EGYPT: Girl dies undergoing FGM in Egypt

An eleven year old girl died on Thursday in Egypt while undergoing female genital cutting in a private clinic. This happened in spite of the procedure being banned in Egypt.

If anything good can be said to have come of it, it is that the leaders of both the Islamic and the Coptic Christian groups in Egypt have made statements to say that neither the Koran nor the Bible mention female circumcision.

The full report from Reuters also states "The practice is performed on both Muslim and Christian girls in Egypt and Sudan, but is extremely rare in most of the rest of the Arab world. It is also common in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia."

On 2 June 2007 Mustafa Afifi, in The Lancet, says "Research from Egypt has shown that highly empowered women were eight times less likely to intend female genital mutilation (FGM) for their daughters than those less empowered" and that while there is "strong evidence of the link between the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG-1) of poverty reduction and MDG-3 of women's empowerment, it is not enough."

He also says that talks in churches and mosques would be more likely to have a positive effect on women's attitudes than mass media campaigns (this includes television programmes aimed at persuading parents not to continue the practice), and that passing a law forbidding the practice will not change entrenched values, so "the battle cry should start from the community".

Although this is a very powerful means of communication, no one line of attack is likely to be heard by everyone who has any bearing on the matter, so all of them must be used. Different things influence different people. As Che Guevara said "let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms".


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DATE: 26/06/2007

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