Court's circumcision ruling welcomed by secular medic

Court's circumcision ruling welcomed by secular medic April 22, 2016

Dr Antony Lempert , above, of the Secular Medical Forum, has welcomed a High Court judge’s ruling against a ‘controlling and violent’ Muslim who wanted his children circumcised.
After Mrs Justice Roberts said that the boys should be able to make the choice themselves, Lempert described the ruling as a small but:

Welcome step towards safeguarding children from forced genital cutting.

Religious requirements, he added:

Should not be allowed to override a person’s most fundamental right to grow up with an intact body and to make their own choices about permanent bodily modifications. It is a procedure that permanently removes healthy, erogenous and functional tissue from the most intimate part of a person’s body without that person’s consent and for no medical reason.
That it should take a parental disagreement in court for a child to be protected from forced genital cutting remains a serious concern from a child safeguarding perspective.

The judge said that the boys’ mother was “resolutely opposed” to having the children circumcised and ruled that:

There is no guarantee that these boys will wish to continue to observe the Muslim faith with the devotion demonstrated by their father, although that may very well be their choice.

She added:

They are still very young and there is no way of anticipating at this stage how the different influences in their respective parental homes will shape and guide their development over the coming years.

James Chegwidden, who acted as junior counsel for the mother in the case, said that while he could not comment on the specifics of the case, the ruling was:

An encouraging step towards the legal protection every child deserves.

He said that the decision was:

A reminder that, together with the freedom to practice a religion or philosophy for oneself, comes the necessary obligation not to impose that religion or philosophy on others.

But he warned that the case revealed:

Just how limited our current legal protection of our children is. Bodily autonomy is a right of every child – it cannot be reduced or ignored simply because both its parents happen to be religious. For a right so fundamental as bodily autonomy for a child to depend totally on the whim of an adult is simply unacceptable.
The court has still yet to classify infant circumcision as ‘significant harm’, despite the significant evidence that male genital cutting is at least as invasive as some forms of FGM.

The father, an Algerian-born Muslim who has lived in England for fifteen years, is now separated from the boys’ mother, whom he had met ten years ago and subsequently lived with. He entered the UK using false travel documents but was subsequently given a British passport.
The couple separated after the mother, from Devon, and the two boys had to flee their home when he violently attacked her in 2012. He was described as:

An increasingly controlling and violent individual who sought to impose restrictions on how she lived her life.

Justice Roberts said that the father was a “devout Muslim” committed to ensuring that as part of his son’s “dual heritage” they “grow up as Muslims observing all the tenets and practices” of Islam.
The children are currently aged six and four, and the judge said that she had reached a “clear conclusion” about the “irreversible procedure” and that the children should have the right to choose for themselves.

I am simply deferring that decision to the point where each of the boys themselves will make their individual choices once they have the maturity and insight to appreciate the consequences and longer-term effects of the decisions which they reach.
There are risks, albeit small, associated with the surgery, regardless of the expertise with which the operation is performed.
There must be clear benefits which outweigh these risks which point towards circumcision at this point in time being in their best interests before I can sanction it as an appropriate course at this stage of their young lives.

The judge’s warning about the risks of circumcision came as a medical tribunal heard the case of Dr Muhammad Chaudhary, above, who is accused of bungling a circumcision on a two month old baby. He then allegedly tried to bribe the child’s family into dropping a claim against him.
In an attempt to stop action being taken against him, he reportedly told the Muslim family that:

Litigation in Muslim culture is not usually a route to adopt especially in ritual matters.

Chaudhary failed to repair the damage he had caused during four further surgeries. After he failed to fix the damage he had caused in the initial operation, he advised the family to:

Treat him [their son] like the Quran and be gentle.

The child was finally referred to a specialist surgeon and had to endure three additional operations in a hospital.
Lempert said these cases occurred with:

Nauseating regularity. There are practically no restrictions on who can perform forced genital cutting on young (male) children in the UK. The procedure is almost wholly unregulated in the UK. The reality is that we simply don’t know the extent of harm caused to young children by ritual circumcision. We do know that many such children turn up in A&E and some need treatment in paediatric Intensive Care Units as a direct result of non-therapeutic circumcision.
Dr Chaudhary is being investigated because he is a doctor who is alleged to have behaved dishonestly. Ironically, should Dr Chaudhary be removed from the medical register, he would no longer be required to satisfy even the limited requirements of the GMC in this matter and would be free to continue cutting young boys’ genitals.

Hat tip: Peter Sykes

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  • L.Long

    There is only one reason for cutting the end of the dick, religious capture of the person thru the symbol.
    Want to see how great your religion is????
    Teach the boys & girls all about it, and at 18 they have to have their genitals cut to join the religion!!! Watch as the numbers drop like a rock!!!!

  • Angela_K

    These religious types claim their god created man and woman, so are they implying their god made a mistake needing circumcision? I don’t suppose the barbarians that practice this savagery have thought about that.

  • “He entered the UK using false travel documents but was subsequently given a British passport.”
    Goodbye, England. The nation that gave the world the Magna Carta has broken its own spine in bending over backwards to avoid being called ‘racist.’
    What might have been the nation that led the furtherance of secular law and secular culture is not first to fall in line with whatever superstition shows its teeth.

  • John the Drunkard

    ‘…as part of his son’s “dual heritage” they “grow up as Muslims observing all the tenets and practices” of Islam.’
    DUAL HERITAGE? For Muslims this means complete grovelling obedience from the entire world.

  • Vanity Unfair

    The case is at:
    The matter of circumcision only arose because the parents had differing opinions. Had they agreed, the court would not have intervened on this specific. One of the issues to be resolved is: at para 3
    (iii) whether it is in the children’s best interests to allow them to be circumcised in accordance with the father’s Muslim practice and religious beliefs in circumstances where the mother opposes that course until such time as the children have reached an age where they are competent to give consent to such a procedure.
    The father was already married when he purported to marry the mother and, at para 12, he carried out a series of criminal acts. He is described as a coercive controller to rival Rob Titchener at 9,13,24 and 91.
    The case is really about the father taking the children out of the jurisdiction and abducting them to Algeria, a non-Hague Convention country. His intentions, at 80, might be given away:
    He was asked on behalf of the Guardian whether he thought there might be an impact on his emotional bond with the children were his application for their circumcision to be rejected until they were old enough to make their own decision. This was his reply:
    “That is a very difficult question. All I can say is that I am 99% sure that these children will be circumcised during their childhood. I am not saying I am going to go against what the court orders. But I will do anything possible to ensure that they are circumcised.”

    Roberts, J quotes, at 51-52, Sir James Munby, President, in Re B and G (Children)(No 2) [2015] EWFC 3, [2015] 1 FLR 905.
    [62] Now there is a very simple but important point to all this. There is nothing in the case law to suggest that male circumcision is, of itself, such as to justify care proceedings…. On the contrary, judges in the Family Division have on occasions made orders providing for non-therapeutic circumcision…. As against that, and as Mr Hayes helpfully points out, there are voices in the Academy who take a different view….
    Whilst accepting that these were ‘deep waters’ into which he hesitated to enter, the President nevertheless justified the distinction which the law made between the two in para 72 of his judgment in this way:
    “Whereas it can never be reasonable parenting to inflict any form of FGM on a child, the position is quite different with male circumcision. Society and the law, including family law, are prepared to tolerate non-therapeutic male circumcision performed for religious or even for purely cultural or conventional reasons, while no longer being willing to tolerate FGM in any of its forms. There are, after all, at least two important distinctions between the two. FGM has no basis in any religion; male circumcision is often performed for religious reasons. FGM has no medical justification and confers no health benefits; male circumcision is seen by some (although opinions are divided) as providing hygienic or prophylactic benefits. Be that as it may, ‘reasonable’ parenting is treated as permitting male circumcision.”
    Religion triumphs again.
    This is a High Court judgment, an appeal to the Court of Appeal is possible and to the Supreme Court is not unlikely. What is unlikely is that the court would use its power of inherent jurisdiction to declare infant circumcision an assault and a battery at Common Law or to decide that it is a contravention of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 or Sexual Offences Act 2003. The practice today is to leave such matters to Parliament and Re B and G was only two years ago.

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  • Laura Roberts

    “Bodily autonomy is a right of every child” It would be nice if courts around the world extended this same consideration to women.

  • Michael Glass

    Laura, in this case girls are protected against forced genital cutting while males are not.
    This is shaping up as a clear division between the increasing belief in bodily autonomy and the religious beliefs that boys must be circumcised as part of the Jewish and Muslim faiths.
    In the mean time I believe that the following changes in the law are warranted:
    1 1 Forced circumcision, such as what happened to Irwin Brookdale in Queensland should not just be treated as unlawful wounding but as a sexual assault. Those who commit such crimes should be branded as sex offenders.
    2 People who circumcise must have proper medical qualifications. This should apply to both medical and ritual circumcisions. If someone circumcises another without suitable medical qualifications, he or she must be prosecuted.
    3 To ensure that bad outcomes are minimised, everyone to be circumcised must have been examined by a physician who must certify in writing that the person is not suffering from any illness or condition (e.g. haemophilia, penile anomalies) that make the procedure inadvisable.
    4 To ensure that any bad outcomes are detected early, everyone who is circumcised must be examined by an independent physician, who is trained to detect such problems as bleeding, infection and the removal of too much skin and also to detect those who do a bad job, so that they will be stopped before they damage anyone else.
    5 If a circumciser botches the procedure he or she must not be allowed to do any more circumcisions until he or she has been retrained in this procedure.. If a circumciser botches another circumcision he or she must be banned from doing circumcisions for the rest of his or her life.
    6 Dangerous traditional customs, like bush circumcision, and oral suction of the circumcision wound should be firmly discouraged and, if practicable, banned.
    Putting rules like this in place would help to ensure that abuses surrounding circumcision are minimised and unskilled and incompetent operators are weeded out fast. It’s not an answer to the ethical problems surrounding circumcision, but it should help to reduce the really bad outcomes.

  • John

    Apparently, Moses – one of the “fathers” of Judaism – died uncircumcised. Does this mean he will never make it into “heaven”? A trivial point but so too is the alleged existence of Moses, for whom not one single shred of contemporaneous historical evidence exists.
    Like Angela, it strikes me that this practice seems to negate the idea that what “god” had created was “very good” – including mankind made in god’s own image – Genesis 31.
    Why would any true religious believer want to interfere with something ‘very good’ created by their “god”?
    The answer, presumably, is that male cutting confers the status of a so-called “chosen” people on those who are subjected to such abusive “treatment”.
    While I perceive some sort of crazy logic to jews wanting to force such “treatment” on their children, it is notable that the early christians were highly divided on this question and that christians were “treated” differently according to whether they had been circumcised (making them jewish christians) or not (making them non-jewish christians). All highly ludicrous, of course.
    What is not clear to me is the religious basis for muslim circumcision. Does anyone know what it is?
    There is historical evidence to indicate that the Ancient Egyptians carried out such practices long before the claimed times of Moses, Abraham, Jesus or Mohamed.

  • Cali Ron

    Is god circumcised? Enough said!