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Islamist Parliamentarian demands abolition of Egypt´s Ban on FGM

29 Mar

The long-standing representative of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Azza El Garf considers female genital mutilation as “beautification plastic surgery” and emphasizes women’s rights at the same time.

CAIRO – It is “beautification plastic surgery” and the “woman´s choice” to undergo this practice, says Azza El Garf. With these words, the prominent representative of the Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt offers a profile in political contradiction. The reason: She is talking about female genital mutilation, a cruel practice that was banned in Egypt in 2008.


As reported on its website yesterday, the politician with close ties to the conservative Muslim Brotherhood, uses the freedom of decision-making as an argument for FGM. “If she needs it, she can go to a doctor”, stresses El Garf.

On the one hand El Garf shares her party´s family-first view of a woman´s place, on the other she emphasizes her pioneering role in the minority of women serving in the country´s post-revolution parliament. “People here think women can be a doctor, go to university, be a teacher or an engineer”, she explains, “but people still think women are no good politics. We want to change this view.” Only one percent of the Egyptian Parliament members are women.

But also in issues such as family and divorce Azza El Garf promotes her conservative attitude. She complains that divorce had become too easy in Egypt and is even possible without the permission from husbands. Hoda Badran, chairwoman of the Egyptian Feminist Union, fears: “The comment is likely to reinforce expectations that Islamists will seek to roll back women´s rights.”