“It is a sobering fact that in the public debate [about circumcision] we observed partly antisemitic and racist undertones.”


Milah UK

What makes Brit Milah different to Female Genital Mutilation?

Deeply flawed comparisons are often made between the religious circumcision of boys and Female Genital Mutilation. These two practices could not be more different.

Female Genital Mutilation involves the partial or complete removal of the genitalia. The result can make intercourse extremely difficult and or painful¹ and can be the cause of a number of serious medical complications including haemorrhage, urinary retention, urinary infection, wound infection, septicaemia, tetanus and hepatitis².

Brit Milah is a minor procedure, carried out by a trained practitioner in a clean environment which has no recognised negative impact on the child or on the rest of his life. Of course there are risks associated with any such procedure but complications arising from Brit Milah are not mutilating, and are usually negligible.

For these reasons, just as carrying out Brit Milah is a requirement of Jewish law, carrying out Female Genital Mutilation would be an extremely serious breach of Jewish law.


¹Lightfoot-Klein, H. (1989). “The Sexual Experience and Marital Adjustment of Genitally Circumcised and Infibulated Females in the Sudan”. The Journal of Sex Research 26 (3): 375–392.

²Abdulcadir, J; Margairaz, C; Boulvain, M; Irion, O (2011). “Care of women with female genital mutilation/cutting”. Swiss Medical Weekly.