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Author Topic: Female Circumcision  (Read 3178 times) Average Rating: 0
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Divinus
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« on: November 07, 2009, 11:57:54 AM »

Hi:

Seems like this is still a problem among Egyptian believers which is a very dangerous practice in females and not scriptural whatsoever. I have been asked by an investigator of the Orthodox faith if the Coptic Orthodox Church bans from holy communion or even excomunicates parents who have been found to circumsided their little girls. As I have no clue I  couldn't obviously answer to that question.

If you could answer that to me and direct me to doctrinal sources or statements I would appreciate.


Thanks



(Edited by Salpy to correct spelling in the title.)
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 08:01:23 PM by Salpy » Logged
Liz
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2009, 12:06:47 PM »

Just to say, some people use the term 'female genital mutilation' (FGM), which makes clear that there is really no comparison to be made between circumcision (of men), and this practice. Waris Dirie, who is an activist in this area, feels that the term circumcision is slightly offensive.
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Salpy
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 12:30:34 PM »

FGM, from what I understand, is an ancient pagan practice which still exists in some regions of Africa.  To the extent that it is found among Copts, I think it is among those in rural regions who are not well educated.  The Coptic Church opposes the practice and H.H. Pope Shenouda has done much to try to eradicate it from among his flock.

There was a thread about this previously:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14554.0.html

You may want to read it and see if it answers your questions.
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Divinus
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2009, 01:25:16 PM »

I read the thread but it does not say there what is the actual church procedures if found someone in the faith who have practiced or made their daughers practiced FGM. My understanding is that the church condemns it but I don't know if it does take action on its members as equally it does if they visit the holy land sites?

Can't find any official source on it so I would say so far that the Cotpic Church does not penalize its members for engaging in FGM but I might be wrong.
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Salpy
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2009, 01:45:25 PM »

I'll let our Coptic members answer that.

By the way, I'm glad you're back!  Have you been able to visit the church at King's Lynn?
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Divinus
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2009, 07:07:00 PM »

I'm going tomorrow for the 1st time  angel  So looking foward to it just a shame can't take Eucharist yet.
What are about for the Armenian Orthodox faith? Would a member be excomunicated or told not to participate on the Eucharist if guilt of FGM?
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 07:09:01 PM by Divinus » Logged
Salpy
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2009, 07:16:31 PM »

FGM was never a custom among the Armenians.  It's not practiced, and therefore is not an issue.

I am not in a position to speak about the Coptic Church, but I would imagine that Pope Shenouda would be reluctant to excommunicate people for engaging in what is for some regions a very ancient cultural practice.  People, especially the uneducated, are reluctant to give up traditional practices over night.  The result of just excommunicating those who practiced FGM would be the alienation of entire portions of rural people.  I think Pope Shenouda is trying to attack this problem with education and outreach into the remote villages where the practice may still be found.  It is better to change people's hearts and get them to willingly give up a practice than to threaten them and risk losing them.

Again, I would like the insight of some of our Coptic members.  I'm really not qualified to comment on this.

Let us know how you like the church.   Smiley
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Liz
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2009, 07:24:34 PM »

FGM was never a custom among the Armenians.  It's not practiced, and therefore is not an issue.

I am not in a position to speak about the Coptic Church, but I would imagine that Pope Shenouda would be reluctant to excommunicate people for engaging in what is for some regions a very ancient cultural practice.  People, especially the uneducated, are reluctant to give up traditional practices over night.  The result of just excommunicating those who practiced FGM would be the alienation of entire portions of rural people.  I think Pope Shenouda is trying to attack this problem with education and outreach into the remote villages where the practice may still be found.  It is better to change people's hearts and get them to willingly give up a practice than to threaten them and risk losing them.

Again, I would like the insight of some of our Coptic members.  I'm really not qualified to comment on this.

Let us know how you like the church.   Smiley


This is not a 'cultural practice'. It is mutilation. Many women die as a result of this torture. It is not on the same level as, say, insisting that women wear veils or that dowries be paid at marriage. The latter are examples of cultural practices that may be offensive to us, but which we must change through education. The former is the mutilation of human beings.

Incidentally, I know that FGM was practiced in American and Britain even in the last century, as a punishment for little girls who offended society's norms.
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Salpy
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 07:34:40 PM »

This is not a 'cultural practice'. It is mutilation.

It's both.  Mutilation and other horrible things can be cultural practices.  Think of foot binding and corsets.  Of course FGM is several steps lower than either of those, but somehow it has survived thousands of years and is still practiced in certain parts of the world.  No one is disputing its brutality.  It is a filthy pagan tradition, but it is a tradition that somehow is still practiced.  It is commendable that HH Pope Shenouda is putting forth the effort to change how people in the remote villages feel about it.  Excommunicating them overnight would just alienate them and perhaps turn them toward another religious tradition.  I don't think it would necessarily stop the practice.  I really don't know.  This really is something the Copts here need to answer.  I'm not qualified to discuss how their Church is dealing with it.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 07:43:40 PM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2009, 09:32:09 PM »


Just to say, some people use the term 'female genital mutilation' (FGM), which makes clear that there is really no comparison to be made between circumcision (of men), and this practice. Waris Dirie, who is an activist in this area, feels that the term circumcision is slightly offensive.

I would prefer to refer to both of them as mutilation...
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Salpy
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2009, 08:03:32 PM »


Let us know how you like the church.   Smiley


To make things easier, I split off Divinus' answer to this question and put it in his original thread about his interest in the British Orthodox Church:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24013.0.html#lastPost

Salpy
« Last Edit: November 08, 2009, 08:08:48 PM by Salpy » Logged

coptickev
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2009, 09:53:20 PM »

Hi:

Seems like this is still a problem among Egyptian believers which is a very dangerous practice in females and not scriptural whatsoever. I have been asked by an investigator of the Orthodox faith if the Coptic Orthodox Church bans from holy communion or even excommunicates parents who have been found to circumsided their little girls. As I have no clue I  couldn't obviously answer to that question.

If you could answer that to me and direct me to doctrinal sources or statements I would appreciate.


Thanks



(Edited by Salpy to correct spelling in the title.)

Divinus:

     While I do not live in Egypt, and don't personally have current information regarding the state of this practice, a few observations might shed some light:

      1) Public Excommunication, that is essentially the expulsion of a person from the body of the Church, is rarely done anywhere among the Orthodox except in cases of those who teach heresy and refuse to stop when corrected, or engage in schismatic acts. Roman Catholics have many laws, which if broken incur excommunication automatically, but even they rarely publicly excommunicate anyone.
      2) As has been stated, the Church forbids this practice among the faithful. Those who have been told to stop and insist on continuing are guilty of sin. As is the case of any serious sin, repentance and confession are required in order to receive Holy Communion.
      3) There is no doctrine involved here. It is a pastoral problem, caused by the extreme isolation of the people and the unfortunate influence of movements like Islam and African pagan cults. It is not to be fought with pronouncements and sanctions, but by the diligent labor of properly instructed Priests educating their people.

      4) While the practice is vile, and has attracted much attention among westerners who like to feel morally superior, it is certainly no worse than sins like murder, defrauding the poor, abortion, and other evils which are individual sins dealt with individually.

Hope this helps...
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ialmisry
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2009, 11:03:35 PM »


Just to say, some people use the term 'female genital mutilation' (FGM), which makes clear that there is really no comparison to be made between circumcision (of men), and this practice. Waris Dirie, who is an activist in this area, feels that the term circumcision is slightly offensive.

I would prefer to refer to both of them as mutilation...

...like ear piercing? Tattoos?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2009, 11:03:57 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2009, 11:12:07 PM »

Just to say, some people use the term 'female genital mutilation' (FGM), which makes clear that there is really no comparison to be made between circumcision (of men), and this practice. Waris Dirie, who is an activist in this area, feels that the term circumcision is slightly offensive.
I would prefer to refer to both of them as mutilation...
...like ear piercing? Tattoos?

Breast augmentation?


(Edited to replace a colloquialism with something more scientific sounding.  Smiley  Salpy)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2009, 11:57:28 PM by Salpy » Logged
Salpy
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2009, 11:22:11 PM »

Watch the language. 

Also, let's keep this on topic, and not trivialize the seriousness of it by comparing FGM to procedures which are not as violent, such as tattooing, ear piercing, or plastic surgery, however offensive those procedures may to some persons.

Thanks.   Smiley
« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 12:01:53 AM by Salpy » Logged

Salpy
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2009, 09:01:04 PM »

A tangent comparing male circumcision to FGM was split off and merged with another thread on the topic of male circumcision:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23440.msg380866.html#msg380866
« Last Edit: December 02, 2009, 09:13:28 PM by Salpy » Logged

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