Dear Sir or Madam,
I was moved by your article on FGM, broadcast in the BBC news this morning. Thank you so much for raising the profile of this vital issue.
Today, at your website:
.you state that: ‘FGM is a harmful “cultural” practice, but it is not a religious one.’
This statement implies certain assumptions, and raises four questions:
- what is the difference between a cultural practice and a religious one? (Surely, religion is an aspect of culture?
- If a practice is religious and it harms a child (physically and/or psychologically), then does that make that practice condonable?
- Why has the NSPCC excluded male genital mutilation (MGM) from their current media campaign? (Surely just because something is prevalent, does not make it right?)
- Do the rights of the child depend on whether the child is male or female?
- A recent campaign by ‘Men do complain’, proclaimed ‘Children’s rights, not parents’ rites.’* Will the NSPCC move away from the latent support of myths which harm male children? Non-therapeutic FGM is as unacceptable as MGM.
Many are confident that in the future, important organisations such as the NSPCC will have the courage to widen their policies to all children.
He received the following reply.
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 9:42 PM]
Subject: Re: When ‘rite’ is wrong
NSPCC Reference: 751767
Thank you for your email. The NSPCC does not condone any abuse regardless of religious or cultural practices which is why we set up the Female Genital Mutilation Helpline. The NSPCC understands that many people see circumcision as in the best interests of their male children but we also recognise that circumcision is a practice capable of causing injury and suffering. We therefore urge parents and practicing communities to take all necessary steps to reduce any associated pain. We consider the practice should only be performed under anaesthetic in hygienic conditions by someone who is experienced and appropriately trained.
The NSPCC considers that if and when a child is circumcised, parents should be provided with basic information about the nature of the operation, the function of the foreskin and any possible side-effects of the procedure.
Rights of all children are important to the NSPCC.
Thank you for taking the time to contact the NSPCC with your concerns. I hope you have found contacting the Helpline useful.
The NSPCC values service feedback and if you have any comments the NSPCC would be happy to hear them. Please send any comments by return email.