FGM in Egypt: Backlash after the fall of Mubarak

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Since the revolution, international support for this fight has significantly waned. Political instability has led to a 75 percent cut in Egypt’s FGM-related donor funds to the United Nations since January, according to Marta Agosti, the head of the anti-FGM program for the U.N.Changeover among government ministers has also slowed official work. The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, the government body charged with addressing the problem, was shuttered after the revolution, and there is concern among activists that the capacity of the Council will shrink in its new home under the Ministry of Health. Instability and a lack of funds have curtailed the day-to-day work of NGOs; less field work and fewer workshops are taking place, according to Agosti.

In addition to the general shrinking of U.N. and NGO funds and efforts, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood as one of the strongest political forces attempting to fill the void left by Mubarak’s departure presents potential obstacles to the campaign to end FGM. While the Muslim Brotherhood does not have an official position on FGM, the group has, in the past, opposed a complete ban on the practice. “Nothing in Islam forbids circumcision,” said Saad El Katani, the leader of the Brotherhood in parliament in 2008. Some members of the Brotherhood have argued that opposition to a complete ban does not indicate support of the practice, but they generally don’t speak out against it.

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