Egypt: Mother incriminated in a case of FGM

Date posted: November 12, 2008


On May 23, in a post titled The Victimization of Egyptian Women and Children, I quoted Fantasia – a girl who dreams of a better future for Egyptian women – who wrote about the new laws that were being discussed to protect children in Egypt. The first of which was

Prohibiting the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and considering it a criminal act which deserves to be punished by law.

The Muslim Brotherhood objected saying [Ar]:

FGM should be left as a matter of choice. If parents wish to preserve the “chastity” of their daughters through this procedure, then it is their way of protecting her and deciding what is good for her!

In the summer of 2008, the People's Assembly passed a law criminalizing female genital mutilation (FGM) and stipulating a fine of LE 1,000 to LE 5,000 and a prison sentence ranging from three month to two years for anyone caught performing FGM. The law did not include parents liability.

On November 7, Al Masry Al Youm Newspaper published an article (AR) about a 14 year old girl who was admitted into a hospital suffering of severe bleeding after an FGM procedure that went bad. Due to the above mentioned law, the hospital reported the case of the general attorney.

On Facebook, a group titled STOP FGM (AR) posted the incident on their discussion board and wondered

Who are we supposed to blame? The society with its false ideas about religion? The government for failing to implement the law? The doctors for ignoring their ethical responsibilities? Or should we blame ourselves – the enlightened minority – for failing to properly educate people?

On November 10, in the aftermath of the DA's decision (AR) to prosecute the mother as well the doctor for the first time in Egypt, the group creator sent out a message to the group members saying

This decision calls for optimism. When Fayza Ahmed Hussein – the mother who approved the circumcision – and Ramadan Abdel Aziz – the doctor who performed the procedure – are tried for, and convicted of, involuntary manslaughter of the 14 year old Reda Ashry Mohamed many mothers will realize that they will be legally incriminated should they attempt to have their daughters circumcised.

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