Egypt: The Egyptian Grand Mufti says female circumcision is forbidden by Islam
Both Tantawi and Coptic Pope Shenouda, the leader of Egypt's minority Christian community, have said that neither the Koran nor the Bible demand or mention female circumcision, which is usually performed on pre-pubescent girls.
The statement came after Budour Ahmed Shaker died on Thursday while undergoing the procedure in the southern province of Minya after she was given a large dose of anaesthetics, security sources said.
Egypt's doctors' syndicate has launched an investigation into the death, an Egyptian newspaper said. The girl's father has filed a lawsuit against the doctor for negligence and the doctor could face up to two years in jail, the security sources said.
The practice involves cutting off part or all of the clitoris and other female genitalia, sometimes by a doctor but also often by a relative or midwives. Side effects can include haemorrhage, shock and sexual dysfunction.
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.
A 2005 UNICEF report on the practice showed that 97 percent of Egyptian women between ages 15 and 49 had been circumcised. Egypt's campaign to end female cutting has included television programmes aimed at persuading parents to abandon the ancient practice.
24 June 2007
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