An Egyptian man has been charged with illegally circumcising a young girl on Thursday, making him the first person to face the law since Cairo criminalized the controversial practice of female genital mutilation, or FGM.
Ahmed Gad al-Karim, 69, was charged with inflicting injury on an 11-year-old girl after a local hospital notified the police when the young girl was brought in suffering from heavy bleeding following a circumcision.
The Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya, 600 kilometers south of Cairo, was told that the girl’s mother gave Karim 150 Egyptian Pounds ($ 27) to circumcise her daughter,who remains in critical condition.
Karim’s arrest is the first since Egypt passed law number 126 inÂ 2008, which criminalizes FGM due to the physical and psychological damages it inflicts on the victims.
In 2008, the law was met with objections by the Muslim Brotherhood and independent MPs, who argued that female circumcision is part of the Shariah law as it protects a woman’s chastity.
But Dar al-Iftaa, the government institution in charge of issuing religious edicts for contemporary issues, ruled that circumcision is not part of Islam and is a cultural practice.
The good news is that there was an arrest.
The bad news is that it appears Egypt has no interest in enforcing the law, as the only reason there was an arrest in this case – a year after the law passed – is because the poor girl was almost killed.