Monday, 12 July 2010

Genital mutilation of boys in Oxford for religious reasons

A research paper in the Journal of Public Health finds that 13 of 32 genital mutilations ('circumcisions') carried out for religious reasons on teenage boys by the Oxford Islamic community led to complications, including infections, urethral scarring and severe bleeding.

For these reasons, the NHS is urged to conduct mutilation under controlled circumstances, by well trained doctors in sterile conditions (rather than in the library of a faith school as some of these coerced and botched operations were performed).

Perhaps other health endangering practices of religion would benefit from controlled medical supervision. Female genital cutting, by which 8000 clitoridectomies, labial excisions or vaginal inibulations conducted throughout the world everyDAY (WHO report) should perhaps be conducted by doctors rather than by untrained mutilators who generally do not use sterile technique or anaesthetic. Stonings would no doubt be more humane if conducted under general anesthetic or at least victim sedation; medical checks on the child bride victims of public floggings (caution: link contains graphic violence) for running away from their husbands would certainly help safety of such events. As it's in the news, would not the Srebrenica massacre (perpetrated by Christians against Muslims for the VERY REASON that they were Muslims) have been far more palatable if 7000 lethal injections had been used instead of the far less clinical method of tearing up bodies with machine guns?

Benefits to the person (an 8 year old boy not having to be held down whilst his penis is mutilated under local anaesthetic which is a method of anaesthesia suitable only for Jewish newborn circumcision) whilst admittedly persuasive, are far outweighed by upholding the principle and practice of a faith-blind socialised health service that does not conspire to give respectibility to inherently unrespectable practices and ideas. That health services should assist in genital mutilation, or indeed assist in or mitigate the perpetration of any religious atrocity, is a notion as obscene as the acts themselves.

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