Male circumcision needs to be seen as barbaric and unnecessary – just like female genital mutilation

The similarities between the two practices are glaring. Both procedures vary in severity. Both involve painful and usually permanent surgery on a non-consenting child. Both are medically unnecessary. And both are risky

By Stephen Evans, who is the chief executive officer of the National Secular Society

Source: The Independent Voices

The debate over male ritual circumcision – the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis of a baby boy for religious and cultural reasons – is becoming more prominent each year. A BBC documentary broadcast this week provides further evidence that the tide is beginning to turn on the historic carte blanche afforded to infant circumcision.

The non-therapeutic alteration of children’s genitals is typically discussed in two separate ethical discourses: one for girls, in which such alteration is referred to as “female genital mutilation” (or FGM), and one for boys, in which it is usually referred to as “male circumcision”. The former is illegal in the UK and typically regarded as barbaric; the latter, benign or even “beneficial”.

But the similarities between the two practices are glaring. Both procedures vary in severity. Both involve painful and usually permanent surgery on a non-consenting child. Both are medically unnecessary. And both are risky.

Just last week reports emerged of a one-month-old baby having to have his penis amputated in Egypt after it turned gangrenous following a circumcision. Earlier this year, two baby boys died in Italy after their genitals were cut for religious reasons. Circumcisions in the UK have also resulted in serious injury and deaths.

Read more:

Suggested Reading

Today is the Great Feast of Anniversary of Jesus’ Circumcision

Every Thing You Needed to Know about Male Circumcision

Denmark’s Jews Questioning Their Future in the Country Following Proposed Ban on Circumcision

Iceland law to outlaw male circumcision sparks row over religious freedom

CDC: Circumcision benefits outweigh the risks as it cuts risk for HIV, STDs and penile cancer

Circumcisions to Help Prevent AIDS Are on the Rise

Science of Circumcision: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac or St. Paul?

Hilary Clinton Promoting Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention

Male Circumcision, From St. Paul to Hillary Clinton

19 replies

  1. This article already disqualifies itself by looking at the author, who is chief executive officer of the National Secular Society and not a Medical Officer.

    • I agree with your conclusion here. But why the circumcision of girls? That’s not in my Bible. I can understand boys, cuz it’s excess skin, and the penis is left intact. So in girls, it’s not the excess skin being removed, as there isn’t any, but it is the clitoris that is being mutilated, whereas in boys, the penis is not mutilated.

      And along with that, think about it for the boys for a moment. Get rid of that excess skin covering the penis, the sensitivity is increased during sexual relations, INCREASING sexual relations, cuz it feels better than all that loose skin getting in the way. I can see the logic in this, and the birth rates increasing due to it. God had a REASON (hidden) for men to be circumcised, and it isn’t about a religious edict. If you think about it with some wisdom, it’s about population explosion, increased birth rates.

      But to mutilate a female? I just don’t get the logic. Trying to decrease a woman’s libido is crazy. It’s not what God intended, for sure.

      Ed Chapman

  2. There are so many old religious laws should not be implemented nowsday and not logic at all

    Such as; Burqa or hijab—polygamy—woman receive 1/2 inheritance of male—male and female is not allowed to shake hand etc

    • Ah Somi, how can I make you understand? 1/2 inheritance for one person is a lot more than full inheritance when I have to look after two wives and five children. Oh, how I wish I had only half inheritance! (OK, half of nothing or full of nothing does not make much difference, but the other aspect is what counts!!!).

      Allowed to shake hands?? It is up to the lady ! Once upon a time I attended a diplomatic party in Kabul, Afghanistan, at the Embassy of Pakistan. As usual it just so happened that the ladies were sitting separately. The uncle of the King of Afghanistan was also present. (The King-Maker in a way). After shaking all the hands of the men he went to the ladies’ side. All ladies shook the King’s Uncle hand, except my wife. The Pakistani Ambassador was embarrassed and said to my wife ‘he is old like your uncle’, but my wife still did not want and just said ‘excuse me please’ (in the local language Dari, a dialect of Persian). Ah well, we explain and explain and Somi (ok, you are not alone) will stick to their old views.

      • Rafiq—Q.3:103.—-, and remember Allâh’s Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islâmic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. The confitionnof Arab tribes were fight each other, never end.

        That is way Allah sent down His law according to the conflict condition such as:

        1. Women has to cover whole body / hijab
        2. Women cannot go out side by herself
        3. Women not allowed to shake hand with men
        4. Women not allowed to sing a song
        5. Women not allowed to sit side by side with man
        6. Women can be slave , and be sold
        7. Man can has many wives and slaves
        8. Female will get 1/2 inheritance of male
        9. Men should have long beard, turban etc
        10. Muslim not allowed to have dog
        11. Etc

        From my view Muslim do not need to follow such old Islamic laws

        All love ❤️

  3. The article against male circumcision is pure opinion supported by adverse outcomes in few cases. It ignores the science. The CDC has documented health benefits of circumcision for the males. It has concluded that the benefits outweigh the risks.
    Also male circumcision and female circumcision are two very different procedures with different intent. The author has falsely concluded them to be the same.
    And lastly he is the representative of the anti religious society, so he is in the same position as religious leaders or worse.
    I am a physician. A surgeon, who has performed this procedure many times. In the hands of a trained professional male circumcision is a very safe procedure which should be done soon after birth as it is easier on the child, and provides the full benefit.

  4. For a surgeon to leave such a claim open is sad. How about you speak about the KNOWN results of removing so many critical nerves from the penis (American E.D.?) What about the number of maimed and deceased children resulting from this traumatic practice? Give me ONE other non-critical procedure that would allow a parent to remove unnecessary organs from a newborn child.

    Frankly, as a father who has considered this because he IS and wanted to make an educated decision, I find you disturbing on a personal level and I doubt you’ve spent a day in medical school considering what rubbish you’re spreading. How anyone would do this to a child without ANY medical justification is beyond me and reduced chances of complications that aren’t critical, and may not even be relevant proves the lie or else we’d see all sorts of other organ removals happening for any number of more medically critical reasons.

    The real reasons it became so common are far more disturbing and it is only ignorance and mis-information that persisted the practice with new-born of parents who fell prey to the the following, then those who won’t discuss and address it directly.

    We can largely thank Dr. Kellogg (yes, the cereal company is named after him). He pushed this “logic” publicly and in his writings and it caught on just enough to spread in a world where people couldn’t be properly informed fast enough, and where hate/shame were primary tools.

    “A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed.”

  5. Btw, a quick google makes it quite clear that the CDC recognizes a small benefit in regards to HIV prevention. Is THAT how you’re “medically” justifying mutilating the penis of a perfectly healthy newborn male? There’s a special place for people who think like that.

    Furthermore, HIV is all be defeated at this point making the risks infinitely small from the perspective of any pre-pubescent male.

  6. Thank you, rainabba, for putting a case against circumcision. This practice started with the Jews wanting to create a special identity for themselves, and spread later to Muslims who adopted many other laws and practices from Jewish teachings. Most other barbaric practices in the world have now, thankfully, more or less disappeared, although it will probably be more difficult with circumcision because of its Jewish origins and the influence of Jews.

  7. At 30yo, my first child came along, was male, and if not for a good friend making a hard choice, I may well have repeated what was done to me. Instead I faced one of the most uncomfortable truths I’ve ever dealt with, learned what was done and why, then realized that our culture here in the US is too dug in with bad information and it needs to be corrected. I do think the practice is declining for a number of reasons, but not quickly enough based on what I’ve seen in my own circle of acquaintances.

    Every boy that is permanently disfigured this way is one more too many.

    I would point out that there are varying degrees, even in the more complete circumstances and the effects will vary accordingly. For anyone that really wants to understand, this goes a log way:

    Also worth pointing out:

    “One reason why parents circumcise their newborn sons is for health benefits, such as decreased risk of urinary tract infection during the first year of life and decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) later in life. Others may choose circumcision so that the child does not look different from his father or other boys. For some people, circumcision is a part of cultural or religious practices. Muslims and Jews, for example, have circumcised their male newborns for centuries.”

    Again, the HIV benefits are tenuous at best and don’t apply to a heterosexual male in the US AT ALL. As for the “decreased risk of urinary tract infection” 1) Even if you take the “12-fold” decrease in UTI incidents, that means nothing without understanding the following: ” It is estimated that 10 of 1000 (1%) uncircumcised male infants will develop a UTI during the first year of life compared with 1 of 1000 (0.1%) circumcised male infants.” 1% to .1% 2) The impact of a UTI in that 1% is more often than not, insignificant making the 1% even lower in reality. 3) To get that 10x reduction below 1% risk, you are doing a significant, elective surguery on a new-born child, and THEN putting them in diapers afterwards. Can you really argue that makes any sense at all?

    • Two points: one of my grand son was not circumcised at first. After infections the doctor ordered it. Second point: non of my daughter-in-laws complained (nor the sons).

  8. It seems to us that our prophet Muhammad had followed Taurat, why does most Islamic scholars reject and accuse that Bible is not Holy anymore.

    Does Ahmadiyah believe and follow some of Jesus’s teaching from Injil or Gospel? Or reject it?

    • As the Qur’an is the final law all previous books are ‘interesting’, but not relevant for the purpose of following their rules. All new rules are containted in the Qur’an. (to study bible and Torah is interesting but not for the purpose of following their rules). (My opinion)

      • Why did Prophet still follow the Taurah’ law , circumcise , whereas there is bo such law in Al Quran csn you show me?
        Second why did Prophet command us to believe Injil dan taurat, fot what purpose ? 5 times Allah commanded Prophet to believe Taurat and Godpel.

        Those who reject Godpel will be punished in this world and herafter—ckearly Allah command it in Surat 3:55-56.

        All love❤️

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