Female circumcision practiced under Islamic injunction has been distinguished from female genital mutilation condemned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “not having any health benefit”. This clarification was made by a renowned Islamic scholar, Sheik Abdul-Hafeez Ariremako last Sunday at a programme organized by the Group of Muslim Professionals in Ibadan in commemoration of the WHO’s International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Speaking on the topic “Female Circumcision: Any Benefit at all?”, Ariremako said the global effort against FGM is in accordance with Islamic practice which prohibits mutilation of the female genitals. He however stressed that if female circumcision is done by experts under public health facilities like that of the male, all associated health complications are preventable.
The learned Islamic scholar who maintained that female circumcision is not only a health issue, but also a strongly held socio-cultural and religious practice said despite the controversies surrounding abortion from various quartres of the world, it has been legitimized and accommodated under public health facilities to prevent quackery and avoidable complications. “Female circumcision deserves equal, if not a better treatment”, he said.
Also speaking on the programme, a veteran medical doctor urged that in the campaign against female genital mutilation, it should be clearly distinguished from female circumcision still practiced among many communities worldwide.
The medical doctor who pointed out that researches have not established significant health benefits of female circumcision, maintained that disregarding its socio-cultural and religious benefits is nothing but cultural imperialisation.
While advising against the circumcision of the female child under quacks and unsterilized equipment, the doctor identified the resultant complications as including genital infections, bleeding, narrowing of the orifice and contraction of deadly diseases like AIDS and Hepatitis. He added that all these are preventable, if the government could accommodate female circumcision under public health facilities as done for male circumcision and abortion.
Both the doctor and Sheik Ariremako unanimously held that “a well-executed female circumcision makes partners more comfortable during coitus”. This, they regarded as a social benefit of female circumcision thereby facilitating faithfulness among couples. According to them, “it indirectly scales down the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)”.
The programme which enjoyed massive attendance of Muslim professionals from all walks of life under the distinguished chairmanship of the Library Co-ordinator and Chief Imam of Fountain University, Osogbo, Alhaj Sirajudeen Bakrin was also graced by the Webmaster of the University of Ibadan, Alhaj Abdul-Hafeez Adelopo.