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Educate yourself on facts about circumcision

Male circumcision is a controversial topic in that there is no legal or scientific clarity revealing the absolute benefits and drawbacks of male circumcision. It is an Abrahamic tradition practiced for centuries due to religion and culture. The letter published in yesterday's The Daily Targum titled, "Circumcision, genital mutilation must end," was so preposterous I felt compelled to respond. The author says, "The act of circumcision for religious purposes is a very thinly veiled excuse to mutilate a baby's genitals," as if Muslims and Jews have ulterior motives for circumcision. The author used the word mutilate to describe circumcision when all the procedure does is remove foreskin. Should we call tummy tucks mutilation as well? The author only lists the downsides of circumcision while completely ignoring the benefits. Numerous scientific articles cite the positives of circumcision, including how it reduced the rate of HIV infection among heterosexual men in South Africa by 60 percent.

Interestingly enough, three separate studies halted their research on circumcision because circumcision has been so effective at preventing HIV that it would be unethical to continue. Not ignoring the downsides, it is possible that very few babies lost their lives due to circumcision, but out of how many millions of successful circumcision procedures? I question because it has been tested for centuries as a safe procedure, and complications are probably due to a surgeon's error rather than the danger circumcision imposes.

The author is convinced that circumcision is a great injustice, but what circumcised male cried injustice? I have never read or heard a single comment about the injustice or remorse of circumcision, so if the men are happy with themselves, why bother mentioning it? As far as human rights are concerned, it is up to the parents to decide whether or not their child should be circumcised. They should be completely aware of any drawbacks or complications due to the surgery and asked to sign a form stating their intent for circumcision. Other than that, no one and no government has any right to interfere with a religious practice that has been proven to be safe for centuries. No parent should be forced to have their child circumcised or uncircumcised.

The author argues that anyone who thinks that circumcision should continue is disgraceful to our species. Completely ignoring the benefits and oversimplifying a complex issue is, in the words of the author, a "thinly veiled excuse" to bash religion and its practices rather than taking a bipartisan approach to this controversial topic. The only one that is disgraceful to our species is the one who is ignorant by choice.  

Imraan Jan is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in biological sciences with a minor in Middle Eastern studies.

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