The non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors – Male Genital Mutilation, ‘MGM’ – is a scourge across much of the world, causing widespread physical and psychological suffering. Men and boys are shamed into keeping quiet about the problems that have resulted from the procedure.
Sometimes it leads to death, either as a result of the procedure, or suicide in adult life. Unlike Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) it’s not specifically illegal in the UK, but it doesn’t need to be – nor did FGM, when it was made specifically illegal in 1985, as the Attorney General pointed out at the time. A parliamentary override would be required to make MGM legal, and no such override has ever existed.
Performing MGM is a criminal offence under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, being at least the infliction of Actual Bodily Harm, probably Grievous Bodily Harm. Minors cannot legally consent to having ABH or GBH inflicted upon them on non-therapeutic grounds.
No exemptions to the law are permitted on religious or cultural grounds. The fact that MGM is a common practice inflicted upon male minors by those of the Jewish and Muslim faiths is utterly irrelevant in legal terms in the UK.
We continue to press the government to make MGM specifically illegal, in line with FGM, and in the meantime we call for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to bring prosecutions against the criminals who are carrying out the procedures, invariably for financial gain. The government is a direct beneficiary of the crimes, drawing income tax from the criminals.
There are a considerable number of pieces about MGM in our Key topics section, scroll down to ‘Male Genital Mutilation’.
In July 2016 the American anti-MGM campaigner Tim Hammond gave a talk at the second International Conference on Men’s Issues at London Excel, about his 2012 Global Survey of Infant Circumcision Harm (video, 44:00).
There’s a collection of 90+ audio and video files concerning MGM, including our interviews on the subject, our demonstrations outside Conservative party conferences, our campaigning at Speakers’ Corner, and so much more, on our YouTube MGM playlist.
Mike Buchanan is planning a private prosecution of Dr Balvinder Mehat, a Nottingham-based doctor and circumciser (i.e. a criminal with respect to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861), details here.[Update 16.8.17: We’ve just become aware of an impressive Muslim anti-MGM website, Quranic Path. We would also recommend you read a leaflet produced by Jews Against Circumcision, Brit Shalom: A Peaceful Alternative, which we handed out in large numbers during our Golders Green protest last year.]
What is male circumcision?
“The word circumcision means “to cut around”. In male infants, circumcision is an operation which involves tearing the foreskin away from the glans (head) of the penis, cutting along the top of the foreskin, then clamping the foreskin and cutting it off. The skin of the penis is a complex movable ‘sheath’ with no clear indication of where it should be cut during a circumcision. This means that the amount of foreskin removed from one circumcision to the next can be very different, and no two circumcisions are the same.” (1)