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Egypt MP in hot water after backing FGM because ‘men are sexually weak’

Head of Egypt’s National Council for Women calls him a man suffering from ‘psychological complexes’

Published: Updated:

An Egyptian parliamentarian recently made an outrageous statement when he criticized a law which spelt out tougher penalties to those performing female genital mutilation (FGM), saying the practice is needed because many men in the country are “sexually weak.”

For the MP, Elhamy Agina, FGM is a solution since the cruel operation will “reduce a woman’s libido,” making her a match to what he described as “sexually weak men.”

FGM, practiced among minority Christians as well as Muslims, involves the removal of the clitoris and, sometimes, even more extreme mutilation in a bid to control women’s sexuality.

He also said his home country is “the biggest consumer of sexual stimulants that only the weak will consume.”

The state-owned English language Ahram Online said Agina is expected to be investigated by the parliament’s ethics committee over his comments.

Agina also received a lot of flak on social media and galvanized media attention for his odd defense for FGM, but the torrent of reprimand did not sway him from his stance even though he tried to give a half-hearted apology.

“I did not mean to humiliate the Egyptian people,” he told the Egypt-based Al Mehwar station in an interview published by the local website Parlmany on Tuesday.

I will not make my daughters go through the procedure [FGM]

Elhamy Agina

Acknowledgement

In the interview, Agina himself acknowledged that FGM is a “crime,” and said he will never “make his daughters go through the procedure.”

But he reiterated: “65 percent of Egyptian men suffer from sexual weakness or impotence,” even describing himself “sometimes a sufferer.”

Mervat El-Talawy, head of Egypt’s National Council for Women, was perplexed over Agina’s remarks, calling him a man who is suffering from “psychological complexes.”

“It not possible that he [Agina] can deride the parliament, the great legislative institution. How could a man like that represent us, the people!” Talway said in an interview with Alhayat TV.

She added: “How can he oppose the government on a law like that?”, calling the practice as an “embarrassment” to Egypt “in the whole wide world.”

“I oppose all parents who think they can have the power to do such an act [FGM]. I speak at schools against the practice. I tell sheikhs and the endowment minister to denounce the practice during Friday sermons,” she said. “We must change the culture.”

Amendment

In late August, Egypt approved a cabinet bill amending the law criminalizing FGM, calling for tougher punishments for those convicted of performing the procedure.

In early 2015, Egypt witnessed the first FGM conviction, seven years after its criminalization.