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US Pediatric Doctor Favors Female Circumcision


Dr. Hatem al-Haj says circumcision is "an honor" for women.

Dr. Hatem al-Haj says circumcision is "an honor" for women.
Photo Credit: Screen shot

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.”

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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147 Responses to “US Pediatric Doctor Favors Female Circumcision”

  1. Jason Maas says:

    He sounds just like many of his peers in the medical and religious establishments who favor male circumcision. All of them use bad science and religious dogma to rationalize abusing children — male and female, Jewish, Muslim and Christian.

  2. "Promotes Female Mutilation" would have been a better title. The phrase female circumcision should never have been used in the first place. It is as sick and meaningless as 'legalized sex for minors'.

  3. Jason Maas says:

    "Circumcision" and "mutilation" are the same thing when they are forced on unconsenting minors, boys or girls.

  4. DantheMan says:

    Oh look. All the anti-Bris Milah nuts are coming out.
    Bet it won’t take long for them to start with the antisemitic comments next.

  5. DantheMan says:

    You guys should get a room.

  6. DantheMan says:

    Nothing shall abrogate His words.

    Oh dear, but that’s exactly what your new testacle did. It abrogated His words. What a conundrum. First you say nothing shall abrograte His words, and then give an example of it abrogating His words.

  7. The Oxford English American dictionary defines mutiliation as "to injure or disfigure by cutting off an important part" Therefore, by definition mutilation is the correct word as what is done to male and female minors. Let's work together to end both.

  8. The Oxford English American dictionary defines mutiliation as "to injure or disfigure by cutting off an important part" Therefore, by definition mutilation is the correct word as what is done to male and female minors. Let's work together to end both.

  9. Christianity does NOT practise circumcision on girls or boys. The New Testament rightly condemns it. Outisde of the US and Africa, few Christian men are cut.

  10. I think that The Jewish Express ought to pay more attention to its own attachment to the genital mutilation of boys than to go casting stones on others cultural biases. The standard female circumcision, as practiced by Muslims, is just the amputation of the clatoris (8000 nerve endings) while the standard removal of the prepuce of a boy amputatess 20,000 nerve endings, 75% of penile nerves, 100% of the most erogenous and 1/2 inch in penile length. Please, when it comes to genital mutilation, The Jewish Express is quite hypocritical in pointing at others.

  11. Unfortunately, too few Christian leaders in the US publicly condemn the genital mutilation of boys. In some cases, it is even condoned as a so-called "parental right". See the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco for an example of this.

  12. Please not that hyperbole is used just to make a point. Mutilation done to a girl or boy is horrific.

  13. Gregor Waltz says:

    Carl Augustsson Christians are not supposed to. The NT says not to cut with any association to religion. I think it is an easy inference from the Bible to conclude that needlessly cutting a child is a SIN, however, too many Christians do turn a blind eye to this issue. Many Christian men are genitally mutilated. Somebody mutilated me against my will.

  14. Liz Matthews says:

    Cutting pieces of children's genitals off, whether they are girls or boys, is cruel, sickening, barbaric, and nothing more than child sexual abuse and a human rights abuse. Not to mention surgery on un-consenting minors for no medical reason, which is ethically wrong. Children have a right to be whole, which trumps any so-called 'religious' or 'parental' right.

  15. Jason Maas says:

    Carl Augustsson : Technically, there is nothing in the Quran itself that mandates circumcision, either — for boys or girls.

  16. this guy serves at Mayo clinic and AAP and his references include religious scripture? WTF??

  17. Jason Maas says:

    Those are good points to remember next time you hear the AAP or other American docs promoting circumcision. Sadly, their ranks are full of people who are brainwashed by tradition and religious dogma.

  18. Hugh Intactive says:

    Jason Maas Technically? Absolutely. There is not a word on the subject (Just like Jesus on homosexuality.) There are however numerous texts suggesting circumcision should NOT be done (to males or females):
    He created everything in exact measure; He precisely designed everything (25:2)
    He designed you, and designed you well. (40:64)
    He created the heavens and the earth for a specific purpose, designed you and perfected your design (64:3)
    He created man in the best design. (95:4)
    [Satan said:] " I will mislead them, I will entice them, I will command them to mark the ears of livestock, and I will command them to distort the creation of GOD." (4:119)
    We did not leave anything out of this book. (6:38)
    The word of your lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient. (6:115)

  19. Robin Ricca says:

    That's right. It's NOT an islamic practice. It's a cultural dictate that originated in Africa, and one that muslims on that continent adopted.

  20. Hugh Intactive says:

    Call them both genital cutting then. That's indisputable in both cases.

  21. Hugh Intactive says:

    He's a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics? Well he'll be right at home then. In 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics proposed allowing a token, ritual nick of girls' genitals "much less extensive than neonatal male genital cutting" (their words) lest worse befall, but the proposal was howled down and reversed within a month. The chair of the "Bioethics" committee that proposed it, Dr Douglas Diekema, has never stopped defending it. He is still on the AAP's taskforce on circumcision. Why are baby boys still fair game for a "much [more] extensive" genital cutting?

  22. Hugh Intactive says:

    To be fair to Dr al-Haj, your last sentence refers to this hadith:
    'Um Atiyyat al-Ansariyyah said: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (pbuh) said to her: Do not cut too severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband'. 1,8

    In Indonesia and Malaysia, Female Gential Cutting is surgical and much milder than in Africa, and entirely comparable to Male Genital Cutting. It is hard to condemn one without condemning the other.

  23. Kathleen Legler says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/female-circumcision-anger-aired-india-094432311.html "a small Muslim sub-sect known as the Dawoodi Bohra continues to believe that the removal of the clitoris is the will of God." DAMN, does that ever sound familiar! FGM and MGM are 2 sides of same coin. Wake up people.

  24. Valkyrie Hunter says:

    Huh. This must be meant to show how "barbaric" female circumcision is, but sorry, it's no different from male circumcision promoted by so many Jewish, Christian, Muslim, secular etc etc etc doctors. Genital mutilation of non consenting children is WRONG. I don't care what your religion is or why you do it. It's barbaric. It needs to stop.

  25. Upon reading this article, I didn't see where it mentioned infants. I think it's all bad, but if an adult wishes to believe that cutting their genitals is making themselves more beautiful, then that is their right. The problem is when this cutting is done to boys and girls that are not adults and cannot make this decisions on their own.

  26. Greg Allan says:

    Carl Augustsson You might want to add Australia to your list.

  27. Aman Wardak says:

    "I don't care what your religion is or why you do it."

    What if the religion says it's for the health of the child? And we have evidence like this to support it:
    http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/index.html

    What do you say then?

  28. Aman Wardak says:

    Is science yet to discover similar benefits for female circumcision?

  29. ummm…..how about "no"

  30. that's horrible, bro

  31. what benefits?…..that a woman will not be able to enjoy making love? if the prophet(s) recommended that we are to look at a woman before marrying her, i don't see him saying "yeah…look at her….and then after you approve of her….after you think she's beautiful….cut her thingy so she can't enjoy making love"

  32. Aman Wardak says:

    Michael Davis how can you be so sure?

  33. the prophet(s) says that we are not allowed to leave our wife after we have been pleased – meaning that we can't just have an orgasm and then leave her hanging. obviously, she needs her clitoris in order to have such full enjoyment of sex and to reach orgasm. this is why i am sure

  34. Aman Wardak says:

    Michael Davis Ah, I think I see where we're not agreeing: in what circumcision means. It's definitely NOT cutting "her thingy". The circumcision that the Muslim scholars talk about in no way hinders her ability to make love and enjoy her spouse. It's been completely twisted to mean FGM in this article which includes various levels of cutting which are un-Islamic.

  35. Aman Wardak says:

    Michael Davis I agree with you in everything, especially in "she needs her clitoris". And that's not what the scholars say circumcision includes.

  36. what does it include?

  37. i'm not gonna read that. i'm feelin' lazy, right now. can you tell me what it includes?

  38. because they ain't got nothin' to cut other than the clit, i thought. so, please clarify

  39. Jason Maas says:

    Circumcision, male or female does not prevent HIV. The United States has the highest rate of HIV in the developed world. It has also been practicing near universal circumcision for generations. If there was anyplace where circumcision might have worked to lower HIV, it would be the US. Instead, just the opposite has happened. In Europe, meanwhile, where circumcision is rare, HIV is also far lower than in the US. It is no coincidence that those in the WHO are much like the Muslim cleric in this article, using bad science to prop up their superstitious belief in favor of male circumcision.

  40. completely superstitious….has nothing to do with islam – AT ALL.

  41. Aman Wardak says:

    I'm trying to read the original text of Dr. Hatem's paper and it does include the limits of what is allowed to be cut right after where the translator stops in his "excerpted translation". However there are some words there that I can't fathom. In the video, he mentions the clitoris hood only.

  42. funny……removing the clitoris hood will make it easier to excite the clitoris. what's his point, basically? what does he want to accomplish by his idea of circumcision….and….if it's to curb desires, his version, the removal of the clitoris hood, the EXACT opposite of curbing excitement will be accomplished. pretty much, female circumcision has nothing to do with islam……so, if somebody wants to promote it, let them promote it, but not connect it with islam…because there is no connection.

  43. Aman Wardak says:

    Jason Maas Can you point us to your references please?

  44. Aman Wardak says:

    Michael Davis Dr. Hatem has his references in his paper and those show the possible connections.

  45. Aman Wardak says:

    More clarification on the subject:

  46. Aman Wardak says:

    "I don't care what your religion is or why you do it."

    What if the religion says it's for the health of the person? And we have evidence like this to support it:
    http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/index.html

    What do you say then?

  47. Jonathon Conte : Roman Catholicism does not approve of circumcision for non-Jews, but turns a blind eye towards the routine circumcisions of the English speaking world. Catholicism does recognise the book of Genesis as the word of God, and therefore acknowledges that Jewish ritual circumcision is a valid religious imperative. Roman Catholicism for centuries turned a blind towards the antisemites in their midst, which resulted in many Catholics playing a part in the Holocaust. The Church now feels obligated to bend over backwards to curry favour with Jews, and so will defend brit milah. More generally, intactivism won't get much support from religious figures in the USA, for fear of being branded antisemitic. Intactivists in practice range from evangelical Christians to atheists and neopagans.

  48. IT is ghastly and weird that a fellow like this was invited to join the inner circle of the AAP. His involvement in the AAP, along with Edgar Schoen and Douglas Diekema, destroys the AAP's credibility on the subject of routine infant circumcision.

  49. Hugh Intactive says:

    The Who policy was decided at a closed door meeting of unknown participants, but it seems to have included a number of people with some very dodgy associations. In any case, even if its claims are true, circumcision protects only MEN and only from infection by women and then only a little better than tossing a coin to decide whether to have sex. Condoms are still essential in any encounter with a person of unknown HIV status. So unless you expect your son to have a lot of unprotected sex with strange women 15+ years from now, circumcising him now to prevent him getting HIV is a bad policy.

  50. Joseph Lewis says:

    How is this any different than Jewish doctors and/or rabbis claiming "medical benefits" for male circumcision? Funny how the "medical benefits = not mutilation" equation only works for boys but not girls. Let it be clear; this isn't about "medical benefits." There would not be enough "medical benefits" in the world to justify female circumcision. Somehow, circumcision advocates seem to think that the more "studies" and "proof of benefits" they churn out, the more the forced genital cutting of boys is justified. This isn't about "medicine," and it's not about "severity." It's about self-serving willful blindness.

  51. Joseph Lewis says:

    Are babies having crazy sex with multiple sex partners without condoms? 'Fraid even the WHO must admit that circumcision is so ineffective that condoms cannot be overstated. Bottom line is, it should be up to a grown man to decide whether he wants to get cut and risk going bareback, or wear a condom.

  52. Joseph Lewis says:

    First of all, what religion says circumcision is "for the health of the child?" Since when does religion have any relevance in medicine?

    What if a religion says female circumcision is "for her health" too? What would you say then?

    Why does an already healthy child need an operation? Is health simply impossible without it?

    I'm afraid you're seeking a problem for your "solution." For most other surgery, medicine dictates that there must be a medical necessity where surgery is the only option after other solutions have been tried and failed. Your logic is backwards.

  53. Joseph Lewis says:

    Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.

    It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

    I'm sure if scientists dig hard enough, if they fooled around with the numbers long enough, they'd be able to produce "studies" in favor of female circumcision, as they have with male circumcision.

    There will never ever be enough "medical benefits" to legitimize any degree of genital cutting in girls; the same should apply to boys.

    This isn't about "medical benefits." This is about insulating cultural practice from scrutiny.

    "It's my religion, it's my culture, I'm the parent" fail as alibis.

    Ergo the feigned interest in public health.

  54. According to Dr Pierre Foldès, the inventor of the restoration of the clitoris, complicatiopns of excision inlcude a 20% DEATH RATE!

  55. Liz Matthews says:

    @Aman, that 'evidence' is faulty…but even if it was true, we can't just chop off children's body parts because it might prevent something later on…where would it end? Should we start removing baby girl's ovaries to prevent the chance of them getting ovarian cancer? Joseph is right, it should be up to a grown man to decide. It is completely wrong to do this to a helpless baby.

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