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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Muslim Brotherhood sent convoy of doctors to mutilate girls"

From Bikya Masr:
A number of Egyptian human rights groups have submitted a communication to the Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud against the Muslim Brotherhood`s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) to investigate the complaints of people in the village of Abu Aziz in the Minya governorate, south of Cairo, over the existence of a large medical convoy organized by the party that wanders streets and does medical examination on people, including female circumcision, or female genital mutilation, in violation of Egyptian law, conventions and treaties signed by Egypt.

In Egypt’s legal code, Female Genital Mutilation is criminalized, as well as the inciting by doctors to convince families of the young girls of the need to agree to circumcise their daughters, “as a matter of preserving chastity.”

The communication demanded Mervat Tallawy, the head of the National Council for Women (NCW) and Major General Seraj EL Din El Rouby, the Governor of Minya, and Nasr El Sayed , Assistant Minister for primary health care, and preventive medicine, and family planning, to intervene to stop what it called “a farce propaganda for free circumcision, which was organized by one of the political parties, in Minya governorate to promote circumcision.”

The communication came after reports were circulated on news websites and social networking websites, including Facebook and Twitter about a convoy organized by the FJP to promote circumcision among girls in Minya.
It is unclear whether the story is true. The FJP denies it:
The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Minya Secretary Dr. Diaa El-Maghazy said, "This report is completely false. The newspaper has republished it, although the FJP and Minya province health officials did refute the claims when first published by other papers and certain websites, three weeks ago".

El-Maghazy affirmed that the medical convoy in question was absolutely innocent, pointing out that it was organized and run under the supervision of Ministry of Health officials, and included the local Health Office Manager, the Vice President of the city's board of trustees and a member of the local health unit.
Al Arabiya reports on the Egyptian media claims about the convoy.

Recently, an FJP member of Parliament voiced support for female genital mutilation so it is plausible that this medical convoy was doing things that are a bit unsavory; perhaps when asked, or perhaps volunteering. As the above story illustrates there seem to be many doctors in Egypt who recommend FGM for their patients.

In the Arab world where rumors spread quickly, it is hard to know the truth and even respected newspapers are susceptible to printing unsubstantiated facts.