It is possible to carry out FGM among infants: the last paragraph of this WHO webpage notes that it is indeed possible to circumcise at less than two weeks old and is common in some locales.
We're not interested in theoretical possibilities, we are interested in facts and reality. The same page you link to declares that "in Egypt, 90% of girls who had undergone female genital mutilation were between five and 14 years of age when subjected to the procedure." Gruenbaum (in The Female Circumcision Controversy
) suggests that the age range differs across different cultural contexts. So no, you can't take the observation made in the above-referenced document regarding practice in Yemen and apply it to Egypt. It doesn't work like that. Gruenbaum notes that in Egypt female circumcision is most commonly performed amongst females in the 4-8 years age range. She notes Anne Jennings' report that some girls in southern Egypt underwent the procedure at age one or two. Let's see what we know about Coptic Orthodox Christian policy regarding baptism: 1) circumcision cannot be performed after baptism, and 2) females are to be baptised at 80 days from their birth. You can work out the math concerning the plausibility of the suggestion that Coptic Christian priests mandate circumcision before baptism, in light of the statistics presented in your own sources.
If you're still not happy, you need not be distressed because I already assumed the truth of the suggestion for argument's sake and argued how it still reveals nothing about female circumcision being a religiously motivated practice amongst Coptic Orthodox Christians.
I have posted from the US State Department, referenced WHO statistics, referenced anthropological works that all agree that FGM occurs among Orthodox Christians.
Nektarios, although it seems difficult for you, I would really like you to please try and focus with me here; that is assuming that such comments are the result of a lack of concentration rather than some foolish attempt to squirm your way out of the mess you’re in.
The proposition originally in contention was that female circumcision is popular
amongst Coptic Orthodox Christians
on account of religious piety
. You implicitly modified that claim (significantly) two posts ago, so the proposition now in contention is that female circumcision is popular amongst rural
Coptic Orthodox Christians on account of religious piety. Do you need me to explain how vastly such propositions differ from the proposition that female circumcision "occurs amongst Orthodox Christians"? Please stay focused: the onus is on you to prove that female circumcision is popular
amongst (rural) Coptic Orthodox Christians
on account of religious piety
. I have already rigorously argued (see reply #41) as to why the document from the US State Department and the statistics presented therein do not support the proposition in contention (and those arguments equally apply to your modified proposition). Either address those arguments and explain why and how they are faulty or quit referring to the document from the US State Department.
The one book I referenced about the practice in general deals with the idea of popular piety, but my guess is that it won't be enough for you.
And my guess is that it wouldn’t be enough for anyone with at least half a brain. The one segment of this book pertinent to our analysis of the ludicrous claim you’ve made is the section in Chapter 2, entitled: “Circumcision in the Monotheistic Religious Traditions” (pp. 60-66). In this section we find a passing reference (and the only reference in this entire 242 page book at that) to Coptic Christians: “[A] young Sudanese woman from a Coptic Christian family told me that her older sisters had been circumcised and that it was common among the Coptic Christians.”
A few things to note:
1) We are given no objective statistical information about the extent that female circumcision is practiced amongst Coptic Christians; as I said, this is the only reference whatsoever to Coptic Christian practice of female circumcision and as we can see it is but an anecdotal account of one woman making a subjective inference based on her own personal experience. I have given anecdotal accounts of the experience of a) members of my own family, including my father who worked as a general practitioner in one the highest Coptic-populated areas in Cairo, and b) a priest who has had extensive experience in Egypt, all of which counter and undermine this particular woman’s mistaken induction.
2) Gruenbaum (the author) does not elaborate in the slightest on whether or not religious piety was the motivation of the instances of female circumcision familiar to this particular woman. Yet, she spends the rest of this segment—pages 61-66—discussing how religious piety is part of the reason for why Jews and Muslims practice female circumcision.
Every other instance, throughout the entire book, relevant to the relationship between the practice of circumcision in Egypt and religious piety, is discussed within the context of the Islamic faith (cf. p. 81).
Every other instance, throughout the entire book, relevant to female circumcision amongst Egyptians in general (and such general discussions do not allow us to reliably infer anything about "Coptic Orthodox Christians"), concerns the non-religious motivations of female circumcision:
On p. 156, we are told that ‘[t]here is evidence from studies in Egypt that female circumcision is sometimes viewed as a precursor to and celebration of womanhood and sexual activity…’
On pp. 67-8, the idea of female circumcision being practiced amongst Egyptians as part of the socio-cultural need to maintain gender definition is discussed.
How the above information in any way supports the proposition that female circumcision is an expression of popular piety amongst (rural) Coptic Christians is truly beyond me.
But, for me the agreement of most of the major NGOs that work with FGM, anthropologists who study it etc. is enough.
Nektarios, sorry to break it to you, but NO ONE AGREES WITH YOU. You are drawing an inference which these studies do NOT SUPPORT. Gruenbaum did not state, or even hint in the SLIGHTEST, that female circumcision is an expression of popular piety amongst (rural) Coptic Christians, and nothing she has reported supports such a notion. Give it up.