week before he returned home.

"The doctor told me that he would be taking me to the surgery room for circumcision in the next 15 minutes and therefore I should prepare myself," he said. "I told the doctor that I had not gone to the hospital for circumcision. I also told him that I had personal reasons why I did not want to be circumcised and asked that such should not be done."

He said the doctor told him that the circumcision was part of the treatment.

"The doctor said if I did not undergo the circumcision, I would have a problem in the future as I would not be able to urinate properly, especially because I was now on a wheelchair," he said.

"I had no choice but to go along with what the doctor wanted. Despite that the process went well, I felt within me that I should not do this. It was against my will but because of all the reasons given to me, I had to do it. Another thing that made me to go along with doctor’s decision was because I had been told that the doctors in Mbabane had also recommended the circumcision."

When told that the doctor charged E6 000 [$US 720] and Phalala Fund was not willing to pay the money as they felt it did not form part of the treatment, he looked surprised, saying he had always knew that circumcision was free of charge.



the Post-Bulletin (Rochester MN)
May 18, 2012

Mayo Clinic doctor departs amid genital mutilation controversy

By Christina Killion Valdez

A Mayo Clinic doctor whose remarks regarding female genital mutilation ignited online controversy no longer works for Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea.

Dr. Hatem Elhagaly, also known as Hatem al-Haj, is a certified pediatrician who began working at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea in 2001, where he was employed until the week of May 7, according to a Mayo Clinic spokesman.

"... we cannot comment further on Dr. Elhagaly's employment status."

Elhagaly's departure comes soon after a petition on the website change.org, "Revoke the certifications of Hatem Elhagaly," ... which took aim at an Arabic-language paper entitled "Circumcision of Girls: Jurisprudence and Medicine" by Elhagaly for "repeatedly pointing to the idea that female genital mutilation is 'an honor' for women," had 703 signatures as of Friday.

The petition included directions to call Chris Gade at Mayo Clinic Public Affairs.

Attempts to contact Elhagaly by the Post-Bulletin were unsuccessful. However, on his personal website, Elhagaly posted a clarification of his position on female circumcision on May 10.

"I have always condemned female genital mutilation. Moreover I have unequivocally spoken out in lectures and in writing against all harmful forms of female genital cutting, justifiably known as female genital mutilation, and condemned these harmful practices. I have also taught that nothing in Islamic Law and religious texts supports this crime, and in fact, it is repugnant to Islamic principles and values to inflict such trauma and suffering on any female," he wrote.

Elhagaly, who is also dean of the College of Islamic Studies at Mishkah Islamic University of North America in Columbia Heights, however, stated that a subtype of female genital cutting, called the ritual nick, is harmless.

"This subtype doesn’t involve any form of clitorectomy. It is merely an incision of the clitoral hood, which is the counterpart of the foreskin in males, and does not remove any part of the clitoris. This opinion is scientifically irrefutable and shared by many American non-Muslim pediatricians. It is the position expressed by the Committee on Bioethics of the American Academy of Pediatrics," he wrote. [... and adopted as AAP policy for a month until public outrage caused its "retirement"]

A U.S. federal law went into effect on March 30, 1997, making the female genital mutilation of minors, also known as female circumcision, a crime. Female genital mutilation is a felony under Minnesota law except when it is done as a surgical procedure necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed.

Elhagaly wrote that he has never performed the procedure nor had he seen it done on any patient.

"I have never advised, suggested or encouraged any of my patients or their families to undertake any type of female circumcision, including the ritual nick," he wrote. "Whenever I have addressed the topic as a speaker or writer, I have warned that, albeit harmless, the ritual nick is a criminal offense in the U.S. and other Western countries and should not be done."


Earlier story


Newsday (Zimbabwe)
May 18, 2012

175 MPs to be circumcised

By Veneranda Langa Senior Parliamentary Reporter

Some 175 MPs are set to getcircumcised, while almost the same number will go through voluntary HIV testing and counselling, chairperson of Parliamentarians Against HIV and Aids (Zipah) Blessing Chebundo said yesterday.

In an interview, Chebundo, who is also Kwekwe Central MP, told NewsDay the MPs planned to be circumcised by the end of June to encourage Zimbabweans to take preventive measures against HIV/Aids.

Zimbabwe 2005-6

HIV Rates:

Circumcised men


Intact men


These were resolutions that came out of a recent HIV/Aids workshop for MPs in Kadoma and we made three resolutions, that we will walk the talk as role models and lead by example to embark on voluntary HIV testing and male circumcision, as well as to inspire young people to do the same, Chebundo said.

We need to go down to constituencies, provinces, districts, wards and villages as Zipah to spread messages to fight HIV/Aids and encourage males to undergo voluntary circumcision.

Chebundo said the programme would be done publicly, adding 20 MPs had already filled in forms to get circumcised.

Almost 175 MPs who are members of Zipah are in support of this and also 25 members of staff at Parliament. We are still updating the list of volunteers.

Obviously female MPs are not going for male circumcision, but we have encouraged their spouses to join us, Chebundo said.

However, there are still pockets of resistance in the House, with such MPs as Felix Magalela Sibanda (Magwegwe) saying in Parliament on Tuesday that the programme was misguided.

HIV should be a syllabus for the youths at a tender age not to tell us here in Parliament when I am already 65 years old and you tell me to go and get circumcised when I have sired 18 children without circumcision, Magalela Sibanda said.


The Mercury (Tasmania)
May 15, 2012

Circumcision decision due

By Michelle Paine

A TASMANIAN report into whether circumcision may be illegal is expected this month.

It comes as the Federal Government considers whether the procedure should continue to qualify for Medicare payments.

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute began its review in 2009.

Public hospitals in Tasmania, as in most states, only circumcise if medically necessary.

A 2008 University of Tasmania researcher said the law failed to clarify whether the person doing the procedure, usually a doctor but sometimes a religious figure, was committing assault or abuse, or that consent from the boy's parents was protection against criminal and civil action.

In 2007 then Children's Commission Paul Mason said that other than for medical reasons, it was a breach of the most basic human right to inflict permanent, painful and disfiguring surgery on a boy's body when he was too small to resist.

"Everyone is entitled to bodily integrity, to protection of their own body from injury by another without their consent," Mr Mason said.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians said there was no medical evidence for routine circumcision.

It said the rate of complications, which could be severe, was 1 to 4 per cent, and that a well trained practitioner should do the procedure.

"Informed parental choice should be respected .. [consent] should include the possibility that the ethical principle of autonomy may be better fulfilled by deferring the circumcision to adolescence with the young man consenting on his own behalf," its statement said.

Department of Health and Human Services strategic planning director Martin Hensher said it was an elective surgical procedure when deemed medically necessary.

Last year there were 84 circumcisions, 57 on children, in Tasmanian public hospitals.

"Any debate on a change in policy relating to male circumcision, including Medicare coverage, needs to take place on a national basis in close consultation with physicians and the relevant peak bodies like the [RACP]."

Earlier story


Bribery, peer pressure....

the Herald (Zimbabwe)
May 17, 2012

Zimbabwe: Changing Lives Through Soccer

THE power of soccer is the ability to keep humans knocking the ball around.


The power of soccer has not only left people in packed stadiums excited, it has marked its place in the management of HIV and Aids by thousands of youths in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo.


GRS communications officer Tanya Sibanda said since 2002, more than 25 000 youth have graduated from GRS Zimbabwe programmes


The GRS curriculum, she points out, is also designed to strengthen relationships between the coaches and the youth participants and comprises of ten 90-minute sessions.

Each coaching pair (i.e. a male and a female coach) works with a maximum of 25 youths.

One session is done per week meaning these two role models will see the same 25 youth once a week for 10 weeks, enabling them to build strong, trusting relationships.

Ms Sibanda said the curriculum is also designed to foster maximum interaction between GRS coaches and participants.


... GRS received a three-year programme grant in 2005 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its work.

"GRS now operates flagship sites in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia and has worked through partnerships in 18 countries worldwide," she said.


She revealed that GRS and PSI Zimbabwe will be hosting Bulawayo's first-ever male circumcision soccer tournaments to promote male circumcision from April to June.

Ms Sibanda said health partners at the events will offer free referrals for medical male circumcision including appointment bookings and free transportation to the PSI male circumcision clinic on site, with free HIV counselling and testing as well. [So what choice will the boys have?]

Soccer celebrities spearheading this campaign include some of Bulawayo's hottest talent -- Bantu Rovers' squad, which is fresh from a tour of the United States. From April 1 to 8, Bantu represented Zimbabwe at the 33rd annual Dallas Cup tournament in Dallas, Texas.



The New Age (South Africa)
May 17, 2012

'My boy is in pain'

By Masoka Dube

Mpumalanga - The national and Mpumalanga health departments face a combined R10m [$US 1.2 million] lawsuit after an eight-year-old boy lost the tip of his penis in a botched circumcision.

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, was mutilated at Barberton Hospital in Mpumalanga four years ago.

"We are currently waiting for the department to respond to the summons. They asked me to send them a doctor's medical report detailing the boy's injuries," said lawyer Milile Labe, who is representing the boy's family.

The boy's mother, who also cannot be named in order to protect his identity, said that a medical intern had performed the procedure on her son, who is now in Grade 2 at a primary school in Barberton.

"The intern attached the glans back on the penis, but after five days it fell off. I took the piece back to the hospital, where they put it into a container.

They then sent my son and the piece to Pretoria to get it re-attached, but that procedure failed as well. "To this day my boy still feels pain in his groin, especially when he tries to urinate," she said.

She said the doctor told her that the boy needed to undergo further medical treatment in order to be able to have sex in the future. "I made this shocking discovery after my lawyer took the boy to the doctor," said the mother.

A report from urologist Prof Mohamed Haffejee confirmed that the boy will experience problems later in life.

"In future he may have some sexual dysfunction related to decreased sensation and inability to reach orgasm due to the amputation of the glans. [And the foreskin. He could perhaps manage without a glans if he still had his foreskin.]

There may also be resulting psycho social problems as a consequence of the amputation related to low self-esteem," reads Mohamed's report, which is attached to the summons.



May 16, 2012

Kenya: Tigania Gang Terrorises Residents

By Kirimi Murithi

Residents of Buuri sublocation in Tigania East district staged demonstrations protesting against a gang that has been kidnapping people fighting archaic traditional practices. The gang kidnaps people who oppose female genital mutilation and support an alternative rite of passage for boys. They have been harassing human rights activists and kidnapping women who have refused to undergo the cut and men who have not passed through traditional circumcision.

The residents said last week a form three student at Nchuui Secondary School was stabbed to death for refusing to undergo training for traditional circumcision. They claim Eliud Mutuma resisted his kidnappers and they stabbed him. He died while undergoing treatment at Tigania Mission Hospital. "The gangs have been harassing women and young boys who are opposed to traditional rites of passage.

"We have tried to seek help from the area assistant chiefs but nothing has been done," said Geoffrey Karauri one of the residents. "The gang is advocating for circumcision of boys to be done in the fields by traditional circumcisers. Our children and wives are under threat and we need security," Karauri added. Karauri said his son was a victim when he was abducted and lost his phone and clothes to the gang and the local administrators have not been able to arrest the perpetrators of the crimes.

According to Daniel Kanake a victim of the gang, the group broke into his home and demanded that he prepares a traditional brew for them for the initiation of his son for taking his son to hospital for cut against their customs. "They waylaid my son and stormed my home demanding traditional brew. We are not ready to go back to the retrogressive rites. The chiefs seem to be protecting crooks as we suffer," Kanake said.

Ms Monica Mwari said the boys who have circumcised the traditional way have no respect for teachers in school since they have been taught that they are mature men. "Some circumcised boys have refused to remain in lower classes. They are also threatening to beat up teachers who reprimand them," she said. Evangelist Peter Thiribi urged the government to take stern action against the persons responsible since they are trying to take Kenya backwards. Last month there was anxiety in the same area after a group of women allegedly kidnapped and forcefully circumcised married women who are opposed to female circumcision.


National Post (Toronto)
May 14, 2012

Jean Chamberlain Froese on Ugandan health care: Women and children last

By Jean Chamberlain Froese

As a Canadian obstetrician working in the developing world, I’m reminded daily of the superior health care available to men here compared to the health care available to women. Sadly, this discrepancy is often supported and perpetuated by well-meaning international donors.

The profound injustice hit me when I was visiting a local health-care facility in Uganda — I hesitate to call it a hospital, but it does offer obstetrical care for pregnant mothers and can, when strained to do so, perform cesarean sections for mothers who need them.

I met Helen in the delivery room at this facility. She was a Ugandan mother-to-be who had been in labour for nearly two days with no progress or chance to deliver naturally. After careful assessment by the local midwife and doctor, the obvious decision to do a C-section was made. Now the only thing that stood between Helen and a safe delivery was the $60 that this government health facility required from her — after all, she needed to pay for the gloves, medicine and anesthesia required to surgically deliver her baby. Her alternative was to hop on public transit — in this case an overcrowded minivan — and risk a two-hour drive followed by numerous hours of waiting at the national referral hospital, where she would queue up behind the many other mothers trying to access free services.

As director of the Save the Mothers program and a qualified doctor, I couldn’t just stand by and watch. The delay in moving to another facility would mean certain death for the unborn baby and probably significant injury, if not death, for the mother. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the Ugandan cash; Helen could now receive the medical care she urgently needed.

I was relieved to see that within an hour, Helen was operated upon and a healthy baby boy was born. But as I approached the operating room, I was shocked at the commotion outside. There were 10 men waiting — all lined up in a row, clutching their medical files with sheepish looks on their faces. They were scheduled for male circumcision — an approach to reducing HIV/AIDS transmission that [perhaps] shows some benefit in decreasing men’s susceptibility to infection. It was a procedure the men could access for free and one that was advertised nationally with billboards and radio campaigns. These operations took up nearly all the space in the operating theatre and the attention of the medical staff — at least three times more of whom were assigned to one man’s care than were assigned to Helen’s. This injustice stung me.

There really is a distinct difference in the care available for men versus women in the developing world. Male procedures that potentially reduce HIV/AIDS receive unlimited and sustained international support, while health interventions to categorically save mothers’ (and their babies’) lives still take a back seat — or a small corner of an operating room in Helen’s case.

Shouldn’t the women who are risking their lives to deliver the next generation at least receive the same free health care as the men who want to reduce their personal chances of HIV/AIDS acquisition? Don’t their lives count as much as those of men? If that operating room in Uganda was any indicator, the current answer is no.


"Promoting" today - compelling tomorrow?

May 14, 2012

Egypt's Brotherhood mobile FGM convoys condemned by women's group

By Mohamed Abdel Salam

CAIRO: A number of Egyptian human rights groups have submitted a communication to the Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud against the Muslim Brotherhood`s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) to investigate the complaints of people in the village of Abu Aziz in the Minya governorate, south of Cairo, over the existence of a large medical convoy organized by the party that wanders streets and does medical examination on people, including female circumcision, or female genital mutilation, in violation of Egyptian law, conventions and treaties signed by Egypt.

In Egypt’s legal code, Female Genital Mutilation is criminalized, as well as the inciting by doctors to convince families of the young girls of the need to agree to circumcise their daughters, “as a matter of preserving chastity.”

The communication demanded Mervat Tallawy, the head of the National Council for Women (NCW) and Major General Seraj EL Din El Rouby, the Governor of Minya, and Nasr El Sayed, Assistant Minister for primary health care, and preventive medicine, and family planning, to intervene to stop what it called “a farce propaganda for free circumcision, which was organized by one of the political parties, in Minya governorate to promote circumcision.”

The communication came after reports were circulated on news websites and social networking websites, including Facebook and Twitter about a convoy organized by the FJP to promote circumcision among girls in Minya.


The NCW said it will adopt an awareness campaign in various governorates in Egypt to address the grave consequences of female genital mutilation and, appealing to citizens, especially women, “not to respond to calls for this illegal act, which violates the dignity and rights of women,” and calling for lawmakers to “comply with the law and address such propaganda for free circumcision.”

Earlier story


Men have sense

News Medical
May 14, 2012

National program in Botswana focuses on increasing male circumcision rate

Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe all have launched national campaigns urging men to undergo circumcision to help reduce their risk of contracting or transmitting HIV infection, but "all the countries are lagging far behind their targets," Agence France-Presse reports in an article focusing on efforts in Botswana. A three-year-old campaign in Botswana, aimed at convincing 460,000 men to get circumcised, "has reached only seven percent of this figure," the news agency notes, adding, "Now the government has enlisted the help of top musicians and launched a new series of advertisements touting 'safe male circumcision' as a lifeline."

According to AFP, "Botswana has no tradition of circumcision, giving the government a tough sales pitch -- even for a procedure done with local anesthetic, taking only a few minutes and requiring only a few days recovery." The news service notes most men say they fear the pain of the procedure, that the recovery time will be long, and how it will affect their sex lives.


We predicted this: if Male Genital Cutting, why not Female Genital Cutting?

May 12, 2012

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Senator Wants Women to Dress Shabbily

By Farirai Machivenyika

WOMEN should always have bald heads, lose weight and dress shabbily to reduce their attractiveness as part of measures to curb the spread of HIV, MDC-T Senator for Chikomo, Morgan Femai said yesterday. Addressing Zimbabwe Parliamentarians on an HIV sensitisation workshop here yesterday, Sen Femai proposed that women should also be circumcised. He said HIV is spreading at an alarming rate because men find it difficult to resist women because they are becoming more attractive.

"What I propose is that Government should come up with a law that compels women to have their heads clean-shaven like what the Apostolic sects do. We have never heard that those people (Apostolic sects) are promiscuous so the women should have their heads shaved. They should also not bath because that is what has caused all these problems (spread of HIV)," Sen Femai said.

On women circumcision, he said: "Women have got more moisture in their organs as compared to men so there is need to research on how to deal with that moisture because it is conducive for bacteria breeding. There should be a way to suck out that moisture." [This is actually no sillier than most claims for male genital cutting.]

... Sen Femai becomes the third MDC-T legislator to offer controversial and bizarre advice on how to curb the spread of HIV. Another MDC-T Senator, Sithembile Mlotshwa (Matobo), recently said people should have sex once a month and that men should be injected with drugs that reduce their libido. She also called for prisoners to be given sex toys to quench their sexual needs.

Another MDC-T legislator Thabitha Khumalo is also at the forefront campaigning for the legalisation of prostitution and has vowed to assist commercial sex workers form a trade union to fight for their rights. [Which would include the right to demand that men use condoms. That alone would significantly reduce HIV spread.]


Zimbabwe's HIV prevalence has been on the decline in the past decade and currently stands at around 14 percent from a high of over 30 percent. [And no thanks to circumcision. What are the chances they will find out what worked and do more of that?]


btno (edited Google translate)
May 12, 2012

Boy died after circumcision in Oslo

A two-week-old boy died of complications two days after he was circumcised by a doctor in Oslo.

The circumcision was at a doctor's office on the East side, and both the police and county physician in Oslo are now investigating the matter, writes Aftenposten.

The boy was circumcised last Sunday and died two days later. County medical officer Peter Schou confirms that the child died of complications following circumcision.

- We have put two unnamed doctors under formal supervision, said Schou.

According to him there have been several cases supervised by medical offices in Oslo, which have been about circumcision.

Complaints rare
- These are very difficult cases to investigate because patients rarely complain about circumcision, but we have had serious concern from hospitals that put these children into therapy later, he told Aftenposten.

Each year an estimated 2000 boys are circumcised in Norway, many of them privately and without professional control.

Health and Care Services is now considering tighter laws to make circumcision safer, but both within government and within the coalition parties, there is disagreement about of circumcision of boys. Some want to ban it, while others would offer the procedure in the public health system. A bill has recently been circulated, and many would ban or limit it.

Prohibition or limit
Weightier bodies consulted believe the circumcision of male children should be banned. The Medical Association, Nurses, the Children's Ombudsman, the NHA, Resource people and the Medical Faculty of the University of Oslo want the practice [outlawed].

Child Ombudsman Reidar Hjermann want a debate about the minimum age, but believes that ritual circumcision should be banned for children under 15-16 years.

Justice Policy Center spokeswoman, Jenny Klinge, said ritual circumcision of young boys should be banned in line with the [law against] circumcision of girls.

12.mai. 2012

Gutt døde etter omskjæring i Oslo

En to uker gammel gutt døde av komplikasjoner to dager etter at han var blitt omskåret av en lege i Oslo.

Omskjæringen skjedde på et legekontor på Oslos østkant, og både politiet og fylkeslegen i Oslo undersøker nå saken, skriver Aftenposten.

Gutten ble omskåret forrige søndag og døde to dager senere. Fylkeslege Petter Schou bekrefter at barnet døde av komplikasjoner etter omskjæring.

- Vi har opprettet en formell tilsynssak mot to navngitte leger, sier Schou.

Ifølge ham har det vært flere tilsynssaker ved legekontorer i Oslo som har dreid seg om omskjæring.

Klager sjelden
- Dette er veldig vanskelige saker å undersøke fordi pasienter sjelden klager på omskjæring, men vi får alvorlige bekymringsmeldinger fra sykehusene som får disse barna inn til behandling senere, sier han til Aftenposten.

Hvert år blir anslagsvis 2.000 gutter omskåret i Norge, mange av dem privat og uten faglig kontroll.

Helse- og omsorgsdepartementet vurderer nå innstramminger i lovverket for å gjøre omskjæring sikrere, men både innad i regjeringen og innad i de rødgrønne partiene er man uenig i synet på omskjæring av gutter. Noen vil ha forbud, mens andre vil tilby inngrepet i det offentlige helsevesenet. Et lovforslag har nylig vært på høring og mange ønsker forbud eller aldersgrense.

Forbud eller aldersgrense
Flere tunge høringsinstanser mener omskjæring av guttebarn bør forbys. Både Legeforeningen, Sykepleierforbundet, Barneombudet, Human-Etisk Forbund, Ressurssenteret for menn og Medisinsk fakultet ved Universitetet i Oslo ønsker slutt på praksisen.

Barneombud Reidar Hjermann ønsker en debatt om nedre aldersgrense, men mener at rituell omskjæring bør forbys på barn under 15-16 år.

Justispolitisk talskvinne i Senterpartiet, Jenny Klinge, mener rituell omskjæring av små gutter må forbys på lik linje med omskjæring av jenter.


Cut money from programmes that work, to pay for one that won't....

May 10, 2012

Africa: Less Global Funds, More Problems

By Laura Lopez Gonzalez,

Fund medicines or fund the programmes that support uptake and adherence? That's the choice countries are now facing amid Global Fund shortfalls. With money tight, countries are slashing civil society-led HIV and TB programmes - treatment supporters, community-based volunteers, support for people living with HIV - to safeguard essential services, according to preliminary research being conducted by the Open Society Foundations.

In November 2011, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria faced US$2.2 billion in unpaid donor pledges and cancelled its Round 11 of funding. This was the most dramatic manifestation of years of broken donor promises.

Two years earlier, Global Fund donors reneged on almost 15 percent of pledges - a figure that rose to almost a quarter of donor pledges in 2010, according to former Global Fund Executive Director, Michel Kazatchkine's November 2011 report to the board.

To ascertain the impact on civil society of these Global Fund shortfalls, OSF undertook research in three countries that had planned to apply for Round 11 funding - Swaziland, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Through interviews with nearly 45 representatives from civil society, Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs), HIV and TB programmes, and UN agencies, OSF found that these countries are facing funding gaps for essential services such as HIV and TB testing and treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission services (PMTCT), and support for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC).

The research found that to free up funding for these initiatives, all three countries are cutting the kinds of complementary, civil society-led activities identified as 'critical enablers' in the UNAIDS Strategic Framework.

Swaziland has now halted HIV prevention programmes with the exception of PMTCT and medical male circumcision and may re-programme phase II of its current Global Fund money to shift more money towards buffer ARV stocks, according to Vusi Nxumalo, CCM member and Vice Chairperson of the Swaziland National Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS.

Swaziland's Round 11 application - like that of Namibia - would also have been the first to include HIV prevention programming aimed at criminalised, most-at-risk populations, such as sex workers and men-who-have-sex-with-men. In addition, the country would have addressed the needs of its small population of injecting drug users.



May 10, 2012

Kenya: The Cut for Boys to to Tame HIV

By Habil Onyango

THE Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation will soon introduce circumcision programme for children under the age of 15 to help curb HIV/Aids in the country. Homa Bay branch DASCOP coordinator Alice Nyambai said they hope to introduce the program to children under 15 years, as a way of supplementing the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) exercise.

Nyambai said that the programme will help in the reduction of HIV/AIDS infections as more males get circumcised in the region despite being more affordable as compared to the VMMC. [She has NO evidence whatsoever for this claim.]

She added that the children circumcision programme will cost the government Sh1, 000 [$US 11.95] for each circumcised child, while the VMMC costs Sh5, 000. [$US 59.74] "We are hopeful that the children's circumcision program is likely to be more successful as more grownups are reluctant to enroll for the VMMC that targets males of age bracket 25 to 49 years," said Nyambai.

She said that the since September 2008 when the program was initiated, only 11, 000 men have been circumcised out of the estimated 42, 000 in Homabay district.

[In short, men aren't buying it, so they're imposing it on boys who can't resist.]



May 10, 2012

Man's penis amputated after botched circumcision

By Horace Lu

A 21-year-old man in Tianjin has had his penis cut off after what appears to be a botched circumcision procedure just two weeks before his wedding ceremony.

Xiaohe (not his real name) said he decided to go for circumcision before his big day but his wound would not recover following the operation, despite days of transfusion.

Immediately following operation on November 11, 2011, Xiaohe said he felt a sharp pain in his penis the day after, and his penis began to swell, eventually turning red, and then black as the cells and tissues in his penis began to die.

Doctors at various hospitals were unable to save Xiaohe's penis and the decision to amputate his penis was made on December 21, 2011.

He has now sued the hospital where he had the circumcision for a compensation of 150,000 yuan (23,833 USD).

Xiaohe's wife and former schoolmate, Xiaoli, also sued the hospital for compensation. Xiaohe was upfront with his fiance about the botched procedure, but she decided to go ahead with the wedding believing everything would turn out fine.

Xiaoli's claims have, however, been thrown out by the court, because Xiaohe was below the legal marriage age of 22 and hence their marriage was not officially recognised by the law.

Xiaohe's lawyer has also asserted that the doctor who performed the circumcision had no legal papers to be practising in Tianjin and urged authorities to punish the hospital.

Penis reconstruction surgery is available, but is a highly complex procedure which is unlikely to give Xiaohe a fully functional penis even if successful. Moreover, the operation, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, is too much for Xiaohe's farmer family to bear.


Civilians refuse to be circumcised? Then order soldiers to!

May 7, 2012

US urges circumcision for soldiers to fight HIV in Africa

Male circumcision is the best way to prevent new HIV infections in the military, the head of US anti-AIDS efforts told a gathering of top army brass from Africa, Eastern Europe and central Asia.

"We believe male circumcision is a highly significant, lifetime intervention. It is a gift that keeps on giving. [No, it is a theft that keeps on taking.] It makes a lot of sense to put extraordinary resources into it," US global AIDS coordinator Eric Goosby told the 400 delegates.

The meeting on AIDS and the military gathered officials from 80 countries, including most of Africa but also countries from Surinam to Georgia and Estonia.

Studies show that circumcision can dramatically reduce HIV infections. One study in South Africa last year found new infections fell by 76 percent after a circumcision programme was launched in a township. [Last year? How could they possibly get significant results in so short a time?]

In 2006, trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa found foreskin removal more than halved men's risk of HIV infection. Longer-term analysis has found the benefit to be even greater than thought, with a risk reduction of around 60 percent.

The United States is sponsoring programmes in several African countries with a goal of circumcising four million men by 2013.

Results so far are patchy. Although Kenya is close to reaching its target of 80 percent of sexually active men, Uganda has achieved less than five percent of its target.

"We need the military to take up some of these circumcisions," said Caroline Ryan of the US Global AIDS Coordinator's Office. [So if some men refuse to have part of their genitals cut off, find others who can't refuse.]


Little data exists on HIV rates among soldiers. Few countries are willing to divulge statistics, fearing they will be perceived as weak. [Perhaps they should find out at the same time whether circumcised soldiers are any less likely to have HIV than intact ones?]


Health Policy Solutions
May 5, 2012

Circumcision bill dies in Colorado House

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon

A bill that would have restored Medicaid funding for circumcisions in Colorado died Friday.

The measure squeaked through a hearing in the House Health and Environment Committee on Thursday, then died in Appropriations Friday morning.

Opponents, who included health professionals, budget hawks and anti-circumcision activists told health committee members on Thursday that circumcision is cosmetic and potentially harmful, and taxpayers should not fund it.

Proponents for the bill argued that funding for circumcision for babies on Medicaid is a social justice issue. In general, insurance companies pay for the procedure for insured Colorado babies even though the American Academy of Pediatrics does not deem circumcisions to be “medically necessary.” Meanwhile, low-income parents who want their babies circumcised are being put on waiting lists for the procedure until parents can prove they’ve paid in advance.

Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, an internal medicine doctor for Denver Health, testified on behalf of restoring public funding for circumcision. Last year, Colorado lawmakers decided to save money and cut funding for Medicaid circumcisions. They were following the lead of 17 other states. Proponents wanted taxpayers to once again pay for the procedures for parents who choose to have their infants circumcised.

Fiscal analysts estimated that covering the procedures again would cost the state about $195,000 next year and $230,000 the year after that.

“As a physician, I don’t try to influence parents one way or the other,” Aguilar said. “People make this decision based on religious and cultural reasons.” [What business does a doctor have performing surgery based on religious or cultural reasons? (Answer: good business....)]

She said that there is some evidence that infant boys who don’t get circumcised have higher rates of urinary tract infections and that adult men who are uncircumcised and live in poverty tend to have increased rates of HPV, which can lead to higher rates of cervical cancer in female partners.

Only one other doctor testified on behalf of circumcision. The rest of the witnesses opposed public funding for the procedure for a variety of reasons.

They included Dr. Jennifer Johnson, a family physician who works with Medicaid and uninsured patients at Clinica Family Health Services.

I’ve done at least 100 circumcisions and just recently decided to stop,” Johnson testified.

She said she and her husband, who is Jewish, decided not to circumcise their own son, who is now 4. She said she was concerned when she researched the issue and found that removing the foreskin from a boy’s penis damages numerous nerve endings. While circumcision is traditional in the Jewish community, Johnson said her husband was open to new research about the potential harms from circumcision.

If boys or men decide to remove the foreskin as adults, then they can make that decision, Johnson said. But she decided that as a physician, she should no longer do a procedure that is “potentially harmful.”

“This is not a necessary procedure,” Johnson said. “It’s a healthy, normal body part.”“There are a lot of medical needs in our population. We have no business using limited health care dollars on a medically unnecessary cosmetic procedure.”

One lawmaker, Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge, elicited laughter in the hearing room when she asked Dr. Johnson if circumcision might help reduce teen pregnancy rates and teen sexual activity by reducing nerve sensation in boys’ penises.

“I’m wondering if there’s a risk of more sexual activity, more male irresponsibility” for uncircumcised boys, Schafer asked.

Joshi & Schafer at Colorado hearing
[Rep. Janak Joshi, R-Colorado Springs, looks incredulous at Rep. Schafer's question.] Joshi, a retired doctor, voted against restoring circumcision funding, saying circumcision is uncommon in India and he's never seen infections due to lack of circumcision.

Johnson answered that teen pregnancy is certainly a problem, but said circumcision won’t halt teen sexual activity.

“Circumcision is not a cure for behavior. That’s about education,” she said.


While circumcision is an ancient tradition in some religions, circumcision opponents said it became popular in the U.S. as a method to prevent masturbation among boys. Later, fathers wanted their sons to look like them.

“Frankly that’s cosmetic surgery…and I strongly urge you to vote against it,” said Dr. Matt Mason, a physician from Telluride. He was skeptical about cost estimates and said circumcision is now rare in Western Europe, Canada and New Zealand. [Circumcision has always been rare in Western Europe.]


Earlier story


May 4, 2012

Egypt women's NGO takes pro-FGM Parliamentarian to court

By Manar Ammar

Egypt’s New Women Foundation said they are suing Islamist Parliament member Azza al-Garf over her pro-female genitals mutilation (FGM) statements. The women’s rights foundation sent a letter to the speaker of parliament Saad al-Katatny, informing him of legally going after Garf and asking for his permission to be allowed to take the MP to court.

The parliament needs to lift immunity for an MP in order for them to be held accountable in a court of law.

Garf was reported saying that FGM is an Islamic practice and that the anti-FGM laws should be amended. Garf is a Freedom and Justice [!] Party (FJP) member, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

“We are on our way to sue Garf to preserve our rights and the gains of Egyptian women,” said the open letter to the speaker.

“We are suing her for going against Egyptian laws that criminalize sexual harassment and FGM, practices that goes against women rights and human rights.

“We completely refuse Garf’s statements and announce that she does not represent us.”

Garf gave similar statements on her Twitter account last month, calling for lifting the laws that criminalize FGM. The statements stirred criticism, which led to the FJP to announce that Garf has no account on Twitter and no comments were made by Garf herself.

Rights surveys in the country put the number of women who go through FGM to be around 86 percent. ...

In 2010, a 13-year-old girl died after a local doctor in the Nile Delta region’s Menoufiya governorate failed in the operation.


The doctor... is to stand trial ...

In June 2007, 12-year-old Badour Shakour died as a result of a circumcision operation. The death sparked a battle within the country over the use of the controversial medical procedure. Her death galvanized women and children’s rights groups to action, where they pushed for more stringent penalties against those who carry out female genital mutilation.


In summer 2008, Egypt’s Parliament passed a law that ostensibly bans the controversial procedure. Not that it should have needed to legislate against FGM – it was already officially banned in the country during the mid-nineties – but with doctors continuing to perform the procedure on girls as young as five, Parliament felt it was necessary to intercede.

The new law stipulates a fine of 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($185) to 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($900) and a prison term of anywhere between three months and two years if caught performing FGM.

A doctor also could lose their medical license. In the case of Shakour, the doctor who performed the procedure languishes in prison after being convicted of manslaughter.

Earlier story


May 4, 2012

Two held in Britain over 'female genital mutilation'

LONDON — Two people were arrested in Britain's second city of Birmingham on Friday after a media report that medics and alternative practitioners had offered to perform female genital mutilation.

West Midlands Police said they had arrested two men aged 55 and 61 on suspicion of offences under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, which forbids the cutting of a girl's genitalia unless medically necessary.


"We are still in the very early stages of this investigation but I hope this morning's action sends out a clear message about how seriously we are taking these allegations," said Detective Inspector Caroline Marsh of West Midlands Police's public protection unit.

"Female genital mutilation is a serious assault against young girls and while it is perceived by parents not to be an act of hate, it is harmful, it is child abuse and it is unlawful."

The Sunday Times reported that a doctor at a private clinic referred undercover reporters to a dentist who he said would give children the "circumcision" surgery.


Earlier story


Africa Review
May 3, 2012

Circumcision rush disrupts school term in northern Liberia

By Tamba Jean-Matthew


A mad rush by hundreds of girls to get circumcised has left observers astounded in northern Liberia, reports said.

About 750 girls, including college students in the Mahn District of Sanniquellie in Nimba Country, have gone into the bush for circumcision, apparently on their own volition, to the disbelief of many area residents.

This has completely disrupted the academic year as most of the girls are school-going teenagers.

Reports said the girls suddenly developed interest and abandoned whatever activities they were engaged in to be circumcised.

The New Dawn newspaper reported on Wednesday that some parents and guardians were taken unawares by this sudden desire by the girls to get the cut.

The newspaper quoted local education authorities complaining that enrolment in the second and final half of the school year had dropped considerably.

"This situation does not only affect grade schools when the season for the ‘bush’ comes in Nimba, but also the African Bible University and Nimba Community College," said one education officer.

The situation has compelled Nimba County Chief Education Officer Beatrice Kargar Saye Bonner to call on the organisers of the circumcision ceremonies to set aside specific periods for the activity so as not to disrupt their education programmes.

"It is not prudent for those of school-going ages to drop out of school. Traditional practices hinder their academic activities," Ms Bonner noted.


Deccan Chronicle
May 2, 2012

Circumcision goes awry, two boys die

Two boys died in Bodhan town in the district late on Monday night due to over bleeding. A rural medical practitioner performed circumcision on the boys five days ago, which led to uncontrolled bleeding.

The deceased were identified as Arif, 4, and Azhar, 3, of Rakasipet in Bodhan.

It is believed that the negligence of RMP led to the death of children. According to sources, parents got the two children circumcised five days ago at Masjid Colony in Rakasipet area.

After the surgery, the boys had suffered bleeding, but the RMP advised them not to worry and it could be cured with medicines.

But, Arif and Azhar, breathed their last on Monday.

Reportedly, the RMP agreed to pay Rs.3 lakh [$US 5617] compensation to the parents of the deceased and no police case was registered in this regard.


Uganda Picks
May 1, 2012

Cultural Circumcision-Pretty Women Used to Find Bugishu Uncircumcised Men

By Sandra Birungi

Pretty women are being used to find out which men have not been circumcised. Among such victims was Shaban Kidudu who was sexually lured by a woman who later revealed that he was not circumcised despite his claims that he had been circumcised.

Kidudu from Lugazi used to tell the Bagishu community that he had been circumcised before and he did not need the cultural performance to be carried out on him. However, it was later found out that he had not been circumcised which forced [forced?] the bugishu community to use force for him to be circumcised. [So they threatened him with violence?]

“My husband went through the knife so when he told me we should go and find the man who was scared of it, I was more than willing to go ahead and help. I called him and told him I needed to meet him and he told me he would meet me in five minutes. Five minutes later, I called again and he said he was sloping down the hill and he would be next to me soon. [So this man put out his wife to offer sex to Kidudu, and they claim the moral high ground?] Later on, when I inspected him, I found out he was not circumcised so when we were leaving, I called the people and told them he had not been circumcised,” narrated the planted woman.

Kidudu at first rejected the woman’s claims saying he had been circumcised but later on admitted to not being circumcised. He was smeared with maize flour as culture demands it and walked around the village announcing he was going to get circumcised.

Kidudu works at a washing bay and he had previously assured the people that he had been circumcised. After realising it actually works to find the culprits ["culprits"?] , the residents promised to start using the pretty women to find those men who were not circumcised. Kidudu later confessed that he was going to go for circumcision in the hospital and the operation had been scheduled to take place sometime this week.

“If he was a muslim, we would have had no trouble letting him go because that would mean he had been circumcised but he was not,” said the woman who laid the trap for Kidudu.

In Bugishu culture, circumcision is a must for every boy. By the age of 18 years, it is believed that a boy is able to stand the knife and feel the pain like a man. In previous years, an MP was forcibly circumcised after it was found out he had not been circumcised. Being uncircumcised is looked at as a sin, you are not a man until you have withstood a knife.


Colombia Reports
April 30, 2012

Colombian baby girl dies after circumcision

By Miriam Wells

A 15-day-old baby from an indigenous tribe in western Colombia has died after her clitoris was removed in a banned ancestral practice, reported Radio Caracol Monday.

The infant, who died of a haemorrage, belonged to the Embera-Chami tribe in the Valle de Cauca department, which pledged in 2010 to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The mayor of Ansermanuevo, Jose Luis Herrera, said the baby had left the hospital in good health. "The case [has been referred] to the governor of the community, because they had promised to stop these activities," he said.

The death of a young Embera-Chami girl in 2007 brought attention to the practice of FGM among the tribe, which has a population of about 5,000.

The United Nations Population Fund approached Embera-Chami leaders to ask if it could start a community project exploring the origins of FGM in the tribe and teaching about the physical and psychological harm it causes.

It was discovered it probably dated from the time of colonial rule, when there had been a lot of contact with African communities brought to Colombia as slaves.

After one year of work, the community decided it would stop the practice for a trial period of two years. At the end of the two years, it was decided to end the practice permanently and enforce severe punishments for anyone who carried it out.


UG Pulse
April 30, 2012

Uganda Health News: Ministry of health targets 4.2 million people for circumcision

The Ministry of health has a target of 4.2 million people to be circumcised by 2015, as part of the means to check new HIV infections.

[The male population of Uganda is aprroximately 18 million. ]

The country registers 130,000 new infections annually, in a trend that experts say is worrying.

The ministry’s Program manager Aids Control, Dr. Joshua Musinguzi says the campaign is expected to have positive results, since circumcision has been proven to reduce chances of contracting HIV/AIDS by 60%

[Only for men, and hardly "proven".]

Musinguzi however cautions those circumcised against living reckless lives, since it does not offer full protection;

[While the leaders speak in euphemisms about "living reckless lives" they are never going to grasp issue.]

Meanwhile, the Government has today rolled out a campaign where mayors and municipal leaders are being engaged to promote safe male circumcision and eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV.

[Eliminate? How?]


Jewish Press
April 30, 2012

US Pediatric Doctor Favors Female Circumcision

By Yori Yanover

Dr. Hatem al-Haj, PhD, MD, a senior committee member of the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), has recently published a 41-page Arabic-language paper titled “Circumcision of Girls: Jurisprudence and Medicine.”

According to the “Translating Jihad” blog, Dr. al-Haj explains why female circumcision is recommended and even “an honor” for women. This is the practice known as female genital mutilation (FGM).

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), FGM ” has no health benefits for women,” and causes “severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility, as well as complications in childbirth.”

The Translating Jihad blog was established in 2010 to provide translations of Arabic-language news, opinion, and fatwas related to Islamic intolerance, totalitarianism, and jihad.

According to TJ, Dr. al-Haj, a medical doctor and fellow at the American Academy of Pediatrics, justifies his position by referring repeatedly to the words of classical Islamic scholars from the four schools of mainstream Sunni Islamic thought, all of which attest to FGM’s legitimacy under Islam. He also refers to the words of the Prophet Muhammad himself, who reportedly counseled people in his day on how to perform FGM in a way that would be “more beautiful to behold and better for [the woman's] husband.”


Daily Mail
April 29, 2012

'Cheat genital mutilation ban by going abroad': British Muslim leader caught on camera advocating female circumcision

By Ian Garland

A British Muslim leader has been caught on camera advocating female genital mutilation.

Mohammed Abdul, the Imam of a Bristol mosque, was filmed urging a follower to take women and girls abroad so they can be circumcised legally.

The practise was banned by law in 2003, and it's illegal to help or encourage anyone to carry out the barbaric procedure overseas.

The footage was obtained by an undercover reporter working for the Sunday Times newspaper, who posed as a Muslim seeking advice.

During a meeting with Mohammed Abdul at the Masjid al-Huda mosque: 'In this country, it is not possible, we cannot do that. (For) any other Muslim who likes to practise the way of Prophet Muhammad, the best way is to go to other countries.

'Some families, they go to Africa or Arab countries.

Although female genital mutilation (FGM) has not been advocated by Muslim scripture, a number of clerics encourage it.


It's estimated 100,000 women in Britain have undergone the procedure and another 24,000 are thought to be at risk.


Since the law was passed in 2003, no-one has been prosecuted for carring out female genital mutilation.

Forward chief executive Naana Otoo-Oyortey said she hopes the new evidence will force the government to do more to combat the problem.


Earlier story


The Ball State Daily News
April 28, 2012

Mother of AIDS martyr Ryan White speaks at Pruis Hall

By Haylee Brannon

Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of Ryan White who died in 1990 from AIDS, spoke Thursday night for an event hosted by Project Posi(+)ive Empowerment, an immersive learning class at Ball State.


“I’m just a mom, not a professional speaker,” the Kokomo, Ind., native said. “All I ever wanted to be was a mom and when I got pregnant I just couldn’t wait.”

“White was born 22 and a half inches long, so skinny, but had the biggest feet so we hoped that he would be a basketball player,” she laughed. “That was short lived because he was circumcised and the bleeding wouldn’t stop.”

Shortly after White was circumcised the doctors knew something was wrong. The bleeding did not stop even after stitches were applied. He was immediately tested and hours later the doctors informed White’s mother that he suffered from severe hemophilia.

[Why the HELL is any baby ever circumcised before he is tested for haemophilia? Is any other surgery done without that test? Once again, circumcision gets a free pass.]

... After being diagnosed with hemophilia, White was given drugs created from plasma of non-hemophiliacs that had not yet been approved by the FDA.

“Little did we even realize the drug that was supposed to be saving his life was actually going to be the drug that took his life,” White-Ginder said.



Vancouver Sun
April 26, 2012

Supreme Court to hear B.C. botched circumcision case

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear the case of a B.C. father who tried to circumcise his four-year-old son with a razor blade and a blood coagulant meant for horses, it was announced Thursday.


The man, who is referred to in court documents only as D.J.W. to protect the identity of his son, was first convicted in a British Columbia court in October 2009.

He was found guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm following the botched April 2007 procedure.

But, after the man appealed the decision, three B.C. Court of Appeal judges stayed the conviction and upped the charge to aggravated assault last December.

The previous sentence imposed was one year in jail, with two years' probation and a 10-year prohibition on owning a firearm. An aggravated assault conviction carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.

According to the documents, D.J.W. had "changed his world view" after the birth of his son and felt he had to "make things right with God."

The original trial judge found D.J.W. had asked two rabbis and four physicians to perform the circumcision but was told the procedure would require a general anesthetic, which could not be justified for his four-year-old son.

The man then attempted to enrol in a course that trained mohels to perform circumcisions, but was told only trained doctors could take it, the documents stated.

Despite having botched a circumcision on himself a couple of years earlier which caused an infection, the man decided to circumcise his son himself, in his kitchen.

According to court documents the kitchen was not sterile, or even sanitary. The documents also say that D.J.W. gave his son a quantity of honey wine, placed him on garbage bags on the kitchen floor, then cut away the foreskin with a razor blade. The documents further state that D.J.W.'s hand slipped when his son shuddered and cried, and that D.J.W. used a veterinary blood coagulant called Wonder Dust — meant for horses and livestock — on his son's bleeding penis.

The boy had to have corrective surgery.

According to a summary of the case in the 2009 ruling, D.J.W. had told his son the procedure would grant him "extra special protection from God" and allow him to eat Passover lamb, ice cream and pick all the movies he wanted for a week.

D.J.W. is banned from seeing the boy, who now lives with his mother.


Earlier story


Is anyone surprised?

April 25, 2012

Kenya: Ugunja DC's AIDS Warning

By Eric Oloo

The recently circumcised men in Ugunja district are engaging in unprotected sex, area DC Kipkech Lotiatia has warned. Lotiatia said reports reaching his office indicated that the young men who recently underwent voluntary circumcision are engaging in unprotected sex especially with schoolgirls.

"We fear that the youths have unprotected sex assuming that undergoing VMC [Voluntary Male Circumcision] protects them from HIV virus," said the DC who directed the health officials to conduct a follow-up and counsel them. He said unless the vice is stopped, the spread of HIV/Aids in the district will increase.


He however said he will work closely with the local leaders and stakeholders to mobilize more young men for the VMMC [Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision] exercise adding that during the recent exercise at Sigomere sub location, over 200 youths underwent the cut.

Earlier story


Contact Music
April 26, 2012

Peaches Geldof Won't Have Son Circumcised

Peaches Geldof will not have her newborn son circumcised, despite having converted to Judaism last year for fiancé Thomas Cohen.

Peaches Geldof will not have her newborn son circumcised.

The 23-year-old daughter of Bob Geldof - who gave birth to Astala Dylan Willow on Saturday (21.04.12) - converted to Judaism for fiancé Thomas Cohen last year, although both have decided against having the little one undergo the traditional procedure.

Thomas, who fronts band S.C.U.M, said: ''Even though we're both Jewish, our baby won't have a Jewish circumcision.''

[And even though S.C.U.M stands for Society for Cutting Up Men! Thomas is on record as saying "My mum didn’t want me to be circumcised either" (Daily Mail, January 29, 2012) - but not whether she prevailed.]



Daily Mail
April 25, 2012

Sex scandal rocks Order of the Knights

By Richard Kay

... there is... an extraordinary schism at the heart of the Order of Malta, the world’s oldest order of chivalry. Its members, who include some of some of Britain’s leading Roman Catholics, have been rocked by a grubby story surrounding a 69-year old paedophile.

For there has been a mass walkout of the Order’s governing council, which has its headquarters in St John’s Wood, North London, from where it directs its charitable undertakings. Nine members, including Lord Guthrie, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, who is the vice-president, have resigned, I am told.

In addition, three members of the Order, known as knights, have been banned from entering the church of St John and Elizabeth in North London — based in the hospital where Emma Thompson and Kate Moss had their children — where the Order holds a Mass each week.

In another blow, the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England, is considering banning the Order from using the church altogether. Others who have resigned include retail heir Mark Brenninkmeijer, City fund manager Stephen Macklow-Smith, upmarket chocolate retailer Nick Crean, society party organiser Peregrine Armstrong-Jones’ wife Caroline, and publishing heir Adam Macmillan’s ex-wife, Sarah.

So, too, have the Duke of Norfolk’s cousin, Richard Fitzalan-Howard, financier Count Nicolas Reuttner and the organisation’s former hospitaller Tim Orchard. The knights have resigned because they are unhappy that the man employed as a sacristan and server for the charity’s Mass has been revealed as a paedophile. Vernon Quaintance was recently given a 40-week suspended sentence for possessing child pornography.

‘What we objected to was that the three members of the Order’s senior body, the Grand Priory, who should have known about this man’s background, did nothing,’ says one knight. ‘At the least they should have admitted their error of judgment.’

[And what did the circumcision-advocacy community know about this man's background?]


Earlier story


Does he think he can roll back the reproach (Joshua 5:9)?

April 26, 2012

Morris erases Gilgal Society from leaflets

...but the Society fails to return the favour

This morning, documents suddenly disappeared from the circinfo.net website of Professor Brian Morris of the University of Sydney.

They were his leaflets promoting circumcision, bearing the imprint of the Gilgal Society. The head of the Gilgal Society, Vernon Quainance, has been convicted of possessing child pornography.

Until yesterday, Morris's leaflet Circumcision, a guide for parents, said it was published by Brian Morris & The Gilgal Society, with the society's address and logo. Today, all reference to the society is gone, along with a reference to Morris's "interest in circumcision".

Before April 25, 2012
Morris leaflet with Gilgal
After April 25, 2012
Morris leaflet without Gilgal

His leaflet for women, "Sex and Circumcision: What every woman needs to know", which boasted a long list of co-authors - a virtual roll-call of the pro-circumcison movement - was removed and later replaced by a black and white version, again with all reference to the Gilgal Society removed. Links to the Circumcision Foundation of Australia and the circumcision fetish site circlist replace the link to it.

Morris+Gilgal women's guide authors Morris less Gilgal women's guide authors

Since the weekend, the Gilgal Society website has carried the message:

We regret that as a result of major computer failure none
of our publications are currently available to order from
But Professor Morris's leaflets continue to be advertised on the site!

Gilgal website advertising Morris leaflet

Professor Morris's site continues to show a "circumcision humor" page, including a verse by "Vernon Quantance" [sic] directly under a picture (NSFA: Not Suitable For Anywhere) of a baby with his foreskin trapped in a cellphone [sick]

Earlier story


More compulsion?

Politics web
April 24, 2012

Dept of Health Budget Vote Speech 2012 - Motsoaledi Aaron Motsoaledi


In order not to be complacent, we have unveiled a new National Strategic Plan or (NSP) HIV/AIDS and TB for the period 2012 - 2016.

Honourable members, we need your support and leadership to make the four (4) strategic objectives in the country's NSP a success.

These four (4) strategic objectives are:

  • Addressing the social structural drivers of HIV, STDs and TB care, prevention and support
  • Preventing new HIV/STD and TB infections
  • Sustaining health and wellness and lastly
  • Ensuring protection of Human Rights and improving access to Justice

    The new NSP further states that every single South African must test at least once a year.We believe that if all South Africans can play their role, these goals are easily achievable.We need to make sure that every pregnant woman undergoes routine HIV testing. We need to make sure every male is circumcised and hence this year, we are targeting 600 000 men.


Health Policy Solutions
April 24, 2012

Lawmakers reconsider circumcision for babies on Medicaid

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon

Circumcisions for low-income babies could once again be covered in Colorado after a bill seeking to restore funding moved forward Tuesday in the Senate.

Circumcision has become a polarizing issue in Colorado after the legislature last year voted to make Colorado the 18th state to ban Medicaid funding for the procedure. The state stopped paying for routine circumcisions last July.

Cost is not the primary point of contention. Circumcisions – which cost about $200 to $400 each – for low-income babies add up to a relatively small tab according to state fiscal analysts: about $195,000 next year and $230,000 the year after that.

Instead, activists on both sides are battling over whether the ancient practice of cutting an infant boy’s foreskin from the head of his penis is healthy. Opponents argue that the procedure is medically unnecessary, and elsewhere in the country, foes are trying to ban it altogether [No, to restrict it to consenting people] . Supporters believe circumcision should be a personal choice [No, the choice of another person] . They say it has health benefits including reduction of urinary tract infections in babies and prevention of HIV and AIDS among adults.

Debate over circumcision taps into deeply held personal and religious beliefs that often spark fights between new parents, medical professionals and lawmakers.

Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver, was alarmed to learn last summer that funding for circumcisions had been cut from Colorado’s Medicaid budget last year. So, this year, she introduced Senate Bill 12-90, which would restore the funding.


Foster also happens to be Jewish and her husband is the influential retired Temple Emanuel rabbi, Steven Foster. Ritual male circumcision is a fundamental tradition in Jewish culture.

Foster said her own religious views and those of her husband have nothing to do with her support for Medicaid funding of circumcision. She said traditional Jewish families typically don’t opt for circumcisions in a hospital. Rather a religious leader called a mohel performs the circumcision either at home or in a temple when the baby is about eight days old.

“This bill will have absolutely nothing to do with the Jewish community of Colorado,” she said.

[Oh really?]

Jewish Daily Forward
February 27, 2012

Foster... said she believes that cutting Medicaid coverage for circumcision sent a message of support to anti-circumcision activists who want see the procedure outlawed nationwide. She is determined to push back against that effort.

“Ultimately, I think when the anti-circumcision people begin to see so many states denying benefits,” Foster said, “it will be easier for them now to make their case that circumcision should be banned altogether.”


Foster said opponents of circumcision who are seeking to ban the procedure altogether would be abridging religious rights, not only for Jews, but also for others.

“Some people don’t want anybody to have it. That would be an attack not only on Jews, but on Christianity, which is based on Judaism, and on the Muslim community. ...


At an earlier hearing, Gillian Longley, a registered nurse from Louisville, was among those who testified against public funding for circumcision. She described routine circumcision of newborn boys as “elective, non-therapeutic, cosmetic surgery.

“It is neither medically necessary nor cost effective,” Longley said.

Lawmakers in the Senate last week nixed an amendment that would have added funding for Medicaid circumcisions to the budget bill, known as the long bill. But, on Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to move the bill forward. Now it goes to the full Senate; then if it passes, on to the House.

Earlier story


The Standard (Kenya)
April 24, 2012

Panic as gang circumcises married women

By Patrick Muthuri

Anxiety has gripped Athanja Sub-Location in Tigania East District after a group of women allegedly kidnapped and forcefully circumcised married women who are opposed to female circumcision.

One woman was rescued from a group of circumcisers while another is still missing after she was reportedly hidden after the alleged mutilation in Kaithe village.

Following the incident, seven suspects alleged to be members of a group that has been abducting woman and forcefully circumcising them were arrested.

"The victim who escaped was lured into a house in the name of a meeting by the women. When she entered the house, she was ordered to undress but she screamed and neighbours came to her rescue.

The gang has already abducted and circumcised one woman who is still missing," said Ms Evangeline Kangai, a women’s rights activist.

Area OCPD Charles Koskei said the suspects will be arraigned in court for propagating harmful cultural practices and urged the community to intensify campaigns against the vice.

"The Constitution protects women against harmful cultural practices. We will not allow anyone to violate the basic rights of women," the OCPD said. Kangai said the group made up of young and old women has been targeting married women.

She said the group threatens uncircumcised women with isolation if they do not undergo the cut. "The group seems to have turned to married women because we have sensitised school girls against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)."

Assaulted four women

"We urge the Government to take stern action against the perpetrators since they are trying to revive the vice," she said. She added the group has been training young women how to carry out FGM. "Among those arrested was a 23-year-old woman, the circumciser and a trainer. I urge all stakeholders to come in and ensure this is brought to an end," said Kangai. Susan Munya said the group has assaulted about four women and called for crackdown on other suspects.

Ann Kaburo, a health worker said the gang’s activities have broken up some families since they have been mutilating women without the knowledge of their husbands, who kick them out when they discover.

Muthara Chief Nkunya Etirikia said the practice had dropped significantly and said he would fight those who attempt to revive it.


April 23, 2012

Female circumcision anger aired in India

NEW DELHI: Eleven years ago, Farida Bano was circumcised by an aunt on a bunk bed in her family home at the end of her 10th birthday party.

The mutilation occurred not in Africa, where the practice is most prevalent, but in India where a small Muslim sub-sect known as the Dawoodi Bohra continues to believe that the removal of the clitoris is the will of God.

“We claim to be modern and different from other Muslim sects. We are different but not modern,” Bano, a 21-year-old law graduate who is angry about what was done to her, told AFP in New Delhi.

She vividly remembers the moment in the party when the aunt pounced with a razor blade and a pack of cotton wool.

While the sect bars other Muslims from its mosques, it sees itself as more liberal, treating men and women equally in matters of education and marriage.

The community’s insistence on “Khatna” (the excision of the clitoris) also sets it apart from others on the subcontinent.

“If other Muslims are not doing it then why are we following it?” Bano says.

For generations, few women in the tightly-knit community have spoken out in opposition, fearing that to air their grievances would be seen as an act of revolt frowned upon by their elders.

But an online campaign is now encouraging them to join hands to bury the custom.

The anti-Khatna movement gained momentum after Tasneem, a Bohra woman who goes by one name, posted an online petition at the social action platform Change.org in November last year.

She requested their religious leader, the 101-year-old Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, ban female genital mutilation, the consequences of which afflict 140 million women worldwide according to the World Health Organisation.

Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin is the 52nd Dai-al Mutalaq (absolute missionary) of the community and has sole authority to decide on all spiritual and temporal matters.

Every member of the sect takes an oath of allegiance to the leader, who lives in western city of Mumbai.

When contacted by AFP, Burhanuddin’s spokesman, Qureshi Raghib, ruled out any change and said he had no interest in talking about the issue.

“I have heard about the online campaign but Bohra women should understand that our religion advocates the procedure and they should follow it without any argument,” he said.

A gathering protest

But over 1,600 Bohra Muslim women have since signed the online petition.

Many describe the pain they experienced after the procedure and urge their leader to impose a ban.

“The main motive behind Khatna is that women should never enjoy sexual intercourse. We are supposed to be like dolls for men,” 34-year-old Tabassum Murtaza, who lives in the western city of Surat, told AFP by telephone.

The World Health Organisation has campaigned against the practice, saying it exposes millions of girls to dangers ranging from infections, hemorrhaging, complicated child-birth, or hepatitis from unsterilised tools.

In the Middle East, it is still practised in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan and Syria.

“It is an atrocity committed under the cloak of religion,” says Murtaza, who along with her husband was asked to leave their family home when they refused to get their daughter circumcised.

My mother-in-law said there was no room for religious disobedience and we should move out if we cannot respect the custom,” she explained. “It is better to live on the street than humiliate your daughter’s body.”

Speaking out

Asghar Ali Engineer, a Bohra Muslim and expert on Islamic jurisprudence, has known the dangers of fighting for reform.

He has authored over 40 books proposing changes, particularly around the status of women, and has been attacked by hardliners inside a mosque in Egypt and had his house trashed by opponents.

While both France and the United States have laws enabling the prosecution of immigrants who perform female circumcisions, the practice remains legal in India and Engineer expects this to remain the case.

“Female circumcision is clearly a violation of human rights, the Indian government refuses to recognise it as a crime because the practice has full-fledged religious backing,” he said.

“No government has the courage to touch a religious issue in India even if the practice is a crime against humanity.”

He says many fathers are simply unaware of the damage they are doing by following the custom.

“I prevented my wife from getting our daughters circumcised but in many cases even fathers are not aware of the pain their daughters experience,” he says.


Sky News
April 22, 2012

Medics Offered Genital Mutilation, Report Says

By Ian Woods

As many as 100,000 women in Britain may have been mutilated in the name of culture and religion, a report claims.

[There seems no basis for the "100,000" figure - but any FGC is too much.]


The Sunday Times has uncovered what it claims is evidence of three medical practitioners offering advice on how it could be done, or in one case charging £750 to carry out the procedure.


Omar Sheikh Mohamed Addow is a dentist in Birmingham, but was filmed describing how the clitoris could be pierced with a needle and then clamped.

"Once they won't feel anything, then you cut with scissors. It will bleed. Then you take the stitches. You close."

When contacted by Sky News he denied he said ever been involved in the act.

"I have not referred anyone for this treatment. I am a dentist. I am aware of female genital mutilation and have campaigned against it."

Yet he was he recorded by the Sunday Times apparently agreeing to mutilate two young girls, aged 10 and 13, in secret:

Omar Sheikh Mohamed Addow: I will do it for you.
Sunday Times reporter: Thank you.
Addow: Nobody should know. Between you me and Allah only.

The Sunday Times say they were put in touch with the Birmingham dentist by Dr Ali Mao Aweys, who has practices in Birmingham and London and was recorded suggesting it was safer to have the surgery outside the UK.

"Yes it must have (sic) confidential. But I think it's better if you go to Africa, and then do, and then stay for 14 days, and then I give you some medication you can take and then give them."

When Sky News visited his practice in north London his receptionist told us he was not prepared to comment and asked us to leave.

... the [General Medical C]ouncil’s chief executive, Niall Dixon, said he was concerned and has begun an investigation.

Mohammad Sahib describes himself as an alternative medicine practitioner and the newspaper said he wanted £750 to perform surgery on the genitalia.

The newspaper secretly recorded this exchange:

Sunday Times (ST): You'll cut the clitoris?
Mohammad Sahib (MS): Yeah
ST: You'll cut with blade?
MB: Yeah
ST: You'll do it here?
MB: Yeah.
ST: What about stitching? Sew it?
MB: Yes I can do both.


Equality Now campaigner Efua Dorkenoo told Sky News: "Members of the community,family members know about it... there's a lot of pressure.

"And if you expose it you could be ostracised and you could be persecuted in the community.

"So people are frightened of coming forward."



April 22, 2012

Celebrity mohel mocks baby's manhood


Rabbi Avi Zarki's tweet about carrying out circumcision on 'smallest penis' he had ever seen may land him in hot water, but he says he just wanted to share medical perspective


Rabbi Zarki is a rabbi-mohel who lives in Tel Aviv. Over the last few years he has established himself as the go-to mohel in the secular community and especially among celebrities and public figures. He has both a Facebook account and a twitter account which attest to his open and unusual style.

"I'm a famous mohel [modest, too] thanks in part to my sense of humor, and I don't lose that," the rabbi told Ynet and added "The beauty of the thing is to take a subject that is sensitive and delicate and talk about it with a smile."

[The beauty of the thing is to take a subject that is sensitive and delicate and leave it alone.]

And what about the right to privacy? Rabbi Zarki doesn't see how the tweet clashes with the parents' rights. "Every day I carry out several circumcisions and each one has hundreds of guests," he noted.

"There is no identifying mark in anything I wrote - not the parents, not a location and not the name, so whoever read the tweet won't be able to discover who it was about. And because of the swift process of the circumcision, even the people present at that circumcision - including the godfather and the photographer - won't be able to know there was a problem."

Rabbi Zarki added that two mohels examined the baby before he did and refused to conduct the circumcision for fear they would damage the penis when they removed the foreskin.

According to Zarki, the baby's parents asked him to look into the matter, and since he had already carried out three similar circumcisions, he agreed, even though he hadn't previously seen a penis as small in all his 24 years as a mohel.

"My goal (in tweeting the) tweet was to bring the matter to the public's attention, that you can carry out a halachic circumcision even when there is such a problem, which is complicated from a medical perspective, that was my message."


The rabbi's "humorous" tweet came on the same day that a different Brit ceremony carried out by a different mohel, ended in tragedy. An eight day old baby was rushed to hospital after a mohel cut off a third of his penis during a circumcision ceremony.

Three urologists at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa operated on the baby and said that they successfully reattached the penis, but added that they were as yet unsure whether the penis would function properly in the future. The Health Ministry was informed of the incident.

Earlier stories: tweets; botch


One down....

Croydon Advertiser
April 21, 2012

Croydon circumcision campaigner caught with child porn videos

THE head of a pro-circumcision group who used to run a children's computer club was caught with a hoard of child porn.

Vernon Quaintance, from Upper Norwood, has avoided a jail term – despite having three video cassettes with nine-hours' worth of clips showing boys as young as 11 engaging in sex acts.

The 68-year-old is the head of the Gilgal Society, a group dedicated to promoting male circumcision.

The Old Bailey heard how police raided Quaintance's home in Henley Gardens, Upper Norwood, on April 11 last year after receiving a tip-off.

The movies seized included graphic footage of child abuse ranked at the second-highest level of severity.

Prosecuting, Frances Janusz said: "Of the five tapes seized, three were found to contain indecent images. They comprise a total of seven to nine hours.

"The children were estimated to be between 11 and 16 years old."

Robert Girling, defending, said the video tapes had been found in a box in Quaintance's office and featured films from the late 70s and early 80s.

Mr Girling told the court: "He accepts that he acquired it and it was material that he looked [at,] at the time. But 'at the time' is approaching 40 years ago.

"It was recovered from a box in his office and it was a box that he had not looked into for years and years."

Quaintance, who the court was told had been celibate for his entire life, admitted three counts of possession of indecent photographs of a child.

The retired telephone engineer was handed a 40-week jail term, suspended for two years, ordered to complete a sexual offenders rehabilitation course, and told to pay £300 costs.

According to an online profile, Quaintance is a former chairman of Croydon Computer Club, who also started a free computer group for children.

Sentencing him on Tuesday, judge Nicholas-Loraine Smith told him: "You said you had watched the videos but claimed to have got no sexual enjoyments.

"I'm afraid I very much doubt that since you retained them."

But he said Quaintance's willingness to address his problems meant he could suspend his prison sentence.

Residents in Henley Gardens, where Quaintance is known as the respected head of the local community association, were shocked to hear of his conviction. One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "I know he is a very religious man and is committed to the church." [So the name Gilgal - commonly translated "Hill of Foreskins" (Joshua 5:2) - for the society was his idea?]

[Quaintance has already been publicly exposed, and his offending is intimately involved with his interest in circumcision.

... Vernon Quaintance ... was much older than most of us, maybe in his late twenties or early thirties ... Having pulled over into a secluded car park ... he told me a joke ... the punchline involved some confusion between castration and circumcision. He then asked me if I knew what a circumcision was, to which I replied ‘No’. He then explained what it was. ... he made it seem ok for me to show him my willy, and seemed interested in determining how far I could pull my foreskin back, even gently trying to do so himself. ... He then asked if I wanted to see an example of a circumcision, which I understood to mean that he wanted to show me his willy. ... I blurted out that I had told my Mum that I would be going to confession ... Many of the highest-profile circumcision campaigners have ties to the Gilgal Society:


The text of this brochure [Sex and Circumcision: What every woman needs to know] has received consensus
support from the following circumcision experts (listed
alphabetically), who contributed to its formulation:

Bertran Auvert, MD PhD (France)
Robert Bailey, PhD (Univ of Illinois, Chicago, USA)
Stefan Bailis, MA (Minnesota, USA)
Xavier Castellsagué, MD PhD (Barcelona, Spain)
Mike Cormier (New Brunswick, Canada)
Guy Cox, DPhil (Univ of Sydney, Australia)
Ilene Gelbaum, RN NOAM (Los Angeles, USA)
Daniel Halperin, PhD (Harvard, Boston, USA)
Dawn Harvey, MA(Hons) (Aberdeen, UK)
Sam Kunin, MD (Los Angeles, USA)
Edgar Schoen, MD (Oakland, USA)
Roger Short, AM FRS ScD (Univ of Melbourne, Australia)
Howard Stang, MD (Minnesota, USA)
Jake Waskett (Manchester, UK)
Helen Weiss, PhD (London Sch Hyg Trop Med, UK)
Robin Willcourt, MD (Newport Beach, USA & Adelaide, Aust)
Tom Wiswell, MD (Florida, USA)

Primary author: Brian Morris, DSc
Professor, School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney,

Further information

May be obtained from the following websites:

http://www.circinfo.net (Brian Morris, PhD DSc)
http://www.medicirc.com (Edgar Schoen, MD)
http://www.gilgalsoc.org (The Gilgal Society)
http://www.aboutcirc.info (Guy Cox, DPhil)
http://circumcision.com.au (Terry Russell, AOM, MB BS)
http://www.samkuninmd.com (Sam Kunin, MD)
http://circumcisioninfo.com (Pierre Lacock, PhD)
http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/2754 (Mike Cormier)

A list of possible circumcisers in your region may be
obtained from the Gilgal Society. See www.gilgalsoc.org for
an order form, or www.circinfo.net for doctors in Australia
and New Zealand

©2007 Brian Morris & The Gilgal Society
Published in England by The Gilgal Society
PO Box 53515, London, SE19 2TX

(It does not of course follow that they knew of Quaintance's other interests.)


Men's Health Forum
April 19, 2012

Nurse charged as baby dies after circumcision

As a nurse is put on trial in Manchester, the debate about circumcision rages once again.

A trial date has been set for Grace Adeleye, 66, of Salford who has been charged with manslaughter after a baby boy died following a circumcision. At a Manchester Crown Court hearing on 18 April, her trial date was set for November 26. She is alleged to have caused the death of Goodluck Caubergs, from Oldham, by gross negligence two years ago.

The tragedy has inevitably shone the spotlight once again on circumcision with organisations such as NORM-UK and The Men's Network in Brighton condemning the practice.

The network's strategic director Glen Poole said: 'in the UK we are still subjecting an estimated 100 boys a day to non-consensual, medically unnecessary circumcision – with two-thirds of these procedures being carried out for non-religious reasons. While it is illegal to tattoo a boy either with or without his consent, parents do not need their son’s consent to have his foreskin painfully and unnecessarily removed without anaesthetic by non-medical practitioners.'

Circular argument

David Smith of NORM-UK, a charity offering support for men unhappy with circumcision, said: 'This is not the first case of a death following a circumcision.' He believes 'the true rate of deaths from this procedure is masked because of a circular argument.

'The circular argument goes: boys don't die because of circumcision, therefore in the case of a boy dying immediately after being circumcised there must be another cause, probably sudden infant death syndrome, and the preceding circumcision is coincidental. Thus the possibility of a causal relationship between the circumcision and the death is never recorded, and so this goes on being repeated and the connection is never made.'

What do you think about circumcision?

Earlier story


Denver Post
April 19, 2012

Colorado Senate's budget debate includes circumcisions, ATMs at strip clubs

By Tim Hoover

The Colorado Senate gave initial approval Wednesday night to a $19 billion state budget after a debate that touched on funding infant circumcisions for the poor and whether state welfare ATM cards can be used at strip clubs.


One of the most impassioned debates Wednesday was over infant circumcisions for Medicaid-eligible families. The state eliminated the funding last year, and Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver, wanted to restore the program at a cost of $194,986.

Emotional at times, Foster said low-income families that have to pay up to $400 for the procedure usually skip it.

"Because they're poor, they have no choice," she said. [So then the babies and later men do.]

Lambert said circumcision is an optional procedure that not everyone agrees is medically advisable.

"This is also one of those areas where private charities and private donations are possible," he said.

The amendment failed.


[Clarification: What the Colorado Senate refused to pass was an amendment to the annual appropriations bill to restore Medicaid funding for circumcision. This is a separate bill from SB12-090 which would require Colorado Medicaid to cover newborn circumcisions. SB12-090 is still on the table. The Senate Appropriations Committee hearing for SB12-090 is next Tuesday. If the Appropriations Committee passes the bill, it will go to the full Senate next and then to the House.]

Earlier story


The Botswana Gazette
April 19, 2012

Botswana prioritises circumcision

Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) is cited as a priority for Botswana and [sic should it be "of"?] the United States of America, the Daily News reports.

Speaking during the handing over of the P8 million [$US1.07 million] SMC medical supplies and vehicle to the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) recently, US Ambassador to Botswana Michelle Gavin said they prioritised SMC as it is “one of the strongest weapons in their arsenal in the fight against new HIV infections.” [A crazy exaggeration.]

Gavin reportedly stated that the US government is proud to contribute to Botswana’s HIV prevention strategy and that its supports evidence-based programmes like PMTCT, HIV testing and counselling as well as care and treatment.

However, she said despite [or because of?] the successful programmes, new HIV infections ’ rates continue to escalate hence efforts made by her government to assist Botswana in achieving its goal of zero infections by 2016.

She urged Batswana men to choose SMC pointing out that if majority of them choose the strategy, they will reduce their own chances of infection hence the entire country will benefit.


Life in Israel
April 18, 2012

Mohel Tweets Himself Into Trouble With Controversial Tweets

By Rafi G.

In a very strange incident, Rav Avi Zarki, a popular mohel in Tel Aviv, tweeted two tweets on his twitter account that have him in hot water.

  1. According to my professional opinion, today we can do the circumcision according to halacha without doing the traditional "preeya". [Then why not without the traditional milah?] tweet
  2. Today I did a circumcision on a child with the smallest penis I have ever seen - a micro penis. You should undertand, it was slightly thicker than a matchstick. [One hates to think what damage will come to light when its owner grows up.] At 1st I thought it was a girl. Zeh HaKotton Gadol Yiheyeh (play on words saying this small one should become big). tweet

Kikar [in Hebrew] spoke to Rav Zarki to get a response, after his tweets caused a stir. Zarki defended his tweets basically by saying he is in an unusual position and has silent rabbinic support for his style. His position is unusual because he works a lot with the non-religious community and needs to do brash things in order to keep circumcision a topic of conversation. He says he has rabbinic support for his approach, but the rabbonim dont always want their names mentioned publicly, though he reminds us that he was one of the leading students of Rav Wolbe zt"l..

Regarding his comment that preeya is no longer necessary, he did not offer much of an explanation. He did say that it is the Solonika method that performs the circumcision together with the preeya, while he has letters from many rabbonim (including Rav Ovadiah Yosef he says) supporting his alternate method.

The comment about the baby, while he had a cute line with his "zeh hakotton gadol yiheyeh", was tasteless and inappropriate for him to make. if the parents had seen what he tweeted, I am sure they would not have been happy. The comment about preeya demands more of an explanation than trust me that anonymous rabbis support me.

[The Life In Israel blog administrator removed this comment: "One hates to think what damage he may have done to the small one. Without periah, without milah - here are contact details for celebrants of Brisot Shalom - non-surgical baby naming ceremonies."]


April 18, 2012

Mohel Cuts Off A Third of Baby's Penis During Circumcision

A circumcision in Northern Israel went horribly wrong recently, when the mohel responsible for the procedure accidentally cut off a third of the infant’s penis [instead of just a third of the skin] , Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

The infant was rushed to a hospital in Haifa, Israel where an emergency operation was performed because his life was in danger. The circumcision procedure, traditionally done 8 days after birth, may have caused permanent damage to the child [May have? Nay, it did: it always does] , although senior urologists at the hospital said it will be a number of days until anything can be determined.

The baby’s parents have gone to the Israeli Ministry of Health to report the incident.


Boing Boing
April 18, 2012

Screaming black female circumcision cake controversial

By Rob Beschizza

Swedish culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cut into an unusual cake at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm this Saturday, and found herself at the center of a controversy some might say could have been predicted.

[YouTube image from Boing Boing removed "as a violation of YouTube's policy prohibiting hate speech"
- re-sourced via 'The Local'

The remarkable cake design -featuring a edible black torso and the artist's head screaming as guests tucked in - was intended to draw attention to female genital mutilation in Africa.

Campaigners, however, say it is itself an unacceptable caricature. From Sweden's The Local:

"In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden," [said] Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association."This was a racist spectacle."

... the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris. Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the "genital mutilation cake" on his Facebook page.

"Before cutting me up she whispered, 'Your life will be better after this' in my ear," he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake.

[This is one of the more neutral commentaries, and many of its comments are thought-provoking. Another, less positive, suggests the Minister, who is strong on the right of art to provoke but weak on issues of racism, was ambushed, and the viral video of her laughing as she cuts and eats the cake is the real performance. Here (Al Jazeera) the (black, male) artist explains his intent. Most reports and their commentators just joined the outrage.

What few have noticed is the resemblance to a real "cake party" that is re-enacted time after time in the Western world, with a screaming person and their genitals as the centre of attention, only it's a baby boy, and his genitals really are being cut. With this performance's many layers of irony and satire, it's not clear that the artist intended that.]


Pakistan Today
April 16, 2012

[Mother of two shot dead]


NEGLIGENCE: A 15-day-old baby died to the alleged negligence of doctor at a private clinic in the Defence-A police limits on Monday. Police have registered a case No 319/12 against Doctor Ali and his dispenser under section 319 of PPC with no arrest so far. Per details, one Babar Ali, resident of Chungi Amr Sidhu visited the private clinic of Doctor Ali for circumcision of his newly born baby named Ali. The doctor administered an injection which reacted and claimed the life of the neonate. As a result, the family of victim baby gathered on road and staged a protest demonstration. Local police reached the scene and assured them of justice. Police also conducted raid but the accused managed to flee. Police have registered a case against accused doctor and his dispenser for further action.


Not the most promising plaintiff, but good luck to him in his very modest demand!

April 16, 2012

SD man's lawsuit says circumcision 'robbed' him

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota prison inmate is suing the hospital where he was circumcised as a newborn, saying he only recently became aware that he'd undergone the procedure and that it robbed him of his sexual prowess.

Dean Cochrun, 28, is asking for $1,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. He also asks in the lawsuit that his foreskin be restored "in the hopes I could feel whole again," though he acknowledged that he didn't expect such a restoration to be anything more than aesthetic.

Cochrun, who is imprisoned in Sioux Falls on a kidnapping conviction, filed the federal lawsuit Friday against Sanford Hospital. Cochrun claims that an "unknown doctor" at the then-named Sioux Valley Hospital misled his mother to believe that the procedure was medically necessary. Cochrun argues that the procedure was unnecessary, unethical and without medical benefit.

"I was recently made aware of the fact that I had been (circumcised) and that ... I was robbed of sensitivity during sexual intercourse as well as the sense of security and well-being I am entitled to in my person," he argued in the lawsuit, adding that neither he nor his partners would "have that sensitivity during sexual intercourse and have a normal sex life."

Cochrun isn't represented by a lawyer in the lawsuit, which includes a letter from Sanford officials responding to a letter requesting that his foreskin be replaced. Patient relations representative DyAnn Smith replied that Sanford would not pay for the procedure.

"There will be no further correspondence about this matter," she wrote.


Oldham Chronicle
April 16, 2012

Midwife on baby death charge

A MIDWIFE has been charged with manslaughter after a baby bled to death following a circumcision.

Grace Adeleye (66), of Sarnia Court, Salford, appeared in the dock for the first time at Oldham Magistrates Court on Friday, charged with the manslaughter of Goodluck Caubergs by gross negligence.

The court heard the incident happened on April 17, 2010, in Oldham, and adjourned the case to a court hearing tomorrow at Manchester Crown Square Crown Court.

No plea was indicated by Adeleye and she was given conditional bail, which consisted of not leaving the UK and not to carry out any circumcisions.


Asia News
April 13, 2012

Lahore: Christians and Hindus against "religious fascism" and forced conversions to Islam

By Jibran Khan

Young Christian and Hindu women are being abducted, forcibly converted and married off against their will. Young Christian men and boys are being forcibly circumcised. Young Hindu men are jailed for befriending young Muslim women. In the past five years, between 400 and 500 Christians have been forced to convert to Islam.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - "Several young Hindu women have been kidnapped from their homes in the dark of night, and dragged off to be forcibly converted to Islam. Usually, this conversion is accompanied by a signing of the nikahnama or marriage contract, which strengthens the kidnappers side of the story," said Dilip Kumar, a Hindu activist. ...

Yesterday, together with dozens of Hindus and Christians and representatives of human rights NGOs, Kumar took part in a demonstration against the forced conversion of young men and women and the government's slow response to what has been called "religious fascism".


"In the last five years, there have been up to 400 to 500 conversions of Christians," said Peter Jacob, national director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace. "And something equally horrifying: I know of forcible circumcision of young men in Punjab and one in Baluchistan. Where are we going, one asks?"

"Two months ago, a Muslim girl became friends with three Hindu boys. The Muslim family got the boys arrested and the Hindu families killed. This is barbarianism," activist Diyal Singh said.



Monday Magazine (Victoria, B.C.)
April 12, 2012

Foreskin rally calls for ban on infant circumcision

Verbal battle erupts over specialized private clinic

By Danielle Pope

Have you hugged your foreskin today? A passionate rally this week is calling on the government and Victoria residents to show the normally shy body part a little bold love — or at least protection.

The “Whole World/Whole Children” rally is set to gather outside one of the newest private health-care offices to start offering circumcision, Diversified Health Clinic at 1063 Fort, on Friday, April 13, at 11:30 a.m. The group will then march to the legislature lawns and finish with a protest and speeches. But while foreskins may not be an issue paramount in the minds of many (save expectant parents), rally organizers say this affects all of us more than we think.

“What this really comes down to is a human rights issue,” says Glen Callender, speaker at the event and founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project. “When you consider that infant female circumcision was banned in Canada in 1997 and is now considered a criminal offence, why is the genital mutilation of an infant male any different?”

Kira Antinuk, a local mother and nursing student who organized the rally, says that the impetus for the protest came when her organization, Victoria Circumcision Resources, heard about Dr. Neil Pollock, a Vancouver-based physician who is known for being outspoken on the issue of circumcision, bringing his practice to the Island.

“We were really concerned to hear that Dr. Pollock . . . was planning on opening up a genital-cutting clinic in Victoria,” says Antinuk. “This is not acceptable on the Island, and it shouldn’t be acceptable in B.C. at all. I don’t think a lot of people are aware of this yet.”

Pollock says he has performed over 35,000 circumcisions —...


B.C. was the first province to pull Medicare funding from circumcision back in 1984, with all other provinces following suit after research showed it was no longer a necessary medical procedure. In 2009, the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons stated the procedure should be delayed until the child can make his own decision, and the Canadian Pediatric Society now states on its website the relative risks of the foreskin being left intact alongside the proven risks of removing it.

Since circumcisions are no longer covered provincially or performed in hospitals, private health clinics are left to pick up the slack from parents and some adults still wanting to perform the procedure. That privatized bias is exactly what concerns Callender, who says clinics are now preying on misinformed parents to push the invasive procedure onto children who cannot give their consent.

“Criminal law protects the foreskin of a girl, the hood of her clitoris, but not of a boy — yet it’s the same translated body part,” says Callender. “So much of what we hear about why circumcision is ‘good’ is misinformation from years ago, or even old wives tales, but the tales stick. We have to recognize the severe and detrimental impacts not only of making a decision for an individual who cannot consent, but that this is a form of assault, and we need the government to say ‘No more.’”


Callender emphasizes that the rally is not an effort to prevent circumcision on the whole — it’s a plea to halt the procedures on infants, ...

A YouTube video of the rally (6:32).


Uptown Mag (Winnipeg)
April 12, 2012

Introducing The Holy Atheist

Stevie Ray Fromstein takes a hilarious - and non-confrontational - approach to religion

By Jared Story

Born again. Stevie Ray Fromstein’s comedy career was rejuvenated when he found religion... kind of.


"The Holy Atheist idea kind of came out of one conversation I had with a friend of mine where we started talking about (religion) and I was making her laugh, and I thought, maybe I can actually talk about this and be funny, as well," Fromstein says over the phone from his home in Los Angeles.

"I went up onstage to give it a try and it was a disaster. ...

Fromstein has since refined his atheistic act ...


The Holy Atheist’s favourite and most difficult target is circumcision. A Jew (at least culturally), Fromstein is a bit miffed he wasn’t consulted on the cutting of his foreskin. He believes the reasons for the prepuce-removal practice are preposterous.

"They say it’s important for a boy to look like his father, but how do we know that?" Fromstein says. "Where is the study? Where are all the serial killers whose penis didn’t match their fathers? Plus, your penis doesn’t look anything like your father’s when you’re a little kid. My dad had a huge penis. Mine didn’t look anything like his, but it didn’t traumatize me, I was proud of my dad.

"The other argument you hear is that it’s cleaner to be circumcised when, in fact, it’s not cleaner — the foreskin protects the penis. Even if it was somehow cleaner, there’s now an exciting alternative to surgery called soap. It’s absurd, but these are the two arguments you’ll hear from everybody. It’s like an old wives’ tale that became science."

Get more of Fromstein’s take on circumcision and other religion-related matters at www.theholyath[ei]st.com and follow him on Twitter @TheHolyAtheist.



April 12, 2012

Uganda: Bishop Against Circumcision

By Chris Mugasha

The Bishop of West Ankole diocese Rt. Rev. Yona Katoneene has appealed to the ministry of health to fund activities that aim at behavioral change in society.

He criticized the ministry saying a lot of money has been put into the campaign to promote safe male circumcision instead of devoting such funds to promoting messages of behavioral change especially among the youth.

Katoneene said if such money was used to support the youth groups to purchase bicycles to move from house-to-house and sensitise their fellow youth about abstinence and dangers of HIV/AIDS, the spread of the scourge would be contained.

Katoneene recalled that President Yoweri Museveni's message of abstinence [faithfulness and condoms] had created a positive impact in containing the scourge.

He also asked the ministry of health facilitate the clergy to spread the messages of abstinence, faithfulness among couples and behavioral change. [And condoms.]

Katoneene was on Thursday preaching during a special service for the clergy in the diocese where all the priests renewed their priestly vows.

Describing the ministry's approach as shooting off side, Katoneene also noted that the message of safe male circumcision was poorly packaged.

"After circumcision some people think that it is a ticket for one to engage in [unprotected] sex and this is likely to worsen the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities," Katoneene said.

He said people who have been fearing to engage in sexual acts because of HIV/AIDS have now been lured to circumcise and join the wagon.

Katoneene explained that as church, if circumcision was being encouraged for other health reasons they would not be having any problem with it but promoting it on the basis that it will minimize the spread of HIV/AIDS is encouraging people to engage in immoral activities.


Earlier story


So men refuse to be circumcised? Get them before they can!

The Guardian
April 11, 2012

Aids and ignorance thrive as Swaziland struggles for funds to fight disease

By David Smith in Mbabane

Despite improving healthcare and information campaigns, country still has world's highest infection rate

Swaziland has the miserable distinction of the highest HIV rate in the world, with more than one in four adults estimated to be carrying the virus. It accounts for nearly half the deaths of children under five.


"There are many problems in the country," said a spokesman for the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations. ...

"When a western NGO puts out a message about condoms, someone turns up on radio in the local language, SiSwati, and says, 'Don't be silly, our job is to produce children.'"

Research has found that, despite government information campaigns, understanding of HIV/Aids is poor. A campaign funded by the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) to encourage men to undergo circumcision – not a tradition in Swaziland – fell well short of its target. [Maybe because men understand what they would lose and how little they'd gain.]


HIV Rates:

Circumcised men


Intact men


Source: www.measuredhs.com

But circumcision of newborn boys is proving more successful. [Sure - because they have no choice. There is NO evidence that circumcising babies has any effect on HIV.] ...


Ncamsile Mkhwanazi, a staff nurse, ... criticised the recent circumcision drive. "Men believed that once you are circumcised you are prevented from catching HIV. It was not clear."

But she said communities were no longer being devastated as they once were. "Now people are taking the drugs so the death rate is decreasing...."



Right but for the wrong reason

the Daily Monitor (Uganda)
April 8, 2012

Stop labelling us terrorists, clerics say

By Betty Ndagire

In Summary
During the Good Friday Ecumenical Public Way of the Cross walk in Kampala, clerics turned the hit on the government and politicians over calling church leaders terrorists. The clerics said it is their duty to point out wrongs and correct some, which does not make them opposition.

Clerics have advised government to focus its attention on solving issues affecting citizens and warned against being labelled ‘terrorists’ whenever they criticise the running of the country.


Circumcision not the deal

Meanwhile, the Bishop of West Ankole Diocese, the Rev. Yona Katoneene, has criticised the Ministry of Health over its ‘safe male circumcision’ campaign. He said the practice is encouraging promiscuity. [So the Bishop would rather rely on fear of a deadly disease to help him promote his moral precepts?]

“Whether you are circumcised or not, you get infected with HIV. We are telling the people we lead that they should not be deceived that getting circumcised will make them safer. As a church, we encourage people to abstain and those who get married remain faithful to their partners,” Bishop Katoneene said. [This is dangerously confused. Let him promote his morality as morality, not as a variety of safer sex.]

Preaching on Good Friday, Rev. Katoneene blamed government, especially the Ministry of Education for failing to fund activities that would influence behavioural change in society. “We are not against circumcision but the way the campaign is packaged is wrong. The picture given in the campaign shows that when you circumcise, you can’t acquire HIV, which is absolutely wrong,” Rev. Katoneene said. [And very, very dangerous.]


When persuasion fails, try bribery - then threats, then force?

The Star (Kenya)
April 5, 2012

Cash incentives for uncut Nyanza youth

By Samuel Otieno

Boda boda [bicycle taxi] operators in Nyanza province might be given cash incentives to persuade them to get circumcised, a national task force has said. ''Despite much progress in male circumcision in Nyanza, majority of the targeted youth remain uncircumcised,'' said the National Male Circumcision Task Force. According to the task force, the primary target group of sexually active group, especially those in their 20s, is becoming a hindrance to the operation as they cite loss of income during the recuperation period as the reason for not being circumcised.

The task force chairman, Jackson Kioko, said yesterday: ''Most of the men aged 25 years are shying away from the cut for numerous reason such as lack of loss of income and demands by their partners as well possible complications.'' He said the task force is looking into ways of tapping into the age bracket with possibilities of offering stipends, if need be, to those who will undergo the cut. “Most of those who defy the cut and are within the target group are the boda boda guys who fear loss of income,” said Kioko.

He said a pilot programme has been launched in one of the districts in the province that will entail building shades for the initiates to gauge the level of acceptance in a conducive working environment. Said Kioko: ''Most of those defying the cut were basing their argument on misinformation about the voluntary medical male circumcision. We will invest in dissemination of proper research information to the public about voluntary male circumcision.''

Among other strategies, he revealed that they want to employ include work place intervention and weekend camps for the targeted age groups. Early studies by male circumcision consortium said a misconceptions about Male circumcision has been discouraging some men from getting the “cut.” Among the main reasons the study participants cited for not getting circumcised were missing time from work during the healing period after the procedure, the length of the required post-surgical period of sexual abstinence, and the possibility of experiencing serious side effects.

The findings and other results of the qualitative study were conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society (NRHS), Impact Research and Development Organization, and the University of Nairobi with support from the Male Circumcision Consortium. The study involved 12 focus group discussions with men who said that they were not circumcised and did not plan to get circumcised. The 121 men, ages 18 to 40, were recruited at markets, shopping centres, and workplaces in Kisumu East, Nyando, and Kisumu West districts.

The occupations represented included bicycle transporters and other workers in the informal sector, students, farmers, and shop or kiosk owners, as well as teachers, fishermen, drivers, and religious leaders. Time away from work and cultural beliefs were considered the primary barriers to male circumcision. Younger men consider male circumcision a medical intervention, while older men were more likely to refer to it as a cultural practice meant for other ethnic groups.

[The amount of effort being put into circumcision - at the expense of AIDS prevention that is known to work - is obscene. If this much energy and money had been put into promoting condoms, safe-sex practices and sterile medical facilities 10 or 20 years ago, the epidemic would have been licked by now.]

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