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.
Photo by Maks Karochkin via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence