Muslim father cannot circumcise sons

Family Law|April 19th 2016

A Muslim man cannot have his two young sons circumcised, the High Court has declared.

The 36 year-old father was born in Algeria, moved to England in 2001 and now holds dual Algerian and British citizenship. In 2006, he met and began a relationship with a woman from Devon and they started living together some time later. The couple had two children who are now six and four years old.

When his sons were born, the father said he wanted them to be raised as Muslims despite admitting some “lapses in his religious observance in the past”. Part of that proposed upbringing involved circumcision for each of the boys, which he claimed was in their best interests as it was common practice among Muslims. The mother appeared to embrace Islam, as she had “received instruction at a central London mosque” and “chose a new Muslim name”.

However, the parents’ relationship became increasingly strained. She claimed that he “sought to impose restrictions on how she lived her life” and “would fly into jealous rages and criticise her choice of dress and the friends with whom she socialised”. By 2012, their relationship had ended.

The father continued to push for circumcision but the mother objected, despite otherwise embracing his faith. In response, the father sought permission from the High Court to go ahead with the procedure regardless of her opposition.

At the Family Court in Exeter, Mrs Justice Roberts heard expert evidence from a consultant paediatrician which set out the possible risks and benefits of circumcision for the boys. She also heard from an Islamic scholar who said there was “no overriding imperative to circumcise these children before the age of puberty” set out by their religion.

The judge ruled against the father and declared that he could not have his sons circumcised. She added that the choice should be left until each of the boys “have the maturity and insight to appreciate the consequences and longer term effects” of such a decision.

Read L And B (Children : Specific Issues : temporary Leave To Remove From the Jurisdiction; Circumcision) online here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. D says:

    It’s not a medical procedure; it’s child abuse and genital mutilation sanctioned by tradition.

    • stitchedup says:

      If this was FGM the father would be facing jail, why is this not the case for MGM??? If there’s a genuine medical need fair enough but you can’t have one law for males and another for females…. Surely not.

  2. The Devil's Advocate says:

    Do they have a balanced medical need for circumcision? If not why the real need… superstition?

  3. LK says:

    16 years ago I took my ex husband to court to prevent the religious circumcision of our child. At the time there had only been one other case and the mother had won, setting a precedent. Just before the final hearing (costing the tax payer hundreds of thousands of pounds) my ex withdrew his application and my son was not circumcised, not that I would ever have listened to a court ruling that found in favour of the ex husband. I was quite prepared to go to higher courts.
    I firmly believe that male circumcision has nothing to do with religion but more to do with tribalism and with power and control. I believe male circumcision to be as heinous as female genital mutilation, it is nothing short of institutionalised child abuse and should be made illegal as is FGM.

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