Egyptian Courts Take on FGM, But Can They Uproot the Practice Altogether?


I wrote this piece for the Harvard Journal of Middle East Politics and policy, hope you enjoy it.


(Victim of FGM, 13-year-old Egyptian girl Suhair al-Bataa- Photo via AP)

In a landmark verdict handed down last Monday, an Egyptian doctor was convicted of the manslaughter of 13-year-old Suhair al-Bataa, who died during an illegal female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure. Dr. Raslan Fadl was initially acquitted in November 2014, triggering a wave of anger among activists and women’s rights advocates. The new verdict provides a glimmer of hope in the fight against the retrogressive practice, which originated in ancient Egypt. Nevertheless, the depth of the challenge should not be underestimated. FGM remains popular in Egypt, despite a 2008 ban on all its forms. Fadl’s conviction, though another step in the right direction, does not mean that the ugly practice will disappear anytime soon. More needs to be done to change mindsets…

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