TCDSU President calls for immediate dismissal of Trinity lecturer following female circumcision comments

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Kevin Keane has called for the dismissal of Trinity lecturer, Dr. Ali Selim, who had made comments that female circumcision should be permitted.

In a letter to Provost Patrick Prendergast, TCDSU President Kevin Keane said that “a person who would advocate, openly and without shame, for a universally condemned, dangerous and evil practice whose sole purpose is to torture and subjugate, has no place in Trinity’s community of learning”. Keane, on behalf of Trinity students, is calling for his “immediate dismissal from any and all posts in Trinity,”and “a public condemnation of his stated position”.

Keane continued by saying that Trinity students “will simply not accept inaction in this matter”. “By doing nothing, our University provides a platform and a degree of legitimacy to this man – we must act swiftly and decisively to strip him of that legitimacy,” Keane said. 

This follows a statement released by Trinity Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Tom Molloy,  who said that “Trinity College Dublin utterly condemns female genital mutilation in all circumstances. Both the university’s teaching body and students believe that the practice is always wrong”.

Molloy furthered this comment by saying that “Dr Selim is employed on an hourly basis at Trinity to teach Arabic language classes”. College has given no indication that Dr. Selim is to be removed from his teaching position.

Dr. Ali Selim said that he was an “advocate” of female circumcision on RTE’s Prime Time show on February 8, and said that female circumcision should be practiced with a doctors approval. Following these comments, Selim stated in a Facebook post that “female genital mutilation, a crime and a violation to women’s rights, is a barbaric practice that I condemn in the strongest terms,” and finished by saying that “circumcision as a medical need” should not be banned.

In an interview with Trinity News, Chair and Professor of Obstetrics at Trinity, and Obstetrician at Coombe Women’s and Infants University Hospital, Deirdre Murphy, condemned the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comments.

Prof. Murphy stated that “any Doctor who suggests female circumcision is medically indicated is deluding themselves,” and further commented that a “non medical person” who says the practise is “medically indicated” is “simply wrong”. She also said that the terms FGM and female circumcision are “synonymous”.

Seana Davis

Seana Davis is a fourth year Geology student and News Editor of Trinity News.