More on race relations


by Sunny
22nd October, 2006 at 9:44 pm    

Asian women earn 28% less than white, says the Independent on Sunday. Thankfully they quoted go-getting women who wanted to break that glass ceiling instead of serial complainers such as Karen Chouhan of the 1990 Trust. The obvious point is still made – that dealing with “integration” isn’t a one way street.
[hat tip: Nyrone]

In other news, Sweden’s new integration and equality minister, an African-Swedish lady called Nyamko Sabuni, has “caused a storm” by arguing that: 1) All girls should be checked for evidence of female circumcision; 2) Arranged marriages should be criminalised; 3) Religious schools should receive no state funding; and 4) immigrants should learn Swedish and find a job.
What’s the storm about exactly? All of them, including (2) where I suspect the Times has conflated forced marriages with arranged marriages, sound sensible to me. Ah, but the hard-left is not happy. God forbid these SWP types start standing up for womens rights or for immigrants to play an equal role within their country.

By the way, I’ll be on a panel discussing the state of race relations tomorrow (Monday) morning on Asian Network at 10am.


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  1. ZinZin — on 22nd October, 2006 at 10:03 pm  

    Sunny Re:SWP steer clear of the ice pick. These fools are ideologically and morally bankrupt. That they joined forces with the Marxist-leninist MAB is no surprise. They have given up on being the vanguard of the proletariat in favour of the vanguard of the caliphate.

    In short integration as a two way street, not something anyone can disagree with at all. Disagree on arranged marriages does it help integration if talented young girls are taken to pakistan to marry illiterate men?

  2. saurav — on 22nd October, 2006 at 10:28 pm  

    1) All girls should be checked for evidence of female circumcision; 2) Arranged marriages should be criminalised; 3) Religious schools should receive no state funding; and 4) immigrants should learn Swedish and find a job.

    You can support these measures, but you should recognize that forced national integration also serves to bolster the power of the state, to reduce loyalties (and hence remittances) to the developing world, is coercive (as framed here), might produce political backlash as people are forced to “choose,” and will differentially impact people who have less means (both culturally and economically).

    You would have to be okay with all that, in addition to the specific policies, to support a proposal like this.

  3. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:06 pm  

    Sunny,

    How will all girls be checked for female circumcision? If the state wanted proof whether my daughter has had it done or not, I would tell them to shoove their magnifying glasses up their arse.

  4. Saira — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:07 pm  

    That is an example of a forced marriage, not an ‘arranged marriage’ ZinZin. If you dont understand the difference then you dont know what you’re talking about.

  5. Sunny — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:19 pm  

    Saurav – Erm, that’s all conjecture. The power of the state is not necessarily boosted providing we have civil liberties that are codified in law.
    to reduce loyalties (and hence remittances) to the developing world

    What, and what? People have multiple identities; learning English has no impact on loyalties. As for remittances, again I don’t even know where you got that from. People are allowed to send their money where they want to. The state does not control that.

    might produce political backlash as people are forced to “choose,”
    Forced to choose between what? Learning english and staying at home? Gimme a break. The serial complainers will go on complaining because they want their wives to stay at home and not learn any English.

    Any such policy should be and is about empowerment. It is about the empowerment of people, usually women, who have come into this country and do not know how to interact or access social services if necessary. I’m not even sure you have a point.

  6. ZinZin — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:26 pm  

    No Saira it about interpretations.

    If a young girl is taken on holiday to a foreign country under false pretences then introduced to her new family and husband in other words presented with a fait acompli then the line between an arranged and forced marriage is not just blurred but non-existent.

    Saira please explain the difference between arranged and forced marriages.

  7. Saira — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:48 pm  

    ZinZin

    if you cant tell the difference then you probably dont want to know. However if you are sincere then I will tell you that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have marriages by means of introduction. Those involve informal matchmakers. I guess you can call them arranged marriages. They take place as a matter of course and are voluntary. Now a forced marriage of the type you describe is another thing altogether. I bet you understand that really. And dont try and suggest that I am blurring a line, I am explaining to you why the terminology is wrong and why it is write to use the correct terminology. I note a combative mood in your post. I reply to you in good faith.

  8. ZinZin — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:59 pm  

    I will accept that answer as frankly it clears things up perfectly. Personally i would not accept anyone arranging my love life in such a manner.What you have described is a more civilised approach to speed dating.

    Sadly Saira arranged marriages are not always made in good faith for some they are a means to get passports. In such circumstances the vulnerable are exploited. That is why i am against the idea of arranged marriages.

  9. Saira — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:03 am  

    ZinZin, you are against exploitation, not against arranged marriages. What are you going to do, try to ban Asian matrimonial matchmaking? If you dont know about what phenomenon you are talking about, you’re talking about the wrong thing. Words matter because they describe what is what. When you know what is what you can get a clearer picture of the situation and what needs to be done. In the example of forced marriages maybe we need stautory checks for all Pakistani girls under the age of 21 who travel to Pakistan for example. That is a suggestion. Something along those lines. But the majority of Pakistani girls and women are not forced into marriage, so if you want to do a generalised attack, you’re going to be wasting time and energy as well as being wrong. Focus is what is needed. If you dont have focus you’re wasting time.

  10. Don — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:16 am  

    1) All girls should be checked for evidence of female circumcision;

    Don’t Swedish schools do medical check-ups? If schools find evidence of the physical abuse of a child they absolutely must act. In the UK, parents can decline to have their kids examined, so if you have suspicions you either drop them or start building a case. I favour the latter, but it’s time consuming and gets nasty. But then, I’m a statist, interventionist, judgementalist bastard. Just make it a routine part of a mandatory medical. Unless, of course, there are religious reasons. Because that’s the special magic word.

    2) Arranged marriages should be criminalised;

    That’s so obviously a mis-translation. However, as ZinZin so clearly pointed out, the lines can be very blurred. An issue now exists about the consensuality of the marriage of a significant number of citizens. Specific legislation is appropriate.

    3) Religious schools should receive no state funding;

    Oh,haste the day.

    4) immigrants should learn Swedish and find a job.

    Since when was ‘Get a job.’ coercive? But if you don’t learn the language of the country in which you live, it’s going to be a crap, no prospect job. It’s not as though the service isn’t there.

  11. Sunny — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:29 am  

    The lines are only blurred if people mistake arranged wirth forced. As Saira points out, as soon as someone is vaguely coerced into a marriage, it becomes forced. It’s that simple.

    Banning arranged marriages is absurd and unenforceable because at most it involves the parents introducing people to each other.

  12. ZinZin — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:32 am  

    Saira
    Don’t go overboard i would not ban any matchmaking agency. Also i did not suggest that all arranged marriages are forced marriages.

    Saira i understand the arguments and differences very well. I am a reasonably intelligent man. Respect please.

    An arranged marriage has the consent of the Bride or groom. In a forced marriage the Bride usually objects but the family apply pressure (ie dishonour the family/community) that they find hard to bear. The brides family consider it an arranged marriage the bride would beg to differ.

    Why not trawl through the PP archives on this issue of arranged/forced marriages as Sunny posted a sensible article a while ago which covered the issue perfectly.

    Final point is there a problem with forced marriage in Britain? and in relation to this issue,Honour Killings?

  13. Kismet Hardy — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:35 am  

    What about all men? Yet again I see the world has colluded to put women’s rights before men’s. Even animals get a better deal than us. When will someone have the balls to rise up and say: no. men need to be checked to see if they are circumcised also. I am circumcised and no one wants to see it.

    It makes me sick I tell you, you women with your so-called rights, putting us men through what I like to call ‘oppression’.

    It’s penis envy and you know it

  14. Don — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:41 am  

    ‘…no one wants to see it.’

    Are you sure you’ve done enough audience research?

  15. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 1:38 am  

    good one kismet. :-)

    ‘race relations’ – what a term eh. it often makes me want to giggle (yes im very sorry im terrible like that) makes me think of old aunties ..drawing one aside and whispering …are you having any ‘relations’ we should know about…

    in any case, given that we always hear this mantra ‘race relations’ im interested in why we don’t hear much about ‘mixed race’ relationships?/given that britain is supposed to have one of the fastest growing mixed race populations in the world. leon pointed out in some other thread i think.

    i can see the ‘elders’ might not like to go on about it much – giving the young people ideas and suchlike! – but what about everyone else? exploring what the young and younger generations think about this would be most interesting. changing attitudes or not so changing attitudes?

  16. Kulvinder — on 23rd October, 2006 at 6:25 am  

    Anyone who supports the idea of an ‘integration minister’ in britain; especially one that advocates shit knee-jerk laws should be rounded up, and shot by the state. For great justice.

  17. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 10:35 am  

    1. Horrible as FGM is I cannot bring my self to support the forced examination of all young girls vaginas. Talk about state intrusion! I would defy such a law if it were introduced here on principle. So I’m not going to support other peoples daughters being violated by the state ‘for their own good’. Sorry these are human beings not animals.

    2 is fine as long as it does in fact relate to forced rather than arranged marriages.

    3. YES YES YES

    4. Seems fair enough.

  18. S — on 23rd October, 2006 at 11:23 am  

    I take your point Sunny– but I am wondering reading through a few old posts whether you would have condemned Jack Straw for saying exactly the same stuff.

  19. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 11:44 am  

    I’m with Clairwil

  20. Leon — on 23rd October, 2006 at 11:47 am  

    So I’m not going to support other peoples daughters being violated by the state ‘for their own good’.

    Interesting dilema, which is worse: the “violation” by the “state” (which I guess would mean trained medical professionals) or the “violation” by those (who from my understanding aren’t alway trained medical professionals) who cut a young girls clitoris out?

  21. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 11:51 am  

    #17 – clairwil’s got a good point in no.1.

  22. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

    Leon,
    It’s not a question of which is worse. Leaving FGM aside. Child sex abuse usually occurs within families and victims find it very hard to speak out. Should we then subject all female children to compulsory virginity tests to help stamp out child rape?

    Or what about keeping all mens DNA on record to matched against samples from rape victims?

    It could be argued that this would stamp out rape but it would be violating the rights of the majority for the actions of a minority.

  23. Leon — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:05 pm  

    It’s not a question of which is worse.

    I disagree I think which is worse is at the heart of this. What is acceptable in our society and what is acceptable means to deal with it.

  24. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:05 pm  

    well in any case how are the social services are going to be able to deal with this any better than they are currently able to deal with physical abuse in children? *think Victoria Climbie here* it was all very well to go around looking for someone to blame but as we all know social services are vastly over-stretched and under-funded, and social workers aren’t paid very well at all. overall questions around this area would be more sensibly put about funding for social services or healthcare in general.

    the whole point in any case surely ought to be about thinking about prevention – in any scenario it’s going to be hard for the State to go around ‘checking’.

  25. Leon — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:06 pm  

    the whole point in any case surely ought to be about thinking about prevention

    Ok, fair point. How do you prevent it happening?

  26. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

    Well I don’t see how tackling something that is unacceptable (FGM) with something a bit more acceptable (forced vaginal examination) improves our society.

    You don’t have to be religious or especially modest to be affronted by the idea of a forced intimate examination.

  27. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

    Vaginal examinations……aaarrrggghhh! I think I’ve summed it up succinctly for women everywhere.

  28. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    Agreed Chairwoman,
    Consenting to one is bad enough, but forced eeeeek!

  29. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

    it’s really a moot point. there are plenty of unacceptable things – there’s no problem in acknowledging that they are unacceptable – what then varies is how collectively a society chooses to deal with it. last time i looked domestic violence is unacceptable but we don’t see people going from home to home ‘checking’ do we? in my mind that’s a similar analogy. In any case as far as im aware FGM is only a problem in certain specific communities – perhaps there is a way that could be tied into community/health workers focusing on that area. letting the community know that is an area that is taken seriously and there is the chance that the girls will be examined etc. might be one way of approaching this. Plenty of ‘manipulative’ ways to get across the message without resorting to mandatory checks – which ignoring the state intrusion aspect, i can’t see as viable given the current context stays the same. In any case back to the point at hand politicians are all about getting the ‘message’ across – whether they’ll come up with an implementation is quite a different matter.

  30. Chris Stiles — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:25 pm  


    well in any case how are the social services are going to be able to deal with this any better than they are currently able to deal with physical abuse in children

    Well, we don’t draw the conclusion that child protection shouldn’t be done at all because it can’t be done well. I don’t think the situations are entirely analogous anyway.

    Chairwoman, Clairwil – I wonder if the Swedish MP in question knows someone who happens to have undergone FGM – and if this is colouring her particular reaction to the problem.

  31. Leon — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

    To be honest I don’t like the idea of forced examinations either, was posing the question out of curiosity and my Monday Morning Devils Advocate mood.

    I agree with Sonia, prevention is better than cure in pretty much all cases. It’s a question of how?

  32. PedanticLurker — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:28 pm  

    Asian women earn 28% less than white, says the Independent on Sunday. Thankfully they quoted go-getting women who wanted to break that glass ceiling instead of serial complainers such as Karen Chouhan of the 1990 Trust.

    To what extent is this down to age differences? The Indy doesn’t make this clear, but this is something to remember whenever you read dramatic headlines about gaps in average incomes across religious, racial, or ethnic divides.

    The median age of blacks and Asians in Britain is several years lower than whites, and since income tends to increase with age, it stands to reason that BME women (to use the diversicrats current acronym of choice) are going to have lower household incomes than whites even in a perfect world where education and skills perfectly match across ethnic groups and there is no discrimination (which is, of course, not the one we live in).

    Let’s be wary of making public policy based on simplistic statistical equations.

  33. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:29 pm  

    yeah Chairwoman so easy for the blokes to talk isn’t it. of course no doubt some of them will come back and say sth along the lines of the pro-war crew, that if we’re not happy about that, we’re ‘condemning’ these poor children to live with FGM.

    and back to kismet’s point – why on earth is no-one talking about similar measures for male circumcision? is that somehow more acceptable because there are more people it happens to? is it supposed to hurt less?

  34. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

    is someone trying to suggest I would be better paid by my current employer if I were white? :-) that i don’t know any better’ because i don’t have any role models? :-)

    my employer pays us all pretty shite – charities for you. exploitation? no doubt. of course we all go into this sector knowing that – which of course is their excuse.

  35. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

    Quite possibly Chris.
    However it maybe more productive to ensure that help and protection is available to girls who wish to report this crime voluntarily. I can’t see that violating girls to see if any of them have been violated in a worse way helps.

    All such a test can establish is if a girl has been a victim of FGM. It cannot tell us who was responsible or force her to testify against them.

  36. Jagdeep — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

    Article in todays Times on female circumcision:

    Parents fly in African village elders to circumcise their young daughters

    It says that 25,000 girls are at risk and that about 75,000 British-African girls have had it performed on them. Anyone can cross check this or offer perspective?

  37. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

    Leon,
    You are a very naughty boy.

  38. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    PedanticLurker i have no idea what they’re on about. unless they’re comparing for exactly the same job its a bit rubbish anyway. one could say oh across the board asian women are doing x and other women are doing y and then look for explanations for such differences. there’s some sense in that.

  39. Leon — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    Leon,
    You are a very naughty boy.

    You don’t know the half of it.;D

  40. Jagdeep — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    I mean, I’m not doubting the statistics, but I know next to nothing about the phenomenon, so it would be interesting to read someone with grassroots knowledge.

  41. Jagdeep — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:36 pm  

    Yeah – I think there may be factors regarding that figure for black and Asian women explaining them, but it’s still worth considering why, and if their ethnicity plays a part in their being paid – there is already a gender disparity between pay for men and women in society as a whole.

  42. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:43 pm  

    Jagdeep,
    I just read that article. I’ve no idea if the statistics are correct. It was interesting that one family were referred to who thought FGM was legal if done abroad. Whilst I don’t think targetted education would eliminate the problem, it might well help reduce it. Particularly if it had a bearing on immigration status.

  43. Jagdeep — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

    yeah Chairwoman so easy for the blokes to talk isn’t it. of course no doubt some of them will come back and say sth along the lines of the pro-war crew, that if we’re not happy about that, we’re ‘condemning’ these poor children to live with FGM.

    You’ve just captured the dishonesty of a certain political discourse perfectly!

  44. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:47 pm  

    leon – good question re: prevention. always the tough one isn’t it. grassroots level awareness raising to start with – since women seem to play a big big part in forcing young girls go through what they went through as a young child – there will have to be a big focus on them – re-education or something along those lines – not a quick fix ‘solution’ but a long-term effort. would make sense to tie into community work in areas where the problem is prevalent – which would need to be identified. my guess is the crux of the matter is ‘why’ people feel the need to do what they do to their children – until that is understood i can’t see how one could aim to slowly change those attitudes. i don’t know anything about FGM personally so i have no insight to offer. but say i can see lots of people would be like of course im going to circumcise my male child because that’s what my religion says! so e.g. if one were going to try and do sth about male circumcision that’s something that would have to be taken into account.

  45. Jagdeep — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:47 pm  

    Clairwill, yeah, seems to me that there are options like that. The importing of a surgeon to perform them on the sly in England is particularly disturbing, if true.

  46. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:48 pm  

    i think Clairwil has a good point in no. 42

  47. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 12:57 pm  

    Cheers Sonia.
    Jagdeep,
    I agree that if true it is disturbing to think this is happening in the UK, though hopefully we might see a few high profile prosecutions. At least if it’s in the press the police are aware of it. I was also encouraged by the reaction of the school to the young girl saying she was going back home for a celebration of becoming a woman. There isn’t a big African population where I live and I wouldn’t have read much into that remark at all, let alone thought to report it.

  48. PedanticLurker — on 23rd October, 2006 at 1:27 pm  

    PedanticLurker i have no idea what they’re on about. unless they’re comparing for exactly the same job its a bit rubbish anyway. one could say oh across the board asian women are doing x and other women are doing y and then look for explanations for such differences. there’s some sense in that.

    Well, these things come from wanting to suck money in vast globules out of the institutions. This Indy article is based around a report (pdf) that was produced by something called the Equal Opportunities Commission and was funded by the European Union.

    Having quickly looked through the report it seems unclear where the number of 28% comes from: is it down to age differences? Is it for Asian women full-stop, or just for those in employment (since Asian women are more likely to be stay-at-home mums than their white counterparts)? How much is this affected by educational differences? Is it down to clustering in different jobs? Etc and so on.

    But these are bad bad bad questions to ask when the purpose of the exercise is to have an eye-catching headline where dodgy stats appear to prove wicked discrimination, thus guaranteeing that the government, ngo’s, and supra-national institutions will hand over lots and lots and lots of eye-wateringly beautiful money.

  49. Don — on 23rd October, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

    Male circumcision gets an easy ride because there are arguable long term health benefits, although these have to be set against immediate and serious risk of complications. Unlike FGM, male circumcision is a formal requirement within both Islam and Judaism so that religious lobby groups are ready to apply pressure should anyone put health or consent issues before ritual;

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=11539

    It is also so widespread that few people give it a thought. I understand that in the US the majority of male children are circumcised as a matter of course.

    Quite why anybody should consider that they have the right to cut the flesh and permanently mutilate the body of a non-consenting person without sound medical reasons is a mystery to me. The two arguments seem to be
    1. God said so.
    2. It’s my child (i.e. I have ownership rights.)

    I don’t believe either of those over-ride the issue of meaningful consent.

    On the wider issue of the extent to which the state can over-rule parents’ wishes when child abuse is suspected; as matters stand in the UK, if a professional in contact with a child suspects there is abuse then no examination, even one not involving physical contact, can be carried out without the consent of the child (if competent) or an adult with parental rights. If that consent is withheld then a child protection conference has to be called, court orders applied for and the whole slow process rolled out. If a family moves out of the area before that process is complete, then, in practice, that is often the end of it.

    To put it into context; if a parent withholds permission for routine medical, withdraws the child from swimming and PE and starts sending him/her in with arms and legs fully covered, then even if there is visible bruising and you suspect it is widespread and severe, not even a verbal interview with a medical professional is permitted without parental consent or a court order.

    Of course parental rights are important, but they are so often a cover that allows physical abuse to go on with relative immunity, especially among children who are unable to speak out for themselves. And that’s even without factoring in religious and cultural sensitivities.

  50. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:03 pm  

    Jewish and Muslim boys are circumcised as babies, I think that complications are rare as it is a very minor procedure compared with FGM. I realise for men who aren’t culturally circumsised the thought of it is probably thigh crossing, but there are health benefits. Jewish and Muslim women and nuns are unlikely contract cervical cancer. Circumcised men are unlikely to contract penile cancer. I believe that Bill Clinton has recently been touring Africa persuading men to get circumcised as scientists have discovered that circumcised men are far less likely to contract or spread HIV.

    As a matter of personal taste, Roundheads are more pleasing aesthetically than Cavaliers.

    I await Kismet Hardy’s comments with interest.

  51. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

    chairwoman – yes i’ve heard the bit about circumcising male babies. and the benefits etc. etc. and the aesthetics – well that’s something else.

    im squeamish – so my focus is on the pain inflicted on people. if they’re babies, ah well, maybe – but i know there are definitely cases for muslim boys when its done when they’re older. which sounds incredibly unpleasant. i mean do they use anaesthesia or what? if id been a boy and someone had tried – there would have been TROUBLE. no amount of ‘benefits’ would have swayed me – they would have had to use general anaesthesia ! otherwise i would have knifed someone back. believe you me! i don’t particularly want to know but it sounds frightful if you’re a sentient aware being – and as a child, that’s definitely the case.

  52. Sid — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:15 pm  

    Cavaliers? You mean uncut brothers have a feather sticking out? Ack!

  53. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

    well people say its a ‘formal requirement’ but where does it say so? i bet it doesn’t say so anywhere in the Quran – i bet they’re following Abrahamic tradition.

  54. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

    Sid – when ive been in bangladesh ive heard of circumcision on boys who’re about 7 or 8 or so – do you know what’s the age or is it carried out on babies?

  55. Jai — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:21 pm  

    =>”but i know there are definitely cases for muslim boys when its done when they’re older. which sounds incredibly unpleasant. i mean do they use anaesthesia or what?”

    Damn good question. What about men who convert to Islam ? Local anaesthetic ?

    On a historical note, the pre-Victorian European men in India who decided to convert to Islam sometimes died during the circumcision. It was a pretty risky thing to do in those times. You’ve got to admire the commitment of people who went through with it in days of less medical knowledge and no anaesthetic (or maybe sometimes they just had a hell of an incentive).

    Same for men everywhere in medieval times who converted to Islam voluntarily. Even trickier for those who were forced into it. Ouch.

  56. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:21 pm  

    I didn’t realise that Muslim boys were circumcised later, Sonia, our babies are snipped at 7 days. The Mohel, who is the man who does the deed drips a little wine into the babies mouth to numb the pain. As a woman I’ve never been present, but I personally don’t know any modern, barely religious women who’ve refused to have s second son ‘done’, so I presume that it’s pretty much OK.

    As for the aesthetics, I did say that it was personal choice.

    BTW, when I was 5, I had an infected thumb nail, which my kindly GP cut off my thumb with no anaesthetic. I screamed at the time, but by the time I got home, about a five minute walk, I was busy admiring my very fancy bandage.

  57. Sid — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:25 pm  

    Sonia it varies. Usually done by the age of 2. Mine was really late, I was 8! And I remember all the details. My dad admninistered local anaesthetic. Pain blocked from memory. Got loads of pressies and hugs though.

  58. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    Sid – I laughed and laughed and laughed.

    Jai – I have known a couple of non-Jewish men who converted as adults to Judaism. Their circumcisions were regular surgical procedures performed in hospitals by surgeons. I don’t know whether there was a later rabbinical inspection. The mind boggles.

    Sid – still thinking about the feather. Dare I say that I was tickled? :-)

  59. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:28 pm  

    ouch¬!

    i think it depends: i really don’t know too much and have not tried to find out before. (hence my question to sid) i have heard of a lot of people having their sons done as babies but i distinctly remember as a child on a visit to bangladesh -there was some celebration thing happening for one of my male cousins who was about 8 then – and i asked what it was about and another cousin who was older describing what was happening. i was shocked and disgusted and frightened. *and feeling v. grateful i was a girl*

  60. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:30 pm  

    i dont think its an issue for people who convert surely. that would be outrageous – i’m sorry – but it would.

    sorry sid – didn’t mean to bring up painful memories. if you had a son – ( or have one! :-) ) what would you opt for?

  61. Sid — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:31 pm  

    CW: Do you think a Rabbi would be interested in doing my a non-Jewish baby’s? Namely, my own.

  62. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    well chairwoman, sounds like the jewish tradition of having it done in the first 7 days is vastly superior to this crappy Muslim one of waiting.

  63. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    so sid – does that mean you’re expecting a boy ? how’s the wife doing ( going off thread ) ?

  64. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

    Yes Sonia, conversion is a tricky issue, I agree. I’m lucky in two ways, firstly I’m a woman, and secondly I am content with who and what I am, even though I can’t pretend that it wouldn’t be easier being C of E at times.

    I mean really C of E, not a convert.

  65. Sid — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:35 pm  

    Sonia, yes. She’s fine, thanks.

  66. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:36 pm  

    Yes. Mohels will do anyone who asks. Most of them have medical qualifications as well. Rumour has it that before William and Harry, who are feather wearers, Mohels used to circumcise the male royal babies.

  67. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

    Sid – I didn’t realise that there was a Sidling on the way. When will he be here?

  68. Kulvinder — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

    Quite why anybody should consider that they have the right to cut the flesh and permanently mutilate the body of a non-consenting person

    Because the baby hasn’t got the comprehension to give consent nor did it communicate its desires beforehand; its incapable of any such process so the discussion on ‘consent’ becomes meaningless. You may as well ask why anyone put pink clothes on a newborn boy without asking it. It wasn’t born into a cultural vacuum; simplistic notions of right and wrong don’t exist.

  69. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

    im glad im a woman too chairwoman :-) phew this is heavy stuff. and ive just had my lunch..

  70. Sid — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

    CW: He’ll be here in the next 3 weeks. We’re on alert mode!

  71. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    no doubt on the strength of these future health benefits. cant see anyone waiting then wanting to be circumsised – where’s the sense in that>

    yeah and who asked the baby if it wanted to be born? that sounds much more unfair while we’re on the subject. the whole thing’s a bit crap if you ask me.

    *oh but then im a bit of a nihilist so just ignore me*

  72. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    :-) sidling on the way…

    dont forget to tell us when it happens!

  73. Kulvinder — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:45 pm  

    Incidently i have no problem with the removal of the prepuce and frenulum from either baby boys or girls and would only suggest it goes no further because of a personal distaste and revulsion, not for any moral or philisophical stand.

  74. Isaa — on 23rd October, 2006 at 2:55 pm  

    My two cents worth: Male circumcision is not mentioned in the Qur’an but it is stated in the sunnah of the prophet. It is carried out predominantly to follow the footsteps of Abraham but is also recommended as part of male cleanliness along with ensuring that pubic hair are kept short and trimmed. Age varies from country to country, in Turkey it is common to usually carry it out at the age of 7/8 whereas in Malaysia when the boy finishes the Qur’an. Most other countries including the UK it is carried out a few days after the birth of the child. There’s no such thing as Mohels in Islam and the person who carries it out can be a non-Muslim.

  75. bananabrain — on 23rd October, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

    ahem. will people please stop calling it “male circumcision”? that implies “female circumcision”. “FGM” is far more descriptive. for the two operations to be in any way comparative, you’d have to cut off half the penis. any takers? no? can anyone spell “cultural, not religious”?

    FGM is up there with foot-binding in terms of backward cultural practices. you do nobody any favours by lumping circumcision in with them, which is something which i put my own son through four months ago. it is hard, yes, but not for the child. it’s hard for the father – my wife seems to think it’s something to help him empathise with the pain of childbirth. and, frankly, compared to having a baby come out of you, having the snip isn’t a big deal, especially considering you’ll never miss something you never got used to having.

    and yes, sid, mohels do a lot of muslim boys. if you need some names, let me know and i will point you at some recommendations. most mohels are also doctors nowadays.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  76. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    banabrain – thank you for corroborating my earlier statement. I’m always frightened that I’m giving people incorrect information :-)

  77. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 3:22 pm  

    bananabrain – what about what this lot have to say about it:

    http://www.historyofcircumcision.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=13&id=76&Itemid=6

    personally i don’t know anything about either..but as far as i can see ..both are forced!

  78. Sid — on 23rd October, 2006 at 3:31 pm  

    bananabrain

    thanks for the encouragement and the insights. I’ve contacted my local synagogue and they’ve put me in contact with an organisation of mohels.

  79. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 3:40 pm  

    Sonia – These are people with an agenda to prevent circumcision. Every decision we make for our children is forced upon. Medical procedures such as innoculation and dentistry are not to a child’s taste, but are for their own good. I am not asking anybody else to have their sons circumsised. It’s their choice. Obviously, with all such procedures there are times when things will go wrong. I believe when conducted by a registered Mohel they are few and far between.

    FGM is another matter, as I gather, and I am willing to be corrected, that the real reason for it is to keep women in their place.

    BTW if circumcision was as bad as that site portrayed, there wouldn’t be all those Jewish and Muslim babies all over the world.

  80. Vikrant — on 23rd October, 2006 at 4:00 pm  

    I was circumcised when I was 5. Though for medical problems, I’d rather not talk about… God forbid if I were to get caught in a RSS/VHP riot.

  81. sonia — on 23rd October, 2006 at 4:05 pm  

    i hear ya chairwoman, my attitudes simply stem from the squeamish element – and i agree with you plenty of unpleasant things are forced upon children.

    *dentists* shudders*

  82. Kulvinder — on 23rd October, 2006 at 4:10 pm  

    that implies “female circumcision”. “FGM” is far more descriptive. for the two operations to be in any way comparative, you’d have to cut off half the penis. any takers? no? can anyone spell “cultural, not religious”?

    Not necesarrily, FGM is a broad term that encompasses all ‘medical acts’ for lack of a better term on female genitalia. AFAIK it includes the removal of the prepuce. I for one can’t see why it would be demonstrably worse to remove the clitoral hood than removing the foreskin. A comparable male version of the most extreme FGM would probably be castration, to enable the boys to grow into castrato.

    That said it is incredibly difficult to map out a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of dealing with newborns, they have no prior intellectual input nor do they possess the comprehension required for consent. They are literally blank pages for whatever culture or society they are born into. I find the extreme versions of genital mutilation for both boys and girls fairly repulsive and would prefer them not to be practised, as everyone can probably already guess however I wouldn’t outlaw them.

  83. Cheeky Boy — on 23rd October, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

    I love my foreskin. Without the foreskin you lose 80% of your sensitivity. The Sons of Abraham — you don’t know what you’re missing :-)

  84. Leon — on 23rd October, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

    The Sons of Abraham — you don’t know what you’re missing

    Heh.

  85. Don — on 23rd October, 2006 at 5:06 pm  

    Kulvinder,

    ‘…as everyone can probably already guess …

    Well, it wasn’t exactly a surprise. Just out of interest, what’s your take on human sacrifice?

  86. Jagdeep — on 23rd October, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

    Kulvinder – whatever you think of the cruelty of depriving sons of abraham of 80% of their future sexual sensitivity, there’s a big difference between that and the FGM which deserves to be banned – that is a nasty practice altogether.

  87. Jai — on 23rd October, 2006 at 6:39 pm  

    Kulvinder,

    =>”they have no prior intellectual input nor do they possess the comprehension required for consent.”

    Neither do many severely mentally disabled people. Just becomes someone doesn’t know what’s going on and is not in a position to protest or prevent the other party’s actions, it doesn’t mean you have the right to “do it anyway”.

    And children, even the newborn, are not “blank slates” for you to treat as you will and possibly dispose of as you will (I know you’re not implying the latter, but it needs to be stated here in the context of this discussion). They have fundamental human rights in the same way as everyone else.

  88. davetheslave — on 23rd October, 2006 at 7:07 pm  

    The opposition to Nyamko Sabuni is not so much in her aims as the means that she endorses to achieve these aims: witness the schoolgirl getting marched by police from the classroon to go for a forced gyneacological examination. No civilised society should be using these tactics.

  89. Don — on 23rd October, 2006 at 7:20 pm  

    dave,

    ‘witness the schoolgirl getting marched by police from the classroon to go for a forced gyneacological examination’

    Can you provide a source for that?

  90. ZinZin — on 23rd October, 2006 at 7:31 pm  

    Davetheslave.

    When you went to school were you checked for nits? Dental examinations? given vaccinations?

    As a child i did not give my consent to them but they did no harm, in fact quite the opposite.

    Nit examinations carried out by a school nurse can also alert the authorities to possible cases of child abuse.
    In short the school nurse can undertake such a task. A government has a duty to protect the vulnerable and criminalising FGM and monitoring young girls sends out a signal that it is unacceptable.

  91. Sunny — on 23rd October, 2006 at 7:43 pm  

    I think Pedantic Lurker has a point too. The EOC did the same by coming out with a report a few weeks back without looking at the underlying reasons for why Muslim and black women were more unemployed than Hindu/Sikh women.

  92. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 8:28 pm  

    Zin Zin,
    I was examined for nits, went for dental exams and given vaccinations all with the consent of my parents as a child. I also had a vaginal examination at the age of thirteen for some tedious woman’s problem and whilst I realise I’ve nothing the doctor hasn’t seen before, I was very distressed and embarrassed by the procedure and that was with my consent. A vaginal examination and a check for nits are not comparable.

    Also FGM does occur in my culture. Do you not think subjecting all girls to a degrading and humiliating exam because of practices of another culture might encourage racism and bigotry?

  93. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 8:39 pm  

    Also FGM does occur in my culture
    grrr fat fingers

    should read does not occur in my culture.

  94. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 8:44 pm  

    Clairwil – What a problem this is. You know my opinion of vaginal examinations. It must have been horrendous with you (mentally pats Clairwil on shoulder). The whole situation is horribly intrusive. Obviously we need to educate the parents of these children here in the UK. But how? They’re not going to listen to a middle aged ‘white’ woman like me. What’s needed are strong voices, male and female from the groups who practice FGM, but where we recruit them from is beyond me.

  95. Kulvinder — on 23rd October, 2006 at 8:55 pm  

    Just out of interest, what’s your take on human sacrifice?

    If the person concerned has no (nor have they ever had) any comprehension of whats going on, yeah sure do what you want. Theres little conceptual difference in my mind between a late term abortion and human sacrifice. If you’re asking would i condone the killing of new born babies; well, what is the difference in your mind between the cognitive abilities of a premature baby and one thats still inside the mother’s womb? To me its two sides of the same coin. If we were dealing with a euthanasia type situation, or even the volutary suicide of someone, i wouldn’t have any problem with ritualistic elements brought into that.

    I’m not in favour of anyone being allowed to run into the street and kill random people as and when they wish, but neither do i have moral reservations about letting people decide to die in a ritualistic manner. As for babies I’d be incredibly condescending towards any society that say killed the first newborn of every woman but i wouldn’t outlaw it.

    Kulvinder – whatever you think of the cruelty of depriving sons of abraham of 80% of their future sexual sensitivity, there’s a big difference between that and the FGM which deserves to be banned – that is a nasty practice altogether.

    FGM is an all encompassing term, the male equivalent of which would include circumcision. I can’t understand how you can take an arbitary moral stand point of FGM – as a whole – being a ‘nasty practise’ that i presume you believe needs banning and condoning male circumcision. I’d be happy with the equivalent practise on both male and female babies ie the removal of the clitoral hood/foreskin and discourage (because i disagree with it) though not ban (since its not my baby) anything more extreme.

    Neither do many severely mentally disabled people. Just becomes someone doesn’t know what’s going on and is not in a position to protest or prevent the other party’s actions, it doesn’t mean you have the right to “do it anyway”

    If they had some intellectual input prior to their disability (‘i don’t want this done to me’) id respect their wishes, in the absence of that its nonsensical to talk about what they want/wish; as disateful as this may sound, its like asking a dog its opinion of stem cell research. Besides which you do have the right to ‘do it anyway’ – thats what male circumcision is based on. We may not apply the logic fully but we accept it exists.

    And children, even the newborn, are not “blank slates” for you to treat as you will and possibly dispose of as you will (I know you’re not implying the latter, but it needs to be stated here in the context of this discussion). They have fundamental human rights in the same way as everyone else.

    Just to help me map out your moral framework, are you pro-choice?

  96. Don — on 23rd October, 2006 at 8:58 pm  

    ‘If the person concerned has no (nor have they ever had) any comprehension of whats going on, …’

    Why the proviso?

  97. Kulvinder — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:06 pm  

    Why the proviso?

    Lifesupport machine/vegetative state etc. I accept you can make a living will whereas a newborn cannot.

  98. Don — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:09 pm  

    I understood what the proviso meant. The question was why?.

  99. ZinZin — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:10 pm  

    Do you not think subjecting all girls to a degrading and humiliating exam because of practices of another culture might encourage racism and bigotry?

    I can not win on this one because if i suggest it is limited to at risk groups it will be refused on grounds of inciting racial hatred.

    Also whats worst a humiliating exam or FGM. The risk assesment approach that will win the argument.

  100. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:17 pm  

    Without doubt FGM is worse. My point is that the means suggested of preventing it are also unacceptable. Like you say it would be a disaster if it was only targeted a specific groups. So why not only do it on a case by case basis where there is a suspicion that it has or is likely to occur. After all we only intervene in other cases of child abuse where there is a suspicion abuse has taken place. Why should FGM be treated any differently?

  101. Kulvinder — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:18 pm  

    The question was why?

    Just that, to allow anyone to dictate what they wish to happen to their possessions or in this case person. Its little different to a will, i didn’t mean it as an absolute clause to exclude.

  102. ZinZin — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:39 pm  

    Without doubt FGM is worse.

    So why not only do it on a case by case basis where there is a suspicion that it has or is likely to occur. After all we only intervene in other cases of child abuse where there is a suspicion abuse has taken place. Why should FGM be treated any differently?

    Clairwil that sounds like racial profiling.

    To find out if FGM has taken place you have to take a look its not pleasent but it has to be done. Screening is the only option, how can you have suspicions of FGM without looking at the vagina.

    In short i go for an examination by a health profesional than let your genitals be cut up by your local hatchet women.

  103. Don — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:43 pm  

    Kulvinder,

    You misunderstand me. I wasn’t asking for clarification of the proviso. You are fairly insousiant
    about the uses to which people can be put, if they have never been in a position to express a preference.

    Why does that ability make a difference? If you are a fully functioning human, fully aware that you are being sacrificed, and are against the plan, why does that make a difference?

    If ‘simplistic notions of right and wrong don’t exist’, then why draw the line at consent? Do you draw a line? If so, with what do you draw it?

  104. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:45 pm  

    Kulvinder – Am I right in assuming you’re a medic?

  105. soru — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:58 pm  

    How practical would it be to develop a non-intrusive way of scanning for FGM and other abuses without anyone having to get naked?

    Some kind of ultrasound thingy, perhaps.

  106. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 9:59 pm  

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2416783,00.html

    Well the article Jagdeep links to above refers to a case where suspicion was aroused because of things the girl said. The Police were then able to intervene. Looking at her vagina would have proved nothing. What would you do with girls who refused to consent to the exam? Child sex abuse is serious but we do not have mass screening for that. What we do is investigate where there is suspicion that abuse may be taking place. I do not believe that race/ religion alone is sufficient grounds for suspicion.

    I am not advocating racial profiling nor am I racist.

  107. ZinZin — on 23rd October, 2006 at 10:04 pm  

    woah,woah sweet child of mine
    I never suggested for a moment that your racist.

  108. Clairwil — on 23rd October, 2006 at 10:05 pm  

    Zin Zin
    I realise that old bean but I took fright at what direction you might be going in with the ‘racial profiling’ bit.

  109. Chairwoman — on 23rd October, 2006 at 10:12 pm  

    Kulvinder – as I understand human sacrifice, it is ritual killing to placate or intercede with a deity. Also, it is generally performed in front of a congregation of acolytes. Surely these aspects makes it different from a late term abortion performed in an operating theatre by a surgical team.

  110. Kulvinder — on 24th October, 2006 at 7:59 am  

    Why does that ability make a difference? If you are a fully functioning human, fully aware that you are being sacrificed, and are against the plan, why does that make a difference?

    Because whats being done is against your wish/consent. I thinks its desirable for a society to consider the opinions all involved, you (as in society) may still decide to continue with the killing; that is after all what happens when death penalities are carried out but hopefully you’ve done it with some sort of due process.

    Kulvinder – as I understand human sacrifice, it is ritual killing to placate or intercede with a deity. Also, it is generally performed in front of a congregation of acolytes. Surely these aspects makes it different from a late term abortion performed in an operating theatre by a surgical team.

    Why? the surgical team and surroundings may make it a more clinical but if you were to add a congregation of acolytes to the mix you’d get the same ceremony.

    This isn’t to say i hate babies btw, but to me they don’t have the cognitive ability of those who are older. I can’t remember nor did i have any lucid understanding of anything as a newborn. If faced with a fairly horrendus choice of only being able to save a 10yr old or a newborn from certain death, id choose the 10yr old.

  111. Chairwoman — on 24th October, 2006 at 10:04 am  

    ‘This isn’t to say i hate babies btw, but to me they don’t have the cognitive ability of those who are older. I can’t remember nor did i have any lucid understanding of anything as a newborn. If faced with a fairly horrendus choice of only being able to save a 10yr old or a newborn from certain death, id choose the 10yr old.’

    Me too.

  112. Jai — on 24th October, 2006 at 10:56 am  

    Kulvinder,

    =>”Just to help me map out your moral framework, are you pro-choice?”

    My moral framework includes the Sikh principle of protecting the weak and the vulnerable. Since the unborn are the most weak and vulnerable of all, they also fall into this category, except in highly extenuating circumstances (extremely low chances of neonatal survival, horrific deformities, conception a result of incest/intrafamilial rape, etc).

    =>”If the person concerned has no (nor have they ever had) any comprehension of whats going on, yeah sure do what you want.”

    Speaking as someone who actually has some mentally-handicapped relatives, this just gets worse and worse.

    Kulvinder, would you also condone cannibalising comatose patients for “spare parts”, if they were unlikely to wake up and had given no explicit instructions before the accident stating their objections to this (and bear in mind that they hadn’t given their consent either) ?

    =>”As for babies I’d be incredibly condescending towards any society that say killed the first newborn of every woman but i wouldn’t outlaw it.”

    The mind boggles. So you don’t think that infanticide (the killing of newborn babies) should be classified as murder and outlawed accordingly ?

    If not, why not ?

  113. Chairwoman — on 24th October, 2006 at 11:15 am  

    Jai – I believe infanticide as a legal concept is the killing of a baby by a mother who is suffering from post natal illness. There has been a much publicised case in the papers over the past couple of days.

    I find Kulvinder’s views most unusual.

  114. sonia — on 24th October, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

    yeah clairwil – post no. 100 makes good sense and 106.

  115. Jai — on 24th October, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    Chairwoman,

    In some sections of Indian society back in the subcontinent, mothers deliberately killing female newborns (if they weren’t able to afford abortions or had no access to such medical services) due to a cultural/familial/personal preference for sons is a serious problem, and has been an issue there for centuries. There are also reports of some Western-based Indian mothers continuing this abhorrent practice for the same reasons, both in the UK and in North America. I hadn’t been aware of the latter until quite recently, although somewhat depressingly I can’t say I’m entirely surprised that this is still going on.

    I guess that’s the primary point of reference for my comments in this regard, although the wider principle of parents deliberately killing their babies for any selfish reasons (not due to postnatal depression) is something I strongly object to as well.

  116. Don — on 24th October, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    ‘I’d be incredibly condescending ‘

    Kulvinder, I can’t imagine you ever being condescending.

    Rightly or wrongly, I tend to see many of your arguments more as thought experiments or ways to probe an interlocutor’s argument rather than as held convictions. Either way, these by-ways cover some interesting ground.

  117. Chairwoman — on 24th October, 2006 at 12:29 pm  

    Jai – I was only talking about the British legal definition of infanticide. The abhorrant practice you mention has to be called murder.

  118. Electro — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:09 pm  

    I believe that Bill Clinton has recently been touring Africa persuading men to get circumcised as scientists have discovered that circumcised men are far less likely to contract or spread HIV.

    That’s utter twadle.

    During the 80s I worked with an aids advocacy group and at the time the stats from both the U.S. ( where most gay men are circumcised) and the U.K. (where most gay men are intact) demonstrated that both groups had almost identical rates of infection.

    The only thing both groups had in common was a high degree of promiscuity. The more you’re promiscuous the more likely you are to contract the virus.

    What most people don’t know is that back in the 20s and 30s the myth that circumcised males were much less likely to contract V.D. was widely circulation. As a result many men, such as Frank Capra, underwent circumcision in the false belief they’d be immune, or nearly immune to contracting V.D. They weren’t. Such nonsense even contributed to an upsurge in the V.D. rates because when imbued with a false sense of security men became more promiscuous.

    And Capra deeply regretted having had the procedure done, saying that when making love his penis had become so desensitized it felt as though he were wearing a boxing glove as a condom.

    This same old canard has re-emerged lately. People cite studies concerning HIV infections between different groups of African males; half circumcised, the other half not. They “found” that the circumcised group had lower rates of infection and so concluded that circumcision helped protect against HIV infections.

    What they neglected to mention was that the circumcised groups had socially conservative mores, had fewer extra-marital affairs and were much less likely to frequent prostitutes. The rates of infections were thus lower, but only because the rates of promiscuity were lower as well.

    The circumcision argument concerning AIDs rates is very irresponsable and dangerous because it gives individuals the false impression that A SURGICAL procedure is a magic bullet protecting them from infection, and that false impression will only lead to more promiscuity and higher rates of infection.

    BEHAVIOR, particularly promiscuous BEHAVIOR involving multiple sex partners is mainly why people become infected. These days, though, no one wants to mention personal responsability when it comes to contracting HIV; it’s just to retrograde and stuffy.

    We say “wear a condom” when we should be saying “stick to one sex partner”.

    Finally, there are plenty of studies demonstrating that cicumcised males engage in more extreme sexual practices. It was discovered that they do so because their penises had become de-sensitized and as a result sexual pleasure had to become more extreme to achieve the same level of enjoyment felt by intact men.

    Afterall, circumcision is a form of mutilation; it leaves the penile head dry, scarred, leathery and very desensitised, and when performed on adult males can sometimes lead to a curvature of the penis ( a “bent” dick) that can become so severe as to make intercourse practically impossible.

    I see no asthetics in that!

  119. Kismet Hardy — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:13 pm  

    I’m circumcised. It was a horrific episode. Don’t like talking about it as the instruments weren’t sterillised and the whole village clapped while I got mutilated, but the happy ending to the story is: my dick is really beautiful

  120. Jagdeep — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:19 pm  

    Did they take pictures and serve something like a birthday cake to celebrate Kismet?

  121. Anas — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    What they neglected to mention was that the circumcised groups had socially conservative mores, had fewer extra-marital affairs and were much less likely to frequent prostitutes. The rates of infections were thus lower, but only because the rates of promiscuity were lower as well.

    Is that because the circumsised men were more likely to be Muslim?

  122. Sunny — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    Interesting post Electro.

  123. Leon — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    Finally, there are plenty of studies demonstrating that cicumcised males engage in more extreme sexual practices. It was discovered that they do so because their penises had become de-sensitized and as a result sexual pleasure had to become more extreme to achieve the same level of enjoyment felt by intact men.

    Christ I can actually see a way of turning that paragraph into a post about Israel/Palestine!

  124. Chairwoman — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

    Electro – I actually saw Bill Clinton in Africa, on the television promoting circumcision. You obviously have issues with circumcision. That’s your problem.

    Kismet – Of course it is.

    Anas – Or Jews.

  125. Chairwoman — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

    Leon – Not this time. Both sides Sons of Abraham.

    Anas – Just don’t :-)

  126. Leon — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

    Not this time. Both sides Sons of Abraham.

    Heh, it’s easy, it’s all too easy!

  127. sonia — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

    so electro – as you seem to be a bit more knowledgeable – what about the other so-called health benefits of being circumsised – true or more rumour?

  128. sonia — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    there seems to be very little reliable neutral information – some people are for and some people are against and that seems to cloud judgements.

  129. Jagdeep — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:44 pm  

    I’m sorry but I think this discussion has gone far enough and should be chopped and any further talk of circumcision should be cut off immediately.

  130. Jagdeep — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:45 pm  

    There used to be a skinhead punk rock band called the Four Skins.

  131. Leon — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

    I’m sorry but I think this discussion has gone far enough and should be chopped and any further talk of circumcision should be cut off immediately.

    Agreed, if there was ever a need for sensitivity for men (rarely I admit) it’s now.

  132. Jagdeep — on 24th October, 2006 at 2:52 pm  

    Things are coming to a sensitive head and will have to be dealt with with surgical precision.

  133. Chairwoman — on 24th October, 2006 at 3:11 pm  

    Sonia – I think it’s a matter of personal choice. It’s the antis who have the agenda. They want to remove the choice.

    Meanwhile, I think I’ll cut and run.

  134. Kulvinder — on 24th October, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

    Kulvinder, would you also condone cannibalising comatose patients for “spare parts”, if they were unlikely to wake up and had given no explicit instructions before the accident stating their objections to this (and bear in mind that they hadn’t given their consent either) ?

    Condone it! i think thats a very good idea! Though cannibalising is just being emotive.

    So you don’t think that infanticide (the killing of newborn babies) should be classified as murder and outlawed accordingly ?

    If not, why not ?

    Because i’d have a very hard time justifying the ‘do as you wish’ attitude i have towards abortion. I can’t see why its bad to kill the same entity outside the womb but condone it whilst its inside.

    Rightly or wrongly, I tend to see many of your arguments more as thought experiments or ways to probe an interlocutor’s argument rather than as held convictions.

    I’m quite sincere :(

    Alright lets try another way, Jai would accept abortion if there was severe physical deformity and i think the general thoughts against mutilation are that it would ‘reduce’ the babies ‘ability’ in the future. Would any of you allow
    what we consider a disability or handicap to be engineered in? This has happened with a deaf couple ‘choosing’ to have a deaf baby. If we say no, that we should not allow diabled children to be produced, and we terminate them before birth, what exactly is the difference between that act and saying its not ok once they are born?

  135. Kulvinder — on 24th October, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    nb the doctors would be about to pull the plug on the comatose patient

  136. Electro — on 24th October, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    Is that because the circumsised men were more likely to be Muslim?

    Nope. Religion makes no difference. How many cases of aids among the Amish (always uncut) has anyone ever heard about? The Amish aren’t into multiple partners, so they’ve extremely low rates of infection.

    It’s an individual’s behavior that makes the difference.

    Polish and German gays are both uncircumcised, but the latter have much higher rates of infection. Poland is still kinda 1950s and so gay “liberation”, and the behavior that tends to entail, has yet to make the inroads there that it has in West European countries.

    Electro – I actually saw Bill Clinton in Africa, on the television promoting circumcision. You obviously have issues with circumcision. That’s your problem

    Have a hero cookie, darlin’. Clinton’s hypocrisy shows once again; the fella is intact, but he feels that others shouldn’t enjoy the same status.

    Sonia – I think it’s a matter of personal choice

    Yes newborns and young boys are always making choices for themselves!

    Were males left intact until adulthood, I doubt that many of them…whether Jewish or Muslim… would voluntarily opt for the “procedure”.

    Afterall, one can still hear without ones outer ears, but who’d want to have ‘em chopped off. Having no outer ears is unattractive, and with no earlobes you can’t wear jewelry and you lose two secondary, but still important, erogenous zones.

    so electro – as you seem to be a bit more knowledgeable – what about the other so-called health benefits of being circumsised – true or more rumour?

    Cervical cancer is another false start. Over the past 10 to 15 years cancer researchers have discovered that there’s a large genetic component to the maladie.

    Girls born into families that have higher rates of breast cancer tend to be more susceptable to the disease than those girls from family backgrounds with less breast cancer.

    To claim otherwise is tantamount to saying an uncircumcised guy masturbating, rubbing himself between his wife’s cleavage means she’s more likely to develope breast cancer.

    It’s plainly stupid!

    And as for contracting HIV, the identical stats for HIV infections in British gay men ( mostly intact) and American gays ( mostly cut) demonstrates, without any doubt whatsoever, that circumcision makes no difference.

    Once again, personal responsability, lifestyle choices and minimal promiscuity are by far your best chances for avoiding the disease. Stick to one partner.

    Listen up!

    That position, however, is extremely unpopular because it undermines the billions made from the sex-trade, not to mention the obscene profits generated from all the products sold by associating them with “getting the girl” or “getting the guy”.

    Few people realise……apart from maybe the Pope….. just to what extent celibacy and monogamy give turbo-capitalism a kick in the teeth.

    “Safe sex” (promiscuity with a condom) is really just a corporate logo.

    If girls would stick to one guy and guys to one girl, they’d both save shitloads of money be eschewing the fancy duds, the perfumes, the big cars, etc, etc, etc.

    To boot, they’d be healthy!

    As someone in their lates 40s, this is something I’ve learned……but only in retrospect…..

  137. Chairwoman — on 24th October, 2006 at 4:47 pm  

    You’re very selective about your medical facts Electro, aren’t you. Cervical cancer is not genetic. It’s primarily caused by substances trapped under the foreskins of men who don’t keep themselves clean. Young girls are now going to be innoculated against it, the first one in the UK was innoculated yesterday.

    Are you a parent? If so have you made choices for your children? If you’re not, and you haven’t, then you’re not in a position to pontificate to those of us who have and do. If you are, then some of the choices you have made would not have been made by your children if they had had the opportunity to choose.

    BTW before my husband died, we’d been together for 30 years, we had been monogamous, thank you, I don’t need your morality lecture, and our only child is female, so no issue there.

    Your high-handed pomposity just gets right up my nose.

  138. Kulvinder — on 24th October, 2006 at 4:49 pm  

    Were males left intact until adulthood, I doubt that many of them…whether Jewish or Muslim… would voluntarily opt for the “procedure”.

    Afterall, one can still hear without ones outer ears, but who’d want to have ‘em chopped off. Having no outer ears is unattractive, and with no earlobes you can’t wear jewelry and you lose two secondary, but still important, erogenous zones.

    Actually i’d quite fancy it after you mentioned the extreme sex acts, i’ve semi-toyed with the idea of a prince albert, penile piercings and body modifications aren’t only done on religious grounds.

  139. Leon — on 24th October, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

    Were males left intact until adulthood, I doubt that many of them…whether Jewish or Muslim… would voluntarily opt for the “procedure”.

    Yep, my attitude to religion is similar; don’t indoctrinate them, let them decide when they feel ready too.

    As for the rest of your post, moral tones aside, very interesting stuff. Can you provide links to your points (just in case any of us happen to be working on a piece about sex education in schools koff koff)?

  140. sonia — on 24th October, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

    eugh this thread is now putting me off my pain au chocolat im off!

  141. Electro — on 25th October, 2006 at 2:29 pm  

    It’s primarily caused by substances trapped under the foreskins of men who don’t keep themselves clean.

    There ya go!

    Cleanliness is something parents are supposed to teach children. We teach them to wash their privates in much the same way we teach them to wash between their toes.

    Are you suggesting, Chairwomen, that we practise circumcision as a way of circumventing parental responsabilities as pertains to teaching our offsring good personal hygiene?

    So your lover is cicumcised, it’s just that his feet smell like two pots of blue cheese and he’s got potatos and other tubers thriving in the wax that fills his ears!

    Once again, it is irresponsable, misleading and downright dangerous to spread the myth that circumcision can help guard against ANY form of V.D.

  142. Chairwoman — on 25th October, 2006 at 2:38 pm  

    Parents teach their children to be clean, but have you ever been in a young man’s apartment?

  143. Electro — on 25th October, 2006 at 10:03 pm  

    Chairwomen, I think you’re a decent sort. Like all British people you’re feisty and have stamina. Your bulldog properties tell me you won’t let this thread go easily!

    Have I ever been in a young man’s apartment?

    I used to be a young man with an apartment, a VERY messy apartment, Chairwomen, so I DO get your point.

    That said, I never neglected my personal hygiene.

    Most young men don’t, as a matter of fact. Something about “getting” the girl, and all.

    That way SHE can clean the apartment!

    Even the sexiest and smartest of women can be cajoled, humoured by young men into becomming “mummy”, if only for the time it takes to straighten things up.

    One more thing; I may not be clairvoyant, but I’m sure your husband loved you very, very much.

  144. Don — on 25th October, 2006 at 11:19 pm  

    Some things are best left unsaid.

  145. Clairwil — on 26th October, 2006 at 12:24 am  

    Electro,
    You seem like a wonderful fellow but don’t you think your tone towards the Chairwoman is just a teensy bit patronising? I am certain that is not how you meant it. However it comes over a bit ‘there there dear’ and I won’t have it on my watch.

  146. Clairwil — on 26th October, 2006 at 12:27 am  

    Oh and another thing. If even the smartest, sexiest woman can be cajoled into cleaning one’s flat, can you tell me how to do it? Mine is a tip and I’ll sprout a cock before I tidy it.

  147. Electro — on 26th October, 2006 at 2:34 am  

    I didn’t mean to be patronising with Chairwomen, Clairwil, but I’d imagine it’s somewhat difficult to get over losing someone after 30 years of marriage. That’s all that was meant.

    As to your question; I’ll leave the answer up to your powers of seduction. In any case, would you really want to marry a glorified ‘merry-maid’?

  148. sonia — on 26th October, 2006 at 10:39 am  

    obviously electro’s never been in any student digs – male or female.

    good one clairwil. what a smug attitude on his part – i think we should get hold of whichever poor muggins he has got hold of to clean for him and alert them to what he’s been saying on internet threads. that’ll teach him :-) she’ll throw the sock at him for his cold-blooded manipulative approach.

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