Opposition to Female Circumcision Grows in Egypt
Friday, September 21, 2007 9:56 AM

After a young girl died recently during her circumcision, the Egyptian government shut down the health clinic where the procedure took place. The Egyptian Health Ministry has had a ban on female circumcision since 1996; however, the ban has rarely been enforced. The closure of the health clinic earlier this year--along with numerous high-ranking officials speaking out against the practice--has brought the issue of female circumcision into public debate and created an unlikely coalition amongst activists, religious leaders, heath workers, and government officials. 

According to this New York Times article, the movement to stop female circumcision has grown into one of the largest social movements in Egypt. The growth in the movement has been attributed to activists' own awareness of new tactics and strategies, as well as the increased portrayal of sexuality in the media. One of the leaders of the movement, Marie Assad, says the shift took place once activists quit merely saying the traditional practice was wrong, but sought out Islamic scholars, health workers, and high-ranking political leaders to help dispel myths about the cultural practice.

Compiled from: "Voices Rise in Egypt to Shield Girls from an Old Tradition," The New York Times, 20 September 2007.