After allegedly being referred to the parliament’s disciplinary committee over his comments supporting female genital mutilation (FGM), MP Elhamy Agina said that he refuses any law that bans FGM because it will not be properly applied.
In an interview with a privately-owned TV news channel, he said the constitution grants him his basic right to express his opinion. He said that it is not a crime to state an opinion, whatever it may be.
Agina added that the law that bans FGM has been put into effect for 10 years, and it has not been properly applied once, even with the severity of penalties.
International rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Egypt on Friday to enact harder penalties on the practitioners of FGM. These calls come one week after parliament voted in favour of increasing the legal penalties. The amendment on the law will punish those who practice FGM with a 15-year prison sentence if the child dies and 7-year sentence for performing the procedure.
Agina, who is a member of parliament’s Human Rights Committee, claimed that about 64% of Egyptian men suffer from impotence, and thus girls should undergo FGM to reduce their sexual desires.
Several MPs filed complaints to parliamentary speaker Ali Abdul Aal following the controversial Agina’s statements, demanding his referral to the disciplinary committee. However, Agina said that he hasn’t yet received anything official pertaining to the referral decision.
Among countries with widespread FGM practices, Egypt comes in sixth place, according to UNICEF, with an estimated 85% of the female population between 15 and 49 having undergone the procedure.