Ultra-Orthodox Jews launch million-pound fundraising bid to stop children living with ‘irreligious parents’

Aug 16, 2016

Ultra-Orthodox Jews are raising £1m to prevent “pure and holy” children from leaving the strict faith community and living with “irreligious parents” in an “evil culture”, The Independent has learned.

The fundraising drive has been established to fund the legal fees of divorcing parents involved in child custody battles with ex-partners who want to join mainstream society.

The Independent has seen flyers for a fundraising event in the Stamford Hill area of London that call for the community to back the bid, saying: “Rescue The Children Convention: We now need one million pounds and therefore the community is requested to join in with a minimum sum of £500.”


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64 comments on “Ultra-Orthodox Jews launch million-pound fundraising bid to stop children living with ‘irreligious parents’

  • 1
    Pinball1970 says:

    how shocking is this?

    A culture within a culture and a backward one at that reading this.

    Would this be bigger news if it was Islam you think?



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  • So, it turns out that I’m an irreligious parent living in an evil culture.

    Well, they should be thankful that they’re living in the only kind of society that accommodates all religious sects; a secular one.

    However, under no circumstances will they have any excuse to complain if their policy of seperating children from one another along religious lines results in prejudice and discrimination.

    But, of course, they will complain, and blame we irreligious members of said evil culture.

    Par for the course.

    Let ’em get on with it.



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  • They don’t stand much chance of success – there’s plenty of case law in the UK which places severe limits on the extent to which religion can influence decisions about parental custody. The over-riding question is the best interests of the child.



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  • @OP – The fundraising drive has been established to fund the legal fees of divorcing parents involved in child custody battles with ex-partners who want to join mainstream society.

    This is just a new twist on an old religious ploy.

    In divorce situations, religious groups opposed to divorce, have been posing for years as “marriage councillors” to “save marriages”, and rescue children from living with one parent in a “broken home”.

    Desperate naive people, have been conned into agreeing to use their services and referrals, unaware that their objectives are to obstruct the divorce, or act in the interests of a religious group’s dogmas, rather than the best interests of the people concerned.
    The obstruction of the break-up of an abusive partnership, is a “marriage saved” and the “sanctity of marriage” preserved!

    They usually have some “faith-sharing” doctors or psychiatrists, to call on as “expert witnesses” in the divorce court case, – assuming that the case makes it to court, rather than being subject to some “religious mediation”!



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  • I wonder how much support we could gather, WW, if we proposed that children should not be allowed to enter any house of worship, for any purpose, nor to attend religious ceremonies, until they reach the local age of majority ? Perhaps exceptions could be made for purely secular things like piano lessons in the church basement, etc. Home school types would be exempt, unfortunately. Weddings ? Hmmm. You can’t prevent parents from teaching myths in their own home, to their own children. And of course they can teach whatever morality they like.



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  • You can’t prevent parents from teaching myths in their own home, to their own children.

    Perhaps, but surely western democracies should have made illegal the ritualistic blood sacrifice of the useful foreskin! – FGM IS illegal (yet nobody in the UK has ever been prosecuted after their daughter has been cut!) It’s about time some men/women started suing their parents! Barbaric nonsense that is completely legal in the 21st century is a disgrace!



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  • @OP – The Independent has seen flyers for a fundraising event in the Stamford Hill area of London that call for the community to back the bid, saying: “Rescue The Children Convention:

    It sounds very much like the psychological projection characteristic of repressive organisations!
    Escaping children must be “rescued” from being liberated – and returned as mind-slaves to their repressive captors!

    In the outside world, they might achieve critical thinking skills and dismiss the feeble arguments of orthodox fundamentalists! – A horrifying prospect for orthodox god-delusions!



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  • M27

    I have heard you express your horror with (male) circumcision before. Have you seen anyone about that? Get over it. It’s cleaner to be circumcised, and looks nicer; and it’s not dangerous. It’s a tradition amongst secular Jews, and widely practiced by gentiles all over the globe. I think it’s terrific.



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  • 10
    Pinball1970 says:

    @#9

    They dont do it for medical reasons Dan that is the whole point, its a tribal religious ritual.

    Also things can go wrong since medicine is not the priority, unqualified people without proper instruments or clean surgical conditions.



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  • Well it’s one ritual that doesn’t bother me. But I have a vested interest in saying that. (What’s done cannot be undone.)

    Isn’t there an aesthetic piece? Take a poll. And 90 percent of pediatricians think it prevents UTIs and other infections, is cleaner.



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  • 12
    Pinball1970 says:

    @#11

    Isn’t there an aesthetic piece? Take a poll. And 90 percent of pediatricians think it prevents UTIs and other infections, is cleaner

    In terms of UTIs, phimosis (where the foreskin is too tight) and cancer these are legitimate medical reasons.

    Penile cancer is very rare however and would not have been a motivation for this early tribal practice probably but phimosis may have been.

    I would regard MGM as FGM – because it is mutilation in honour and a promise to YHWH and Allah.

    FGM has zero benefit MGM may have some preventative benefits but the data is not conclusive.

    The data is also not a motivation for the practice this is an afterthought provided by the scientific community used for justification by the religious community.



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  • I have heard you express your horror with (male) circumcision before. Have you seen anyone about that? Get over it. It’s cleaner to be circumcised, and looks nicer; and it’s not dangerous. It’s a tradition amongst secular Jews, and widely practiced by gentiles all over the globe. I think it’s terrific.

    Aye and it de-sensitizes your glans-Penis – meaning that men with foreskin enjoy sex a lot more – hence the religious barbaric removal at a pre-sexual age! Cleanliness is another religious lie! I have had no problems with keeping my tackle in good working order! And if at 18, a man wants to chop it off for “Aesthetics” (or religion) then he can pay to have it done! Don’t go chopping off bit’s that have a function and have clearly been developed by genes that are still in the gene-pool!!! It should be illegal (to remove without consent) and I can’t fathom why it isn’t!



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  • Dan @11, your parents performed a clinical procedure on you that wasn’t required clinically, and without your consent – I’d sue them! (Foreskins are good for playing with – trust me on this – and a third party manipulation is better still!)



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  • 15
    Pinball1970 says:

    @#14
    “and without your consent”

    Yes a key point I missed.

    In terms of hygiene, Hitchens described how baby jewsish boys contracted herpes in New York due to the practice of removing the foreskin with the teeth in some ultra orthodox branch.

    The infected Rabbi passed it to each child.

    I don’t have the book here so someone can expand on dates and how many were affected.

    Picturing that medieval practice is as bad as it gets for me.

    A baby boy bled to death from a botched home circumcision not that long ago in the North West. Oldham or Rochdale?

    Birmingham NHS has had many admissions with infected botched circumcisions, girls are usually sent home for theirs, Pakistan Bangladesh Somalia.

    Its barbaric, non scientific, unnecessary and should be criminalized in all civilized society.



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  • and – If Circumcision’s are being performed on the NHS – for religious purposes – that’s a lot of budget used up for unnecessary clinical procedures + unneeded resource allocation!
    OR NHS money/time taken up dealing with the botched DIY jobs! – So many reasons’s for this anachronism to be eradicated from any sane-society!



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  • I have still yet to hear a simple answer to a question I ask repeatedly about these people. What the hell do they do for a living? Where does their money come from? How are they able to feed and clothe themselves?

    Radical Islam is funded by oil. What natural resource, if any, is supporting these cretins?



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  • bonnie

    I think that as you pointed out, if moms and dads were required to stand there and watch the procedure that they have signed their baby up for, then there’d be many less circumcisions in this world. Before they sign off on it, they should be fully informed of all medical risks and future consequences of the procedure. Then if they still think it’s so necessary to proceed then they must stand there and watch it happen.

    I think that if we are ever to be rid of this barbaric and unethical practice it would need to be made illegal. There is too much pressure on young parents by the older generation of religious families. Secular young parents are misinformed by members of the family and friends about medical benefits of circumcision. To work around all of this we would really need laws to prevent it. Then the religious and misinformed seculars would be able to say “I can’t circumcise him, it’s illegal!” and they’d be off the hook.

    The sanitation factor is ridiculous. Is mens’ junk so much more difficult to clean than women’s junk? I doubt it. Ears can be a cleanliness challenge too but we don’t go around lopping them off of unsuspecting babies.



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  • 20
    Pinball1970 says:

    @16

    Yes thanks for the detail and that image Bonnie…

    It was also “suction” of the blood rather than biting the fore skin – noted.

    @19

    Its not junk Laurie some of us are very attached to that important anatomical feature as you pointed out it is not problem washing it.

    I think feet are much harder to wash.

    I think if this article was regarding muslims I would be apoplectic so I have to watch for bias creeping into my arguments going forward.

    What if this was…what if this wasn’t… is a good method. Difficult though when you get item after item after item ALL negative.

    I think its ok now though, I am suitably and equally horrified and disgusted.



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  • Laurie 19

    Not only did they watch (the men I think?) but I have the closeup pictures to prove it LOL! The only pain I can remember was when the two men pulled my legs apart to an angle I was not happy with. There was pain later that evening though. I remember wanting to go for a wee but was afraid to. When I finally had to, the bandage that was wrapped around got in the way and I pissed on it which then soaked through to my wound and burned like hell. But, I was soon running around holding my loose gown at the front as I walked.

    My eldest son had a very tight foreskin so had to be circumcised. I was in a bit of a dilemma with the second son. He was not constantly getting infections but was spending a lot of time with my dad while we worked. He kept asking when I was going to get him done and I kept putting it off. I was also worried about the two brothers having trouble with their differences. That sounds crazy but My wife is English and we live in the UK. I didn’t spend much time with the Turkish community so I was in danger of losing that part of me. Who cares you say! Well, I cared enough to have him done as well so we could all look the same when we went swimming. It really was not an easy decision and I regret it only because it would have been the right thing to do to not have it done. I remember wanting to get out of bed and play with the presents I was given, especially a plastic cowboys rifle, the most and that is what mine remember too.

    @M27Holts

    meaning that men with foreskin enjoy sex a lot more

    Leaving us to get on with pleasing the ladies…….Oh yeeeeeeeh!!!!!!!!



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  • Olgun

    That’s really interesting because it’s a very similar story to the one my husband tells about his circumcision. He gets very visibly conflicted about it. It’s definitely a bad memory of pain and fear but when I go off on my usual rant about the cruelty and, I must admit I suspect sadistic perversion of those itinerant circumcision “specialists” he talks about, but then guess what he says next?…How much he loved the presents and gifts of money and candy!! His expression at this point is very confused and then he does say that this practice has to end.

    So now, I do get your conflict over your sons. I can relate to it completely. When my son was born here in Boston I chose to have him circumcised. No I didn’t watch it. I felt very guilty about it. The reason I said yes to the procedure was because we were going back to Algeria when he turned three months old and I was worried that in the years to come when we lived there and when he would visit as a child with his father and when he would go on his own as a teen or young adult, that my in-laws would take it upon themselves to invite one of those “perv specialists” in to do the job while the kaffira mom wasn’t around to object. I couldn’t take the chance that someone would go at him with a straight razor so I signed the consent form. That’s my sad and conflicting circumcision story. A confession I suppose.



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  • Holts

    men with foreskin enjoy sex a lot more

    You know Holts, this being a website for science and reason and me having a certain appreciation for experimental design and all, I can’t help but wonder if you have any empirical evidence to support that statement. Do you?

    If not, then I really would be interested to hear yours or anyone else’s experimental design to see how we could get to the bottom (et-hem) of this important question. How could we figure it out and stay within ethical guidelines?



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  • Pinball

    Its not junk Laurie some of us are very attached to that important anatomical feature as you pointed out it is not problem washing it.

    Is the term “junk” an Americanism? I can’t tell. If so, I think I can say there’s no negative connotation associated with it. haha.

    I think feet are much harder to wash.

    I agree with you about the feet.



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  • Laurie—

    Come on. I was being provocative.

    But let me ask you something, and we’re all adults here: isn’t a circumcised male genital organ more aesthetically pleasing to the eye? That is a cultural thing, I am sure; but everything is. I am asking you as a denizen of Western Culture.

    Someone told me I should “sue my parents.” It’s a thought. Do you know a good lawyer?



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  • I assumed you were too, Dan, but we all do have our quirks, so… My own experience having no real skin in this game [sarcasm – and reality], is that it wasn’t anything I ever gave any thought to growing up. Certainly I didn’t initially know there was another way. And growing up, of course thinking that the ‘American/Jewish’ version of the penis was the idealized version for so long, once I encountered an uncircumcised one for the first time (it was definitely not the norm where I grew up), likely in a locker room, it seemed rather odd; like an anteater. I remember feeling bad for the foreskinee since he was the one in that environment who was “different”. Of course experience gives us a different perspective on such things. And though I’ve never had a complaint about any issues of sensitivity (specifically meaning lack thereof) I can only wonder what could have been. Though this is fleeting since, as I mentioned, it’s never been an issue. FGM seems to me a wholly different issue where there is far less negotiable morality involved.



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  • Steven! Hi!

    FGM IS a different issue. Seems, Stephen! Nay, it is; I know not ‘seems.’

    FGM is cutting or removal of the labia or clitoris! How can anyone compare the two? No sense of proportion.

    As far as my own mutilated member goes I am unaware any adverse effects…. It only gets hard in the middle; but this is normal, right?

    (There’s a thread on Pinker. If you have an opinion about him I’d be interested to hear them.)



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  • Laurie (#25),

    I think there are other things to worry about than this issue. Really. Your son, I assume, is fine. No adverse effects whatsoever, I assume.

    You do it in infancy. Not after that. I never heard of it being done later in life. But I’m not surprised.

    Interesting side note: My maternal grandfather Fritz was, as you know, born in Ulm, and was very affluent. He wasn’t circumcised, because the rich, assimilated, highly cultivated German Jews – and he was part of that culture – regarded not being circumcised as a symbol of elitism and a sign of prestige.



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  • Dan

    My preference on this is completely irrelevant and that goes for all women and their preference in this matter. What if women started preferring men who gouge their eyes out? For christ’s sake half the world would be blind!! What won’t men do to attract the attention of women? They do everything under the sun. So don’t ask women what configuration of penis is in style this season. What if women start to prefer men with penises tattooed on every square cm in black and fluorescent orange and pink? What do you think would happen then?

    This is a medical ethical issue and it’s not right to chop off any body part of an infant if there is no medical reason to do so. (Don’t tattoo them either!!) That’s all that matters on this issue. If men choose to do that as adults for whatever reason, medical or because they think that women will be more willing to fall into bed with them then that’s their choice. Stupid choice but whatever.

    Seems strange that you know the state of your late Grandfather’s penis. I’m sure I don’t know about any male in my family except my brother and my son. Hmmm. I do come from a puritanical bunch, I guess that explains it.



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  • As almost everyone posting here is secular and/or irreligious, if not completely atheist, the support for male circumcision is basically an American anomaly.
    In secular society outside of the USA, male circumcision is relatively uncommon.
    It provides interesting insights to see an irreligious American defend the practice.
    Perhaps it can be seen as “culture” (i.e. a practice passed down from generation to generation).

    Let’s see if we can quickly dispose of the three main arguments for male circumcision…

    (1) It’s aesthetically pleasing – ROFLMAO. Aesthetics is in the eye of the beholder. “I think it looks nicer” is an argument for an adult to make for themselves, and not an opinion to be foisted on an infant. The same comment could be made of “scarification” (ritual scarring) as practiced by some indigenous peoples; are we to also allow that (to be inflicted on minors) in civilised society?

    (2) It’s better for sex, whether for the member’s owner, their partner, or both. Difficult to establish scientifically! There are two theoretical arguments against. First, uncircumcised members are better protected and don’t become desensitised by rubbing against clothing etc. (so, at least for the owner, should give more feeling during the act). Second, from an evolutionary aspect, I find it hard to imagine that surgery is required for us to be at an optimum: I can’t think how to flesh this argument out more, perhaps someone would like a go? Seems to me a circumcision should be treated like an appendectomy; no problem if it becomes medically necessary, but otherwise there’s no point.

    (3) It’s healthier. It’s significant that the American medical community (who make a fair amount of money from this) are almost alone in this delusion amongst secular nations, and outside of the USA, men just wash their willies every day instead of cutting bits off it. For every American study showing it’s hygienically necessary, there’s a non-American study debunking it.



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  • Laurie, yes, Good point about preferences. Sorry. As you said recently: “guilty as charged.”

    As for my grandfather, I found out because my mother told my late father that story (years ago when they were married). My father did not believe it and called his father-in-law up and asked him. Vet embarrassing to my mother.

    So that was how I found out. My mother told me that story, about how my father reacted.

    Now as for my uncle and my three first cousins, what happened with them was…. Just kidding.



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  • What MadEnglishman says, well summed up. That should be case closed. There is no justification for this particular piece of cosmetic surgery, but any consenting adult can do what he pleases, if he pays for it.

    On sensitivity, here’s another fine example of Knowledge vs Information. However well informed you are, you can’t Know what the other side feels. Mushroom vs Anteater? You’re one or the other. Just, all you Mushrooms out there — leave them kids alone!

    Plus, as a side-effect: as long as the male mutilation is “acceptable”, it’s much harder to put a stop to the female “equivalent”.

    So many good reasons to end this barbaric practice. And no good reasons, no Reasonable nor Scientific justification for it to continue. Foreskins to the Fore, Forever. As GWB might have meant: You’re either foreskined, or you’re with the tear-off-ists.



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  • Hypothesis: the deliberate assault of male circumcision at an early age is either intended to, or has the effect, of de-sensitising, toughening, brutalising, “manning up” young males, making them grow into less empathetic and potentially more cruel adults than they would otherwise. It also reinforces the power of Authority to overrule natural protective parental instincts.

    That’s the hypothesis. Discuss. Suggestions for (ethical) experiments, research, statistical analysis to bolster or refute this would be most welcome. (Obvious counter-example, to set the ball rolling: Nazi Germany).



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  • This is a civilised and informative debate on genital mutilation, but the issue of whether all mutilation of minors should be illegal cannot be solved by anecdotes, or negotiation between individuals with differing opinions and emotional responses to the subject. All superficial differences between cultures are part of the trial-and-error process of improving human culture as a whole, and we all try to copy good ideas and avoid bad ones. But to mutilate a boy or girl is to use force in reducing the choices available to a growing child, which damages cultural evolution as a whole and may damage the particular child. As we become globally aware as a species, we must have a basic set of laws that absolutely prohibit the initiation of force and enable our cultures to interact without conflict. Therefore, the mutilation of the foreskin must be made illegal, so that only adults can select this course of action, if they see benefit in it. A parallel would be the difference between euthanasia by a totalitarian state (using force) and assisted suicide by a terminally ill individual (who is deemed to own his or her own body).



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  • You know Holts, this being a website for science and reason and me having a certain appreciation for experimental design and all, I can’t help but wonder if you have any empirical evidence to support that statement. Do you?

    I thought that may be brought up, and the answer is NO. Clearly any subjective “qualia” is very hard to capture and as such, how would one go about proving this empirically.
    But, I am basing my hypothesis on the fact that IT IS proven empirically that removal of the foreskin DOES lead to de-sensitisation of the glans penis. you can then hypothesize that such de-sensitisation will cause some slight denigration in sexual pleasure! also there is the movement of the foreskin up and over the glans penis during masturbation – obviously leasing to a different kind of friction than a penis denuded of it’s foreskin!
    This is a side-show however – No parent has the right to chop bits off their children (unless advised to do so for CLINICAL reason’s only) – and it’s time for a total ban on ALL children phenotype modification! Once the person is 18 or whatever they can have any mods they want!



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  • Ross Millburn #37

    Excellent post, Ross. If you’re new here, welcome and please stick around! (From a user who doesn’t comment very often, but reads with interest.)



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  • This is beginning to sound like the war on drugs. FGM is class A with circumcision being the equivalent of pot. The damage that FGM does is immense but it seems, circumcision not so much.

    To smack or not to smack? Do the young need guidance or not? Indoctrination into religion or science or just forget the lot and live like nature intended? How about tattoos? Ear piercing? Picking their own schools?

    Anecdotes should not be dismissed so easily. It can’t be left out when human social sciences are involved.



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  • M27Holts #38
    Aug 25, 2016 at 3:16 am

    But, I am basing my hypothesis on the fact that IT IS proven empirically that removal of the foreskin DOES lead to de-sensitisation of the glans penis. you can then hypothesize that such de-sensitisation will cause some slight denigration in sexual pleasure!

    Despite the semantics, FGM is not the female equivalent of male circumcision, but in both the aim of desensitising for religious reasons is the same.

    The physical female equivalent of male circumcision is “unhooding” but that is to enhance sexual sensitivity not reduce it!

    http://www.clitoralunhooding.com/faq-drbenson.html

    What are the main reasons a woman would want to have a Clitoral Unhooding done?
    I’ve discovered that in most cases, the main reason is always the same. The woman wants to have the procedure done to help her reach orgasm faster, or to have a much stronger climax. Another reason given frequently is that the woman wants to improve her potential for having multiple climaxes. There’s been some data that says that roughly 15% of the population is capable of multiple climaxes and that number improves significantly with a Clitoral Unhooding.




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  • 42
    Pinball1970 says:

    40 oli“FGM is class A with circumcision being the equivalent of pot. The damage that FGM does is immense but it seems, circumcision not so much.”

    If its done for tribal or religious reasons it’s the same crime against the child civilized society.

    oli“To smack or not to smack? Do the young need guidance or not? Indoctrination into religion or science or just forget the lot and live like nature intended? How about tattoos? Ear piercing? Picking their own schools?”

    These things are not the same.

    Anyone who tattoos or pierces a baby is a complete idiot and you could have an argument for neglect or abuse.

    You cannot account for stupid, abusive, or neglectful parents and it up to other family members, schools, social services, the police and the law to make a call on whether a parents action has resulted in a crime.

    FGM and MGM have no reason behind it, just a date of when is best to do it, we have established there is no sound medical reason, the only consideration is, “Is the baby part of the club?”

    If the answer is yes then off it comes.

    Do women prefer it off? Does a woman get more from a hood removal? (this made me squirm in my seat and I am a male) Do I have a suspicious lesion that could be the beginnings of squamous cell carcinoma?

    Great stuff get it off, make the decision as an adult, just don’t expect it to be tolerated, respected or condoned by a civilized society.

    Ban it.



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  • Pinball

    Not really much argument from me on most of your points but finer detail is needed. As far as I know, all Muslim countries circumcise males ( a lesser crime phstically) but only a few do FGM. The greater evil is easy to tackle with a ban but just because it is religious is not enough. It is enough for arhiest like us but not the liberal masses. Banning or lifting a ban I still have not made my mind up on. I get the legalising and controlling but also know the illegal is tempting for some. Even those that dip only one toe. It could be that the illegal and therefore dangerous exists along side the legal not really solving anything. With circumcision will be up to the victims to complain. Women are doing this and so they should but don’t know of any men doing so.

    The reason I included smacking etc, is to ask how
    Much we can interfere. Juvenile delinquency is blamed by some parents feeling they cannot do anything to their children without getting into trouble themselves. My eldest jokingly threatened to take me to court once. Can’t remember what it was about?

    Clarity is a wonderful thing but very rarely a possibility. FGM is a distraction not an uncovering and Alan’s point I think. From a trauma side of things, I don’t think I suffered any, not enough to remember anyway so, I have to ask what will bring about bigger problems. A slow educational process or an instant ban that will see many going to a back street surgery ( he laughs) or simply going back ‘home’ and coming back sans foreskin.



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  • 44
    Pinball1970 says:

    @oli how Much we can interfere

    Using a knife on a baby causing pain distress and irreversible damage would be treated as a crime in EVERY other circumstance.
    Even if babies never got infected or died or were properly anaesthetised and pain was managed properly afterwards so urinating was not painful (excruciating for a baby possibly) it would be treated as a crime if it were not for the religion get out of jail card part.
    I think if a law was passed similar to the FGM law in the UK then the majority of people would be ok with it.
    An offence to do it in the UK or take the kid abroad to do it.



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  • I agree with you again Pinball but all I can think of now is the Foreskin Police! People have a tendency to disappear ‘home’ for six weeks by which time the wound is mostly cleared up. This too can work for women as well but they have a lot more to complain about and the momentum. I think it is an easier target with fewer who practice it. I know for sure that if it were outlawed for boys, most of the people I know would fly off to Turkey and get someone like ‘Sunnet Baba’ (think he has gone now?) to circumcise boys with a laser on what amounts to a conveyer belt. Boys sat on a large revolving velvet seat until their turn. I might be a little behind the times on this and they might have banned it? Will this be another thing that teachers will have to call out and inform the police? I just think a ban might just make things unmanageable thats all.



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  • Olgun,

    How are you?

    This thread is odd. Why is everyone up in arms about circumcision? It’s not as bad as infant baptism and religious indoctrination of children, and it has the added advantage of preventing urinary tract infections.

    I don’t know a single person who has ever expressed regret about having been circumcised. (But I never asked either, and would they admit it?)



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  • @Dan #49,
    There you go again, “the added advantage of preventing urinary tract infections”.
    A bold claim that (as has been stated already) has almost no support in secular medical societies outside the USA. [And remind me, what were the other “advantages”? The way you phrase it implies that the purported medical advantage is a bonus, and you’d still be an advocate even if the medical advantage were tiny or zero. Which it is.]

    At risk of sounding like an anti-vaxxer, this really does look like a case of the US medical establishment engaging in a conspiracy for profit to foist an unnecessary procedure on the public in order to profit from it. (Though I suspect it’s more a case of individuals telling themselves “we’ve always done it, and I don’t see the harm” while they bank the daily take.)

    But “it’s not as bad as infant baptism ” (it’s worse) “and religious indoctrination of children” (debatable, apples and oranges).

    As to regret, there’s no point asking anyone who was circumcised as a minor.

    However it would be interesting to poll adults who were active sexually before and after getting circumcised. And then comparing those who were forced into circumcision in the prime of their life e.g. for medical reasons, with those who were voluntarily circumcised, e.g. for religious reasons. And see how many (in the respective groups) expressed regret. I suspect the former group will be full of regret. (The latter group may be less inclined to admit it.)



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  • No takers on the hypothesis that MGM is, to put it Pink Floyd’s way “Another Brick in the Wall”? Or maybe a toughening-up process, like Johnny Cash’s “Boy Named Sue”.

    Regret or the lack of it would not be a useful indicator. Even though “Sue” in JC’s story decided not to continue that particular tradition.



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  • Everyone:

    Okay. I hear you, all of you.

    I never thought about circumcision until now. I understand and appreciate all of your points.

    I just can’t get myself to feel concerned about this, for some reason. Maybe I am too preoccupied with Trump who will behead the nation.



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  • 54
    Pinball1970 says:

    @#53Dan

    How happy do you think you could have been with a foreskin? You have no idea.

    Perhaps that pain early traumatic experience shaped you life?

    It’s very unlikely but my point is no one asked you.

    I think O’ hooligan was on the right track when he mentioned “Another brick in the wall” we have removed some bricks but there are a few that should not be there.

    We are open to new ideas, liberal, pluralists, but we have measure the individual’s right to practice religion against what is considered moral behaviour in a civilized society.

    1/Cutting a piece off a baby – wrong

    2/Halal / Kosher slaughter – wrong

    3/Wife beating – wrong

    4/Keeping slaves – wrong

    5/Death penalty (various) – wrong

    6/Religious courts (muslim/Jewish) – wrong

    7/The OP- preventing kids of divorced parents jumping ship to the secular/ non religious side – wrong

    7/ Burkha ??? I have changed my mind so much on this one I have to say the jury is out. It probably should not be banned.



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  • Dan #49
    Aug 25, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    This thread is odd. Why is everyone up in arms about circumcision? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and it has the added advantage of preventing urinary tract infections.

    You really should look up medical information from reputable studies.

    Circumcision removes some concentrations of cells which trigger immune defensive reactions to most infections. – hence increasing the risk of infection.
    The exception is AIDS which attacks the immune system and uses it as as a way into the body.

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/cellular-microscopic/circum-aids.htm
    The Ugandan study reports a 48 percent reduction in AIDS infection in the circumcised group; that reduction is 53 percent in the Kenyan findings. These studies were also ended early, once preliminary results were in, in order to offer the men in the control group the opportunity to get circumcised.

    ­ The numbers are pretty shocking, especially considering that AIDS vaccine researchers typically aim for a 30 percent decrease in risk of infection from intercourse with an infected partner. Why might circumcision offer such a high protective effect? It may have to do with the composition of that foreskin that gets removed during circumcision.

    ­First, the foreskin is delicate and very susceptible to tears during intercourse. This provides an easy entry point for the AIDS virus, which creeps in through the torn blood vessels. But the bigger issue is the high concentration of a type of white blood cell in the foreskin. Langerhans cells are present in the foreskin, and especially in the underside of the foreskin, in very high concentrations. These cells are “sentinel cells” of the immune system. Located in the skin, they are some of the first to detect and pick up an antigen for processing. An antigen is a foreign substance that triggers an immune response when it gets in the body. A virus, such as HIV, contains antigens.

    Because there are so many Langerhans cells in the foreskin, and because these particular cells seem to be excellent at binding to HIV antigens, when the foreskin tears during sex with an HIV-infected woman, there is a very good chance that those blood cells are going to contact and bind to the virus. Langerhans cells are supposed to trigger the immune system’s antibody response that fights off the virus; but once HIV gets in, the immune system can’t seem to fight it effectively. Once the foreskin is removed, the increased risk of blood exposure and the higher concentration of HIV-receptors in that blood disappears.

    Of course circumcision is only partially effective in reducing AIDS transmission, so it is a poor substitute for using condoms – but it is better than nothing in the specific case of AIDS!



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  • Dan #53
    Aug 25, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I never thought about circumcision until now. I understand and appreciate all of your points.

    I think this site has discussed many many examples of people who accept and defend religious tribal assumptions, with thinking, or critically thinking, about them!

    Beware of retrospectively making up unevidenced rationalised “justifications”!



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  • Hi, Alan,

    I am, finally, not against male circumcision for infants, consider it a non-issue, and still think it is more hygienic and is more aesthetically pleasing. (yes, that is a cultural thing, as Laurie said. But everything “aesthetic” is.) Are you for it or against it? Against it, I would say. I think it’s fine, and was merely saying that I respect the opinions of my esteemed fellow members. (Absolutely no pun intended.)

    I fear I am alone on this one.

    Yes, it has a ritualistic aspect, but so does waving the frigging flag. And the latter is more dangerous.

    If I had a kid, I’d do some serious research after reading all this stuff. So I guess I am not entirely sure of myself. See? I am reasonable and honest. Maybe this is a rationalized justification. I sound like I’m on the fence, don’t I? And yet, I wonder how many opponents of this practice are themselves uncircumcised, and are expressing a weird form of penis envy. Rationalized justifications can be hard to detect in oneself.

    [Off-topic last paragraph removed by moderator.]



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  • Dan #57
    Aug 27, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Hi, Alan,

    I am, finally, not against male circumcision for infants, consider it a non-issue, and still think it is more hygienic and is more aesthetically pleasing. (yes, that is a cultural thing, as Laurie said. But everything “aesthetic” is.)

    Hygiene is only an issue among those who do not wash!

    Are you for it or against it?

    In England among the secular population, it is “a non-issue”.
    It is simply not done unless it is for some medical condition.
    Like most of the population, am not circumcised and neither are my sons.
    As with female genital mutilation. the religious requirement is simply to reduce sexual stimulation: – part of their fixation on sexual repression, – probably to redirect sexual frustration into religious fervour and aggressive proselytisation, – or in the cases of females, to limit satisfactions to those of motherhood in the raising of the large large families, characteristic of spreading these sects and maintaining numbers as some escape into the rational world.



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  • I’ve been reading up on it, and not with any great interest, Alan. It does seem like none of the arguments in favor of it have stuck; but I think it requires less labor to clean the area. And although I am not a urologist I can’t imagine that bacteria isn’t likely to get trapped and then settle within the area enclosed by the foreskin, eventually traveling upward, making its way into the urethra.

    Female circumcision is an atrocity.



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  • Dan #59
    Aug 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    And although I am not a urologist I can’t imagine that bacteria isn’t likely to get trapped and then settle within the area enclosed by the foreskin, eventually traveling upward, making its way into the urethra.

    That is only likely to happen with a medical condition, where a tight foreskin does not fully retract, or when people do not wash!
    Generally the sheath of foreskin protects the more delicate inner surfaces, and also maintains their sensitivity by preventing friction from clothing.

    In my comment on AIDS @55, I link an article which explains concentrations of protective Langerhans immune system cells in this.



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  • I feel bad now. Why did my parents mutilate me?

    Like I said, get a lawyer and sue them! If every man who was chopped before 18 years old and for no-clinical reason did that – I’m sure the practice would SOON disappear!
    Mind you – thousands of girls are mutilated outside of, but return to Britain , and not one set of parents of these girls has ever been jailed. Why not? A clearer case of allowed abuse is hard to imagine – I would jail the parents for LIFE. Better start building some more prisons me thinks…..



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