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 Investigations Editor at Trinity News.
  • Aoife Ni Ici

    The First Cut Is The Deepest. Abhorrent. Barbaric. How does one woman-person ‘need’ it, and another not?. This barbarism has no place in any and every democratic, sane and safe society or community. Its time to out those who would seek to legitimise such barbarity, whatever the preferred guise…quasi medispeak/religiosity. Neither FGM nor MGM ‘circumcision’ have any legitimite health benefits. Please share widely. Thank you.

  • J@@@ P

    I quite agree, let’s start with his genitals. And then all immigrant males !

  • Edward von Roy

    There’s no such thing as ‘mild’ FGM. FGM is FGM is FGM.

    FGM = FGM Type I, II, III, IV (WHO | Classification of female genital mutilation).

    Islamic institutions such as the Indonesian Fatwa Council (MUI – Majelis Ulama Indonesia) do not call the “mild” forms of girls’ circumcision a mutilation (FGM). We see that differently. Even the least invasive form of girls’ circumcision has to be overcome, worldwide.

    Flogging or stoning an adulterer is illegal, marrying a nine year old bride is illegal. Khatna resp. Khitan al-inath (Islamic FGM) is illegal.

    Khatna / Khitan al-inath (FGM) is religion (Sharia and Fiqh; Islam), for the Shaffii madhhab of Sunni Islam and the Shia Bohra FGM is wajib (obligatory, a religious duty). You can believe in FGM – you can not perform FGM.

    My real concern is that Europe, and the USA will soon legalise some “mild” forms of the Classification of FGM. Every form of FGM should be banned everywhere.

    Edward von Roy (social worker)

  • Edward von Roy

    Different schools of Islamic jurisprudence have expressed different views on FGM. The Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence views it as makruma (noble but not required). The Hanbali school sees it as sunna (good practice). For the Hanafi school it is preferred, and for the Shafi’i school it is obligatory (wājib).

    The Prophet said to Umm Atiyya, or: to Umm Habiba:

    أشمِّي ولا تنهَكي
    ašimmī wa-lā tanhakī
    [Cut] slightly and do not overdo it

    Or Muhammad said:

    اختفضن ولا تنهكن
    iḫtafiḍna wa-lā tanhikna
    Cut [slightly] without exaggeration

  • keithoverton

    I’m going to volunteer….I’ve got a rusty hacksaw blade, if Ali Selim would like to just drop his pants

  • Clatterbuck

    Misogynistic pig.

  • Sharon Mac M

    He should be stripped of his position with immediate effect, and charged for advocating for this heinous practice. If he has children, child protection services should become involved.

  • Alchymist

    Logically his statement makes sense in the following syllogism

    Only perform FGM if it’s medically necessary.
    It’s never medically necessary.
    Therefore never perform it.

    I’m sure that’s not what he intended though so I do hope that he loses his job and any public funding he may have.


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