Trinity lecturer says female circumcision should be permitted

Ali Selim, a Trinity lecturer in Arabic, made the statements to the Medical Independent.

  Trinity lecturer Dr. Ali Selim stated that he is an advocate for female circumcision when speaking to the Medical Independent after a worldwide campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) was launched in Dublin.

Repeating his statements on regarding female circumcision on RTÉ’s Prime Time show last night, Selim, a lecturer in Arabic at Trinity, said female circumcision should be practised with a doctor’s approval. However, he also stated that he condemns FGM, although there is no distinction between the two terms in Irish law. Since 2012 it has been illegal to perform FGM in Ireland or to take a girl outside the country to have the procedure.

Speaking to the Medical Independent, Selim said: “Female circumcision is a matter that should be determined by a medical doctor. If the doctor thinks there is a need for it, then do it and if otherwise, then otherwise. If it is done, then it should be done carefully and safely and should be limited to the amount needed.”

Selim, a spokesperson for Clonskeagh Mosque, then stated similar comments on Prime Time, arguing: “I’m not an advocate of female genital mutilation but I am an advocate of female circumcision. We see female circumcision in the same way we see male circumcision. It might be needed for one person and not another, and it has to be done by a doctor and practised in a safe environment.”

In a Facebook post uploaded today, Selim said: “Female genital mutilation, a crime and a violation to women’s rights, is a barbaric practice that I condemn in the strongest terms”. Selim further states that “we should carry on raising awareness until we bring it to zero practice all over the world”. The statement ends saying “circumcision as a medical need” should not be banned.

In response to Salim’s comments, Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri, the chair of Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council tweeted: “FGM is a practice that is not required in Islam. In fact, it has no religious foundation. Some Muslims choose to follow weak narrations. We must discourage this practice and the remarks of the spokesman of ICCI are disappointed [sic].”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states the “procedure has no health benefits for girls and women”. Globally, the United Nations estimates that “at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM”. According to the 2016 Census, it is estimated that 5,790 women and girls in Ireland have been subjected to the practice.

Trinity News previously reported on Selim in 2015 in the wake of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine. Selim stated he would seek legal advice if any Irish publication published cartoons offensive to Muslims.

Ciaran Sunderland

Ciaran Sunderland is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Senior Sophister History student, and former Investigations Editor.