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Introduction: Gender Equity in Abrahamic Circumcision: Why or Why Not?

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/02/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Global Discourse
Issue number1
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)3-7
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Taking Richard Shweder’s (2021) article ‘The prosecution of Dawoodi Bohra women: some reasonable doubts’ as a target piece for discussion, the aim of this issue is to better understand these limitations. In the article, Shweder proposes that some forms of FGC be legalized, arguing that the form of FGC practiced among Dawoodi Bohra Muslims is less invasive than typical circumcision of boys and that, among the Bohra, FGC is a religiously meaningful ritual. This proposal implies that girls should have the same rights to cultural and/or religious identity as circumcised boys. It is a controversial proposal insofar as it directly challenges the central tenet of global campaigns to end FGC, such as target 5.3 in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal: that girls can only be empowered by protecting them from being subjected to a fear-inducing and painful experience. This issue examines both directions within the equivalence argument: the plausibility of legalization of FGC, but also the possibility that boys require protection from forms of male genital cutting. This second possibility – of proposing an age limit or ban on boy circumcision – is also controversial, particularly at a time in which there is growing concern about anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. This may, in part, explain worldwide reluctance by otherwise interventionist policy makers to act upon the similarities of boy and girl circumcision.