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Loon Victory: Muslim Doctor Ousted for FGM Thought Crime

Dr. Hatem al-Haj

Dr. Hatem al-Haj

by Ilisha

All across the Looniverse, hate mongers are congratulating themselves on a stunning victory.

They’ve managed to oust Dr. Hatem (Elhagaly) al-Haj from his role as a pediatrician at the prestigious, US-based Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for nothing more than a thought crime.  There is no evidence Dr. al-Haj has injured, neglected, or in any way harmed any of his patients, and furthermore, there are no formal complaints against him stemming from his practice.

The successful campaign was spearheaded, according to loons, by a lone Jihad Watcher, who garnered hundreds of signatures on a petition submitted to the Mayo Clinic alleging the doctor endorsed Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and therefore posed a potential danger to his patients. The “smoking gun” and centerpiece of  the campaign against Dr. al-Haj is a paper he wrote seven years ago as part of his doctoral thesis. The paper was translated from Arabic into English by a notorious translator already exposed as incompetent by Loonwatch here.

The translation appears to be deliberately manipulative, and falsely attributes a quote to Dr. al-Haj saying FGM  is “an honor for women.” It is unclear whether Dr. al-Haj resigned under pressure or was fired by the Mayo Clinic in the wake of the manufactured “controversy,” but it is nevertheless an astounding achievement for bigots devoted to marginalizing Muslims in the West and demonizing Islam.

Dr. al-Haj is the latest victim caught in the crosshairs of a relentless, coordinated campaign to portray Muslims as misogynist and barbaric by falsely attributing FGM to Islam. In fact, FGM does not have its origins in Islam, is not practiced exclusively by Muslims, and is virtually unheard of in many Muslim-majority countries.

What is FGM?

Female Genital Mutilation is a term used by most human rights groups to describe various degrees of genital cutting performed on girls and women. The United Nations categorizes four major types:

Type 1:

Excision of the prepuce, with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris.

Type 2:

Excision of the clitoris with partial or total excision of the labia minora.

Type 3:

Excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/narrowing of the vaginal opening (infibulation).

Type 4:

Others, such as pricking, piercing or incising, stretching, burning the clitoris, scraping of itssue surrounding the vaginal orifice, cutting of the vagina, introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina to cause bleeding or to tighten the opening.

How prevalent are these procedures?

Although bigots always cite the most extreme forms of FGM and the corresponding side effects, Types I and II are most common, accounting for about 85% of all FGM procedures. Type III is mostly confined to Somalia, northern Sudan and Djibouti, and the highest rates of FGM today are found in parts of Africa:

FGM Map

Why is FGM performed?

FGM is sometimes viewed as necessary to control a woman’s sexuality, and though evidence contradicts this notion, some believe FGM helps to to ensure virginity and fidelity by diminishing sexual desire. In some tribal communities, FGM is part of traditional initiation rituals for girls entering womanhood, and continuation of the practice is sometimes bolstered by myths, such as the notion an uncut clitoris will grow to the size of a penis.

In other cases FGM is incorrectly thought to enhance fertility and improve hygiene, and some perceive it as more aesthetically pleasing. Some practitioners also believe it is religiously sanctioned or mandated, and in some communities, it is a prerequisite to marriage.

Is FGM a Muslim problem?

FGM does not have its origins in Islam, but it does need to be discussed among Muslims for several reasons. The practice is widespread in some Muslim majority countries, especially in Africa, and in countries like Somalia and Egypt, large majorities of girls undergo some form of FGM.

There is no direct correlation between religion and FGM. However, Muslims in areas where the practice is common often conflate this cultural inheritance with religion, believing FGM is either mandated or at least recommended, in Islam.

What is the origin of FGM?

Despite the fact many hate sites refer to FGM as “Islamic,” its is an ancient practice that predates Islam by centuries. FGM is thought to have originated under the Pharoahs of ancient Egypt, which is why Type III procedures are sometimes referred to as “pharaonic circumcision.” Archeologists have found circumcised female mummies, and in the fifth century BCE, Herodotus reported the practice among the Phoenicians and Ethiopians, as well as Egyptians, which means FGM predates Christianity as well.

Various forms of female genital cutting have also been traced to parts of Africa, the Philippines, the Upper Amazon in South America, and to parts of Australia where aborigines performed FGM and in some areas, still do. Female genital cutting also occurred among the early Romans.

In Victorian times, clitoridectomies were performed in Western countries.  The first reported clitoridectomy in the West was carried out in Berlin in 1822 by Isaac Baker Brown, an English gynecologist who was the president of the Medical Society of London. He believed that “unnatural irritation” of the clitoris caused epilepsy, hysteria, and mania, and would remove it whenever he had the opportunity. His views sparked outrage and he was eventually expelled from the Obstetrical Society, though he certainly was not alone in believing removal of the clitoris was a legitimate treatment. As recently as the 1950s, clitoridectomies were sometimes performed in Western Europe and the United States to treat various “ailments,” including hysteria, epilepsy, mental disorders, masturbation, nymphomania, melancholia and lesbianism.

What’s being done to end the practice worldwide?

Fortunately, FGM has already been eradicated in many regions, and in 2003, the United Nations launched the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation as part of a campaign to end the practice worldwide. In recent years, a growing number of countries have passed laws banning FGM. However, laws alone are not enough to eradicate the practice, and may in some cases, merely drive FGM underground.

Firmly entrenched in some societies where it has been practiced for centuries, FGM is viewed as essential by some families, regardless of their religious affiliation. If physicians are banned by law from performing any form of FGM, families sometimes resort to an unlicensed practitioner who may use crude tools in an unsanitary environment, causing further pain, trauma, and potential complications. Stiff penalties also may deter families from seeking proper medical attention if complications arise, further endangering the lives of girls who undergo the procedure despite the ban.

This brings us back to Dr. Al-Haj, who discussed in his paper the “ritual nick” as a possible alternative to other forms of FGM, which in some cases may appease families convinced FGM is necessary without causing permanent harm to the girl or woman. This suggestion caused a firestorm of protest, yet it is noteworthy that the supposedly “radical” position espoused by Dr. al-Haj in his paper was endorsed in 2010 by the American Academy of Pediatrics as reported in the New York Times. Criticizing a federal law that prohibits all forms of female genital procedures, including the ritual nick, the group said:

It might be more effective if federal and state laws enabled pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a ritual nick as a possible compromise to avoid greater harm. ~ The American Academy of Pediatrics

No matter how adamant and eager activists may be to end the practice, social change is a process, and it takes time. The strategy for eliminating the practice should first and foremost take into account the health and well being of girls and women, and not the politics of bigotry.

The Other Side of the Story

Many of the hate sites crowing about their victory include a link to Dr. al-Haj’s website, despite the fact his thoughtful explanation undermines their case against him:

I have always condemned Female Genital Mutilation, or FGM. Moreover, I have unequivocally voiced both orally and in written form the condemnation of all harmful forms of Female Genital Cutting FGC, justifiably known as FGM. Furthermore, I have taught that nothing in Islamic Law and religious texts supports such a heinous crime. In fact, it is repugnant to Islamic principles and values to inflict such trauma and suffering on any female. The severest forms of this practice are akin to killing in Islamic Law.

The statements I have made, that are now being unfairly distorted against me, are those regarding a subtype of Female Genital Cutting FGC, a harmless procedure called the ritual nick. This subtype doesn’t involve any form of clitorectomy. It is merely an incision (or a minimal excision, as explained in the details below) of part of the clitoral hood, the counterpart to the foreskin in males, and does not remove any part of the clitoris. This opinion is scientifically irrefutable and shared by many American non-Muslim pediatricians. It is the position expressed by the Committee on Bioethics of the American Academy of Pediatrics. [Pediatrics Vol. 125 No. 5 May 1, 2010 pp. ‎‎1088 -1093‎.], which noted:

“This [the ritual nick] is no more of an alteration than ear piercing. A legitimate concern is that parents who are denied the cooperation of a physician will send their girls back to their home country for a much more severe and dangerous procedure or use the services of a non–medically trained person in North America.”…

The claim that I said, “Female genital mutilation is an honor” is so repugnant. The statement sounds to me like an intractable conflict. However, my opponents have used against me every other logical fallacy in their campaign, such as generalization, poisoning the well, straw man, etc. Therefore, it does not surprise me that they ascribed such statement to me.

Despite my acknowledgment of the harmlessness of the ritual nick, I have unwaveringly discouraged all people from having it done because of its illegality in the US. I have never advised, suggested or encouraged any of my patients or their families to undertake any type of female circumcision, including the ritual nick…

The smear campaigns against me are unfounded in that they are based on religious bias, ignorance and misconceptions of my real positions and actions on the issues at hand. These defamers have misquoted me, taken excerpted words out of context, distorted my position and plainly fabricated lies against me in order to vilify me as some type of evil, backward extremist physician. I am none of these things. Quite the contrary, I give medical care to my young female patients, as I would my own daughters…”

Read the Rest here: http://www.drhatemalhaj.com/

Whatever one thinks of the “lesser evil” of a ritual nick, it doesn’t seem as if mere discussion of the prospect should cost a doctor his job. As Dr. al-Haj has said, and even the loons admit, he has never performed any form of FGM, has never seen any such procedure performed, and has never actually recommended it to any patient. His paper merely provided an overview of Muslim opinion with respect to FGM.

Circumcision in Islam: A Wide Range of Opinions

Hate sites put an emphasis on any evidence they can harvest to suggest FGM is mandated by Sharia (Islamic Law). Fortunately, they are not able to present evidence from the Qur’an, nor reliable hadith, promoting the practice of FGM. They must resort to quoting dubious sources, ranging from uneducated villagers to imams whose credibility is highly questionable, and who are not recognized authorities in the Muslim community. In the absence of a comprehensive global survey, it is impossible to determine how widespread support for FGM is among Muslim scholars. However, it is clear there is a broad range of opinion regarding the practice.

Despite Pamela Geller’s constant reference to “clitoridectomies” as being “Islamic,” there is apparently no credible Muslim scholar who believes removal of the clitoris is mandated in Islam. Many prominent Muslim scholars have issued fatwas against FGM in all its forms. In 2006, leaders from around the world gathered in Egypt and ruled female circumcision un-Islamic, and the following year, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa issued a fatwa against the practice. Gomaa said FGM is not commanded in the Qur’an, nor the hadith, and while it may have been accepted in the past, studies showing dangers to health make it unacceptable today.

Gomaa also pointed out that there is no record of the Prophet Muhammad’s wives or daughters ever having undergone the procedure, and suggested it was an unwelcome innovation stemming from cultural tradition. The full fatwa can be read on his website here.

Gomaa received support from the Grand Sheikh of Egypt’s prestigious Al-Azhar University, Muhammad Sayyed Thanthawi. Thanthawi said female circumcision is prohibited and cannot be justified on religious grounds. Despite the loons consistent efforts to present inauthentic hadiths as evidence of support for FGM, Thanthawi also confirmed that FGM is justified neither by the Qur’an nor reliable hadith, and further stated that circumcision in Islam applies only to men.

While the circumcision of men is a majority opinion, it is further testament to diversity that some Muslim scholars believe all forms of circumcision are prohibited in Islam. They cite passages in the Qur’an (40:64, 64:3, 95:4, 4:119, and 6:38) as evidence that God created the human being in the desired state, without need for alteration, and argue that circumcision violates the central theme of compassion in Islam.

The Prophet Muhammad is said to have been born without a foreskin (aposthetic), and while some Muslims argue boys should be circumcised in order to emulate the Prophet, opponents point out it is possible to glean the opposite message: since the Prophet Muhammad obviously didn’t undergo circumcision, boys today can best follow his example by not being circumcised.

Don’t expect to see this wide range of opinion on the issue of circumcision on hate sites devoted to portraying Muslims as a monolith. Anyone sincerely devoted to ending the practice of FGM should be promoting statements by Grand Mufti Gomaa and like minded scholars to spread the good news FGM is not mandated in Islam. Instead, bigots masquerading as “human rights activists” use their considerable resources to spread the opposite message, putting their agenda ahead of the interests of the girls and women whose rights they pretend to represent.

The Fate of Dr. al-Haj

Emboldened by their ill-conceived victory, anti-Muslim bigots have waged a new campaign aimed at having the doctor’s license to practice medicine revoked as well. Because their baseless accusations can’t stand up to even rudimentary scrutiny, the new campaign should fail. Unfortunately, in the current climate, where irrationality and knee-jerk reactions often prevail, they may very well succeed in sacrificing Dr. al-Haj’s career and reputation on the alter of anti-Muslim bigotry.

It is shocking and disappointing that the Mayo Clinic would take action based on this devious and dishonest witch hunt. Dr. al-Haj is guilty of nothing more than being a Muslim and engaging in a “thought crime,” perpetrated years ago in a paper written as part of his doctoral thesis. If the prestigious Mayo Clinic is willing to cave into a few loud-mouthed bigots based on a campaign of lies and distortions, what’s next for Western Muslims?

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  • HGG

    “I do want to add that I’m somewhat surprised that you think LW would reinforce the notion Zionism is a cover for Antisemitism. If you look through the lengthy debate we had about Israel/Palestine, I think it may be apparent that some of my positions are an outrgowth of debates I’ve had over the years with Jews.”

    JSB will answer this him/herself but I’d like to give my POV. I do not think LW itself reinforces the notion for the most part, but I do believe some of the commenters do on occasion, especially the ‘tone’ (as much as it can be discerned in a written comment) when the word is used seems like an insult.

    But as you said, moderating isn’t easy sometimes. I’ve been a moderator a few times and it’s sort of a thankless job with no benefits. Users yell at you for doing too much and for not doing enough. Sometimes about the same action taken.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Ilisha says, “I thought we agreed that in both cases, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t bigotry. Are you saying you don’t agree on this point, or just that you think someone coming here would not?”

    The latter: though we agree on this point, I think that someone inclined toward Islamophobia would be more likely to have their views reinforced rather than changed by visiting LoonWatch.

    Ultimately, I think that it is hard for a site to appeal to all types of visitors: the same article can be viewed as too weak or conciliatory by some and as too strong or overbearing by others. LoonWatch of course gets to set its own tone for its articles and I respect that. But, in return, I hope that people understand when I say that this is not the site for everybody and that there are some people to whom I would not promote LoonWatch.

    I understand that you may be disappointed that I feel that the site is not right for one of your likely target audiences, people who are somewhat Islampophobic and thus potentially open to change. But, that is only my view and perhaps I am wrong. Still, I will act based on my views just as I expect LoonWatch writers to act on theirs, recognizing that there is good will between us even when we disagree.

  • Sarah Brown

    Just adding to what JSB has said about Loonwatch generally – I do find the casual use of ‘Zionist’ as a term of disapprobation a bit challenging, although I don’t object to pieces about particular problems with regard to eg settler violence. Even though I might find other areas of disagreement I do think Loonwatch does its job much better than any UK site I’m aware of – partly because your nearest analogues don’t allow comments. In general tone and atmosphere Loonwatch reminds me of (the late) Pickled Politics although that was Asian (and that only vaguely) not Muslim. Even where I don’t agree I find it thought provoking – I am not quite sure what to make of the topic of the post for example but, on reflection, I can see why it is very natural to want to focus on the problem with the bigoted attacker (Jihad Watch or whatever) rather than the potential problems with the object of the attack. Also – I like the way you present yourselves – the picture, the faux scary tag, and the description. It reminds me a bit of this!

    http://simplyjews.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Faisal Rathor

    @Steve,

    Does not matter, nails and hairs are living or not. I will not go into this discussion but are they not part of body?

    So If God didn’t want males to have a grown nails or hairs why did He let them grow?

    I will not go further into reasoning. Simply it is part of Divine Religions.

  • Just Stopping By

    @AJ says, “JSB, my Jewish brother from another mother, don’t be disheartened. Muslims are not a monolith just like Jews are not a monolith – we come with all sorts of views and opinions.”

    Oh dear. I am afraid that I may have been unclear in my prior comments. Let me start by saying that nothing on LoonWatch has worsened my view of Islam or of Muslims overall, though of course there will be a few commenters with whom I have disagreed.

    My general point is that advocacy sites may not be effective at appealing to all of their target audiences. My specific point, and one that does dishearten me to a degree, is that based on what I know of my friends who wander into the Islamophobic swamp, I think that were they to peruse LoonWatch, it would reinforce rather than change their views.

    As an example, if you are willing to think about many of the “What if they were Muslim?” articles, they force you to think about double standards in the media and public opinion. I personally have found some of these articles to be very thought-provoking; they have caused me to pay more attention to what I read. But if you are predisposed to thinking that Muslims are attacking “the West,” the articles in this series are nothing but attacks on other religious groups similar to what one sees on JihadWatch, but with the magic “What if they were Muslim?” phrase appended to the front to insulate the distributors from claims of bigotry.

    If we want to discuss biases, then by publishing various articles and tags on articles, LoonWatch has effectively endoresed the idea that attacks on Muslim countries represent “the Greater Islamophobia” and that attacks by Israelis on Palestinians are examples of Islamophobia (such as when articles about attacks on non-religious sites have the Islamophobia tag attached). That is a viewpoint. But, unless one wishes to be a hypocrite, such a viewpoint supports if not mandates a view that attacks on Israel are Judeophobic or represent the Greater Judeophobia. That is, the articles and tags elevate the view that various conflicts are based on religious hatred rather than political disputes, and consequently that complaints by the other side can be dismissed as religious bigotry rather than responses to conditions that can be addressed. Obviously, this is not the only interpretation, and it is probably not the one that various LoonWatch writers intend; but it is the one that I think certain people will find in those articles and one that I would not wish to encourage.

  • Steve

    @Faisal, hair and nails are not living tissue.

    If a god didn’t want males to have a foreskin why create males with a foreskin?

  • Reynardine

    Desert tribes have tended to trim or remove the penile foreskin because if there was not enough water for regular bathing, sand was used. I believe sand under one’s foreskin would be considered painful. Normally, a female would not suffer this kind of injury.

    Semites who were desert-dwellers tended to practice male circumcision for this reason. Those who dwelt near reliable water sources – Assyrians, Babylonians, and some of the other riparian nations- historically did not. At what point it became a religious requirement is hard to say.

    I am puzzled as to the assertion that “Incas in Mexico” were known to cut females. Either Incas did it in the Andes, or someone else did it in Mexico.

  • AJ

    JSB, my Jewish brother from another mother, don’t be disheartened. Muslims are not a monolith just like Jews are not a monolith – we come with all sorts of views and opinions.

  • Faisal Rathor

    Male circumcision IS mutilation or NOT?

    Cutting the nail is mutilation though one might argue that they grown again?

    Cutting one’s hair (anywhere) is mutilation though one might argue that they grow again?

    Who will define circumcision is mutilation or not not? Your definition might be different than mine!

    Who cares what they say: We have our own way and they have their own way.

    Circumcision is prescribed in all the divine scriptures whether it is Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.

    Again who cares, if you don’t, we Muslims do. Submit to Will of God.

    Again who cares …..!

  • HGG

    “I simply stopped coming to this site frequently, because of all the infighting in the comments that I don’t wish to be a part of.”

    This is a loss to the site, in my opinion.

  • Dawood

    @Ilisha: His article has clearly been sliced and diced by Translating Jihad – the typical modus operandi we have encountered before – where we find that what is missing is perhaps even more important than what is present. And this isn’t even including the translation mistakes or glosses which make things unclear in the text he did “translate”.

    It’s clear from the paper that the Dr records all the known pre-modern positions in the practice, from the Qur’an, hadith narrations and the major pre-modern juristic works. This Translating Jihad has put on their site, but ignored the remainder of the article, which is 55 pages in total, i.e. a serious piece of academic and medical research. There is about 6 pages of text regarding the previous rulings, hadith and so on only, out of the 55.

    Translating Jihad ignores, amongst other things, a section regarding the definition of what “female circumcision” means according to traditional Islamic discourse – i.e. the removing of the clitoral hood, or the hood and perhaps part of the clitoris, which is Type 1 you listed above. The Dr has a significant section giving a gradated list of types of circumcision (he gives 8, rather than the 5 above, according to increasing severity/injury), and the clear statement by the Dr that the circumcision mentioned in the Shari’a according to the ulama (i.e. the ones who think it recommended or obligatory) is only Types 1 and 2 of his gradation (Type 1 of the 5 above) and according to the Dr Type 1 – removal of the prepuce without any part of the clitoris – is the most authentic opinion. (See the Arabic edition, pp. 21-22). This is the “ritual nick”, as far as I’m aware.

    That being the case – even completely disregarding any modern medical factors, or cultural change etc. whatsoever, or the fact that his final section on the paper is titled: “أثر تطور المعارف الطبية على الفتوى بشأن الختان” [The Impact of Advancing Medical Knowledge on the Fatwa Regarding Circumcision] – it means that at most the doctor could personally believe Type 1 of the 5-point scale posted above is what is referred to religiously. This is entirely consistent with his position above regarding the “ritual nick”, against harmful FGM practices and with what the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated.

    His personal beliefs are his own, and unless he has been advocating this to people who would not have done worse than it, or performing this on children illegally or something like this – which is for the law to investigate and establish a case – it truly is a “thought crime” and entirely a witch hunt based, by all accounts, on a paper which is seeking to minimize the harm brought to young girls/women through the misunderstanding of this practice by Muslims.

  • Sabhanak Yarabi

    @BA: “I simply stopped coming to this site frequently, because of all the infighting…”

    Same wth me – but it’s okay, no problem. DrM and friends have it under control, they don’t need the help of the likes of us. They totally got it on their own, that’s why things are getting so much better for the Ummah. And besides, who’s going to argue with the esteemed medical doctor? Not an uneducated atheist, that’s for sure! Allah knows best, but loonwatch regulars are surely a close second.

  • Reynardine

    First of all, even a man who has undergone castration and penile amputation will never be required to pass a full-term infant through his scarred parts.

    Secondly, if infant circumcision of a male is mandated by religion, it must be performed by a skilled practitioner under sterile conditions.

    Thirdly, if it is not imperative under one’s beliefs, the baby should be watched for phimosis. When the child is old enough, he should be taught to retract the foreskin while bathing and clean under it, in the most decent, matter-of-fact way possible. It is the smegma beneath the foreskin that harbors HPV and the usually nonpathogenic spirochaetes that can vector HIV.

    Girls are usually quite fine with ordinary bathing. Rarely, the hood, usually open in a V towards the rear, covers and binds the glans clitoris, causing smegma to accumulate. This condition can be detecyed in infancy and corrected before the child is old enough to experience either shame or trauma.

    A child old enough to experience either, who must be subjected to any kind of intimate examination or procedure, should be gently and truthfully prepared in advance. Surprise and force will be experienced exactly like a rape by someone who should have been trustworthy. Even if not really remembered, that kind of betrayal and exposure can be deeply traumatic for life.

    Finally, STDs are going to spread until *men* learn responsibility, fidelity within a union and reasonable self-restraint outside of one.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Garibaldi says, “@JSB, I have to say I am a little disheartened that you wouldn’t recommend this site to your friends.”

    I understand your feelings, and I am sorry for any hurt my statement has caused. My position is certainly not because I do not appreciate the hard work put into this site nor is it because I do not strongly believe in the site’s stated goals.

    But I do not think that the site would be useful for everybody. As I said above, I do feel that I have learned a lot from the articles and comments on LoonWatch. For example, thanks to LoonWatch (and with a special credit to Danios), I have a better understanding of Muslim exegesis and Muslims’ views of Islam. But that is in part because I came here with a positive view of Islam and was willing to augment my more limited knowledge with the articles I read and by the views expressed by Muslim and pro-Muslim commenters about Islam.

    It also means that I was willing to compartmentalize and not let what I view as bias in some articles cause me to reject the site as a whole. And Ilisha does have a good point that sometimes perceived bias is just a different point of view. As I said above, I think that if some of my friends with Islamophobic tendencies were to peruse LoonWatch, it would reinforce their point of view that anti-Zionism is just a cover for anti-Semitism, since this appears to effectively be the natural outgrowth of LoonWatch’s “official” positions (recognizing that there is no actual official position here, but taking the published articles as such). I am very much opposed to this view, or bias if you like, and I would not wish to do anything to encourage it.

    Again, for me, LoonWatch provides very informative articles and comments, and has enriched and increased my appreciation for Islam and my understanding of the depth of hatred of the Islamophobic loons. I just don’t think the site would be effective for everybody and could in fact by counterproductive for some.

  • Garibaldi

    @JSB, I have to say I am a little disheartened that you wouldn’t recommend this site to your friends.

  • Believing Atheist

    @AJ,

    I don’t appreciate that comment. I don’t hide behind sockpuppets. Any LW admin can check my IP address to confirm this. I simply stopped coming to this site frequently, because of all the infighting in the comments that I don’t wish to be a part of.

    Don’t make assumptions devoid of facts AJ!

  • AJ

    I sense the resurrection of Believing Atheist….. Ilisha, does LW have a policy for sock puppets?

  • Sarah Brown

    @Ilisha – I think the difference between you and Linoleum Surfer is simply that he is addressing a mostly Muslim audience, and is trying to persuade his readers that this practice is unnecessary. I accept that you, like him, acknowledge the problem and demonstrate that the intersection between fgm and Islam is dubious/debated. I think the part of the post which I had in mind was this, when you say that Geller and co:

    “must resort to quoting dubious sources, ranging from uneducated villagers to imams whose credibility is highly questionable, and who are not recognized authorities in the Muslim community.”

    Haitham al Haddad is a popular preacher in the UK, I gather, and he seemed to endorse the practice in the clip I linked to.

    On the other hand – here is some anti fgm material from the Central London Mosque.

    http://www.iccservices.org.uk/news_and_events/updates/female_genital_mutilation.htm

  • Pingback: Loon Victory: Muslim Doctor Ousted for FGM Thought Crime | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper()

  • Steve

    @AJ, “People like Steve continuously push their atheist beliefs on us”

    Any evidence of this?

    “Steve finds everything related to Islam “distasteful” and pushes his/her views on us”

    I find mutilating the genitals of babies to be distasteful. That is my opinion, just as you have yours. I merely present my arguments – for which I am often abused on here with false allegations from some of the more unhinged contributors such as yourself.

    “I am not pushing my religion on you.”

    You are hardly objective about it.

  • Sarah Brown

    Thank you Sabhanak! I’m an atheist, totally opposed to FGM (not convinced by this nick stuff either, although I can see that bigots might well soup such a story up) and not terribly comfortable with male circumcision either – but, rather contradicting some of the assertions about atheists here, I tend to keep quiet when that is discussed because, like the issue of halal, I feel it is sometimes used as a stick to bash Muslims and Jews with. I know FGM perhaps is too, but that practice is so appalling that I definitely wouldn’t want to keep quiet about it!

    I suppose my main feeling about Loonwatch’s coverage of Islam is that it perhaps tends to be slightly Pollyannaish – obviously not completely ignoring, by any means, problems with the interpretation or practice of Islam, but maybe still trying to damp them down a bit. For example, although I think it is quite right to acknowledge and encourage the many Muslims who speak out against FGM some quite popular preachers seem to be in favour. Here’s an example.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRwNYW2eEa4

    Here’s a great article (I thought) by a Muslim man about FGM.

    http://thelinoleumsurfer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/save-clitoris.html

  • AJ

    Sabhanak, you twisted this around as if the religious people here are provoking you. People like Steve continuously push their atheist beliefs on us. I am not pushing my religion on you. I don’t care if you worship a deity or eat halal or get circumcised or go to a mosque or not. The day someone starts doing that, I will be on your side. Steve finds everything related to Islam “distasteful” and pushes his/her views on us. Go do your thing and let us do our thing. Don’t show us the light, please.

    I don’t know how the topic of FGM got twisted to why Muslims males should not be having circumcision. Well, they do and they will insh’Allah keep on having it as long as there is humanity and there is Islam. It carries only benefits for the male. And while I am on this topic, other Islamic doctrines of not having sex during menses, nursing a newborn for 2 years, not eating pig’s meat, etc. all have scientific benefits associated with it which makes you think that Islam is a very intelligent religion. Allah tells us things that are good for us. We are not told to stand on our heads and twist around for two hours or something like that. Allah u Akbar!

  • HGG

    “When you perceive bias, I hope you point it out so we can consider your perspective, keeping in mind it is often in the eye of the beholder.”

    I believe I’ve done so on a couple of occasions when I’ve objected to something on an article, but it’s rare. When I talked about things that makes me wonder why I come back, I meant mostly the comments section, as an article by the contributors have rarely caused that reaction in me.

    But I realize that the comments is something beyond your control. Yes, you weed out the most blatantly offensive ones, but that is, I believe, the limit of what you can do, so I can’t in good conscience hold it against you.

  • Nur Alia

    There is a point here that has not been mentioned that I think is the point of the article.

    FGM is not a CHOICE for the female even if they ‘support’ it because of ‘culture’, as in Egypt and most of North Africa.

    My belief is…if Allah did not intention the clitorial hood, or the forskin, it would not be a part of our anatomy. An infant male in a western country, or a Jewish infant cant make a choice, therefore male circumcision…no matter what justification given, is mutilation.

    Actually, the intention of the removal of the clitorial hood as a girl is to desensitize the clitorus to stimulation. Removal of the forskin from the penis does exactly the same thing.

    Genitial mutilation should not be a religious topic, it should be a topic in which we discuss the rights of the individual to make choices about his or her own body.

  • Just Stopping By

    @HGG says, “I keep coming back. Why? I don’t know. I think that there is some genuinely good work done here. And despite it all, it is still a much better place than most blogs.”

    I agree completely. Actually, there is a lot of genuinely good work done here! And, yes, it is much better than most blogs.

    “And I have most definitely seen the biases.” I doubt if anyone has seen all the biases anywhere. Perhaps the one that bothers me most what is presumably the implicit LoonWatch presumption that anti-Israel actions are necessarily anti-Semitic/Judeophobic. I wouldn’t want to give my friends support for that view.

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