Egypt takes decisive stance against female genital mutilation

Lancet. 1998 jan;351(9096):120

Egypt takes decisive stance against female genital mutilation

Chelala C


The upholding of a ban on female genital mutilation by Egypt’s highest court on Dec 28 is one of the most important steps against this practice taken so far in that country. The ruling by the supreme administrative court comes after many years of acrimonious debate between government officials and Islamic conservatives.

Female mutilation is not universally accepted by all Islamic scholars, many of whom think that it is not justified under Islamic doctrine. They note that female genital mutilation also occurs widely within Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority and probably dates from the time of the pharaohs, long before the advent of Islam. Supporters of the practice insist, however, that female genital mutilation is a cultural and religious issue, not a matter to be decided by the government or the courts. The recent decision, which cannot be appealed, overrides an earlier one by a lower court, which challenged a ban on the practice imposed by the Ministry of Health in 1996….

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