In June 2013 the egyptian 13-year-old girl, Soheir al Bata’a (we reported) died while undergoing female genital mutilation. Dr. Raslan Fadl, the doctor who performed the mutilation, as well as Soheir’s father are standing trial. This is the first trial, since the practice was banned in 2008.
According to Reda el-Danbouki of the Women Centre for Guidance and Legal Awareness, an NGO based in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, close to Soheir’s home town of Diyarb Buqtaris, Dr. Fadl approached Soheir’s father, allegedly offering 60 000 Egyptian pounds (US$ 8 000), to avoid an FGM trial. “This is possible, because the law allows for the doctor and the family of the victim to find an agreement for “wrongful death”, avoiding an incrimination for genital mutilation” – she says. The law is not really strict. Doctors keep doing it, even if the government threats with consequences. According to Danbouki, Dr. Fadl keeps performing this awful practice, despite being under trial. In 2007 the FGM related death of two girls caused an intense debate, which led to the prohibition of female genital mutilation in 2008. Even though the younger generation are increasingly against this practice, there is very high pressure from the older generations. Even Soheir’s grandmother says that if she could go back in time and bring Soheir back to life, she would still have to be cut. “Here every woman is” – her grandmother claims. The operation is very cheap. $1-$15 Dollars is the regular prize asked by Doctors, because there is a high demand. The end of the school year and right before Ramadan, there are long queues of parents with their daughters waiting for the FGM-sugery.
FGM is highly prevalent in Egyptians. The last available data, from Demographic Health Survey show that 91% of girls and women in Egypt have been mutilated. Mostly rural villages and low income and less-educated communities perform this cruel practice. Often the doctors performing the surgery are also preachers at the local mosque, despite lacking references in the Quran.
It is important for the Egyptian government to finally take serious action. The Pressure of the government must be higher, than the pressure of older generations. Otherwise FGM can never end in Egypt!