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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. Karen Goldis says:

    Aman Wardak whether or not there are health benefits is irrelevent. No surgery should be performed on healthy body parts of individuals unable to consent.

  2. Karen Goldis says:

    Aman Wardak should we assume all our male children will grow up to be irresponsible man-whores? If you reallly want to prevent HIV, just amputate the whole penis and get the rate down to 0%

  3. Hinda Blas says:

    Michael apparently you know nothing about circumcision on boys. In Jewish law it is done at the age of 8 days and there are many studies that proves that the nerves are not connected at that age unlike others who have had it done at much older ages which can cause problems. Since you want to attack a Jewish paper for bringing an article that exposes a "member of the American Pediatric Society" who wants to push a barbarity ideology on our children – I think you should try to find something else to do – like being a Human sheild or something more appeasing to this ideology.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Certainly not if it was done in USA by trained surgeons in proper medical setting.
    Can you imagine promoters of female circumcision going all "but it's done by trained professionals, in hygienic conditions, and only take 2 minutes", like they say about male circ to make it look more acceptable?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Aman Wardak
    "What if the religion says it's for the health of the person?"
    What is your basis for saying that RELIGION says it's for health?
    Maimonides about circumcision ( disclamer : the following opinions are Maimonides' and are in no way endorsed by the author of this message :D ) :
    "one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible."
    "It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision."

    I'm not aware he said anything about hygiene and diseases, but I may be wrong?

  6. Nate Thomas says:

    Hinda Blas — WTF does "the nerves are not connected at that age" even mean? Are they just floating around like piss in the bladder? Of course, they're attached! They have nowhere else to go! Why do you think babies scream with the blade hits the flesh? Coincidence? Why do pathologists find those nerves working properly (and can count them with a high percent of accuracy) when they study them? Coincidence? Boy, you're stupid.

  7. Hinda Blas is obviously uneducated about nature, choosing to live in a world of biased ideology.

  8. Jason Maas says:

    Hinda Blas : Please stay away from children. If you actually believe that a baby's nerves "aren't connected" then there's no limit to the amount of harm you might cause a newborn. You are as ignorant and dangerous as the doctor promoting female circumcision in this article.

  9. Hinda Blas Someone told you babies don't feel pain so, instead of recognizing the screams of babies being tortured and mutilated, you deny there are any. This is not an issue of competitive suffering. The screams of babies and children having the tender flesh of their genitals cut are genderless. Both genders die from these harmful traditional practices. This issue should not be seen as an attack on parents, religions, cultures, or physicians in general, it is not. It is a human rights issue meant to protect infants and children. The rights of a child trump personal, religious, and cultural preferences. The body belongs to the person who inhabits it. Those who care for an infant or a child have a responsibility and obligation to protect the child until the child is old enough to protect himself and make personal choices about his or her own body.

  10. Jimmy Whispers says:

    Aman Wardak because of its invasiveness, you can present that information to the boy when he is old enough to consent to the intervention. In the case of nearly all countries outside places like sub-Saharan Africa, the low prevalence of HIV and the very small benefit it would confer in that setting, they'd opt for something a little better. I know I would. That is of course if you wanted to perform circumcisions ethically, something not too common here in the US.

  11. Zabi Wardak says:

    Is this guy for real???

  12. It's about the lowest scum of perverts getting off on it.

  13. coincidentally I just read an article about 'masculinists', ie men who profess a need to protect men from gender discrimination. logically they should ally with feminists as opponents of gender discrimination. but they don't, because theyre not opposed to gender discrimination, theyre opposed to feminism: they are anti-feminists. similarly this article doesn't appear to be opposed to genital mutilation, just to muslims. no mention is made of the mutilation of children's genitals outside of the muslim faith. for example, I was under the impression that many US pediatric doctors favour circumcision. but no broader issues are touched upon beyond the opinion of the single american pediatrician quoted in some obscure part of the blogosphere.

  14. Aman Wardak reductio ad absurdum: if removal of a hand or an eye was found to reduce the risk of STIs, would it be legitimate? condom use is what prevents the spread of STIs, so genital mutilation is unnecessary, but even if it was necessary, shouldnt that be the choice of the person who owns the genitals? when they reach the age at which their society deems them capable of making a rational decision about their own body (age of majority/manhood, etc)?

  15. Rob Clemons says:

    Aman Wardak You're a ****ing moron. It's well documented that the methodology of that experiment was flawed. The reason circumcised males appeared to contract HIV less than uncircumcised males is because they did not allow for the penis to heal properly before documenting any findings, i.e., circumcised males didn't go out and have sex during the time frame because their penis had yet to heal. You're a disgusting, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breather if you're here trying to justify male or female genital mutilation.

  16. Aman Wardak says:

    Rob Clemons You're a great genius. Thank you very much for clearing that up for us.

  17. truly fascinating place for the article, would be interesting to see if they do a follow up series on the subject

  18. As a masculist myself, I say we ARE opposed to all forms of sexism, including sexism against women. However, we cannot ally with feminists because they are not for equality; they are anti-male. Moreover, they get angry when we mention that sexism against men exists, as they deny that it exists. If our big cause is fighting against sexism then how can we align with thise who deny its existence?

  19. Carl Augustsson I was referring just to the masculinists in the article: I wouldnt like to make a sweeping statement about all masculinists, especially since gender discrimination against men is a real and upsetting phenomenon. sorry if it came across that way. but equally, not all feminists are anti-male, and feminism as a system of thought or belief is not an anti-male. neither should be used as a cover term for mysogeny or mysandry (not sure of the spelling of either, or even if the 2nd is the correct term!) and Id like to think that all sensible maculinists and feminists could agree on opposing gender discrimination, tyrannical gender essentialism, inequality, etc

  20. Aman Wardak says:

    wow you're really cool, can I be your facebook friend?

  21. Joseph Lewis says:

    "Since you want to attack a Jewish paper for bringing an article that exposes a "member of the American Pediatric Society" who wants to push a barbarity ideology on our children…"

    You mean like how Edgar Schoen bugged the AAP until they withdrew their recommendation AGAINST circumcision? Or like how Aaron J. Fink invented the lie that circumcision prevented HIV? Or how Abraham L. Wolbarst invented the lie that circumcision prevents penile cancer? Or how Daniel Halperin is trying to "prove" Fink's circumcision/HIV myth? Or how Alex Wodak is trying to bring back universal circumcision to Australia?

    THAT kind of ideology pushing on children?

    Naw, couldn't be.

  22. Tardez Whitley says:

    Women who have undergone Female Circumcision have a significantly decreased risk of HIV-2 infection when compared to those who had not.
    ———————————————-
    Kanki P, M'Boup S, Marlink R, et al.
    "Prevalence & risk determinants of HIV type 2
    (HIV-2) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1
    (HIV-1) in west African female prostitutes
    Am. J. Epidemiol. 136 (7): 895-907. PMID

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1442755

  23. Tardez Whitley says:

    Aman Wardak "Researchers bent on proving that female circumcision heightens HIV risk in women could not explain away numbers that argued the opposite."

    Stallings et al. 2009 -
    Risk of HIV among women who had undergone Female Circumcision is roughly half that of women who had not. Association remained significant after adjusting for region, household wealth, age, lifetime partners, and union status.

    Rebecca Stallings (ORC Macro, Calverton, Maryland) set out to see whether variables influencing circumcision or HIV risk could solve this apparent riddle [abstract TuOa0402]. But session attendees guessed Stallings had no good news when she started her talk with a terse avowal of opposition to female circumcision and to government intrusion in women's lives. [...] None of the variables Stallings weighed explained why circumcision apparently protected women from HIV in the primary analysis — and she weighed a lot of them: region, years living there, household wealth, age, education, religion, years sexually active, union status, polygamy, number of recent and lifetime sex partners, recent infection or abnormal discharge, use of alcohol, and ability to say no to sex. [...] In the final model, circumcision whittled the risk of HIV infection by 40% (odds ratio [OR] 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.41 to 0.88)."

    - Female circumcision and HIV infection in Tanzania:
    For better or for worse?
    3rd IAS conference on HIV pathogenesis and treatment
    International AIDS Society

    http://www.ias-2005.org/planner/Presentations/ppt/3138.ppt
    http://www.thebody.com/content/art12238.html

  24. Tardez Whitley says:

    To say that masculists or men's rights activists are just "anti-feminism" is nonsense. MRA's sometimes expose feminists when they outright try to diminish men's rights, which they often do… but that is to be expected. If you are trying to defend men's rights, and a group is fighting to further hurt men's rights, you can expect the men's rights activists to stand up to it.

  25. Jessica Zikri says:

    I've heard this doctor speak on this issue twice over two years. He's said repeatedly that he has never performed the procedure, has never seen it done, and is not only NOT advocating it, but he has discouraged every audience he's ever spoken to on the issue NOT to have it performed because it is illegal in the U.S.

    To lump this doctor in with all of the barbarians who practice FGM is irresponsible and a distraction from that issue, which is a huge problem in places where people choose culture over religion out of ignorance or defiance.

    Shame on all of you who are so quick to demonize someone with misleading statements and very little information. You could be hurting his career as a respected pediatrician with this because of your haste to burn a door down.

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