Wednesday, June 19, 2013

ITALY: Jews and Muslims co-operate on (male) circumcision

Italy: Jewish and Arab doctors to cooperate on circumcision

Rome meeting hears 35% secret operations by Muslims

(ANSAmed) - Rome - Muslim and Jewish doctors for the first time have reached agreement on key health issues including circumcision which has become an emergency among members of Italy's Islam community.

The cooperation emerged from an 'ad hoc' meeting organised between Foad Aodi, the president of Italy's foreign doctors' association (AMSI) and Dario Perugia, the president of the Jewish doctors' association.

Unlike Jewish newborns who are circumcised by doctors under the supervision of a synagogue, one third of Muslim children are circumcised in secret locations with the risk of complications and infections.

Aodi said this affected a large number of children, given there are 1.3 million Muslims in Italy.

AMSI has been fighting for change for some time because circumcision (not to be confused with illegal practices like female genital mutilation) occurs in clinics or locations that were part of the national health service.

[But many Muslims want as desperately to cut their girls, to a similar extent and for the same reasons.]

He stressed it was important to protect children's health. Health authorities also want to eliminate the circumcision 'black market' that is flourishing in Italy where doctors can be paid a thousand euro for a single operation, forcing many families to make great sacrifices or return to their countries of origin. [Or not do it.]

AMSI together with Italy's Arab community and the cultural association "Uniti per Unire" and Jewish doctors are proposing that the service be offered at a maximum price of 100 euros. That has already been introduced in regions including Emilia Romagna and Veneto but there is now a push for a national approach.

"Every day we receive telephone calls from three or four families who are desperate because they don't know where to go," Aodi said. (ANSAmed).

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