Saturday, March 16, 2013

TUNISIA: Women slam MP for pro-circumcision stance

Egypt Independent
March 11, 2013

Tunisian representatives rejects pro-circumcision remarks

A secular-leaning member of Tunisia’s Constituent Assembly demanded that a representative of the ruling Islamist Ennahda movement apologize or resign for remarks he had made in support of female circumcision.

“It is unreasonable that a representative values a crime like this committed against women in several states,” Nadia Shaaban, from the Modernist Democratic Pole, said during an assembly session on Monday, commenting on remarks made by Habib Louz.

Louz, a hawkish figure in Ennahda, had told Al Maghreb newspaper on Sunday that female circumcision is an act of “beautification of women, and does not affect her (sexual) appetite.” Louz added that circumcision is “non-mandatory,” citing religious edicts by Egyptian preacher Wagdy Ghoneim.

In areas of high temperature, people practice female circumcision for sanitary and medical reasons, Louz also claimed.

Shaaban described the remarks, aired live by state television, represent an insult to Tunisian women and a coup against the Tunisian revolution. “Instead of pushing society forward, Louz wants to push us backwards,” she said.


Alarabiya - AFP
March 11, 2013

Tunisian MP stirs row after female circumcision remarks

Lawmakers from Tunisia's secular opposition Monday denounced remarks attributed to an MP from the Islamist Ennahda party that female circumcisions in Africa are carried out for “aesthetic' reasons.

“It is unacceptable that a member promotes crimes against women,” lawmaker Nadia Shaaban said in the National Constituent Assembly, referring to remarks purportedly made by Habib Ellouze, an MP from the ruling Ennahda.

“In the (African) regions where it is hot, people are forced to circumcise girls ... because in these regions clitorises are too big which affects the spouses,” Ellouze was quoted in an interview published in the Sunday edition of Maghreb newspaper as saying.

“There are more circumcisions but it is not true that circumcision removes the pleasure for women. It is the West that has exaggerated the issue. Circumcision is an aesthetic surgery for women,” he was quoted as saying.

Ellouze on Monday accused the newspaper of distorting his quotes, saying the journalist “attributed remarks to me that I have not said.”

“She insisted that I respond to the question and I told her that it is a tradition in other countries,” Ellouze said in the assembly.

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