ⓘ Forced circumcision refers to circumcision of males who have not given their consent to the procedure. In a biblical context, the term is used especially in rel ..


ⓘ Forced circumcision

Forced circumcision refers to circumcision of males who have not given their consent to the procedure. In a biblical context, the term is used especially in relation to Paul the Apostle and his polemics against the circumcision controversy in early Christianity. The most common form of forced circumcision is performed widely in Israel and the United States, where it is known as neonatal circumcision. This form of circumcision involves the circumcision of a male newborn. Although their parents may consent to it, the males themselves do not, therefore making it forced. Among adults, forced circumcisions have occurred in a wide range of situations, most notably in the compulsory conversion of non-Muslims to Islam and the forced circumcision of Teso, Turkana and Luo men in Kenya, as well as the abduction of South African teenage boys to so-called circumcision schools. In South Africa, custom allows uncircumcised Xhosa-speaking men past the age of circumcision to be overpowered by other men and forcibly circumcised.


1.1. History and contemporary forced circumcision Hasmonean Kingdom 140 BCE–37 BCE

1 Maccabees relates the story of how Mattathias ca. 166 BC forcibly circumcised the sons of Jewish parents who had abandoned the rite. Forced circumcision of Gentiles by Jews is attested from the second century BC onwards. In 125 BC John Hyrcanus conquered Edom, which the Romans called Idumea; and the Idumeans were converted to Judaism. As reported by Josephus, circumcision was required of the Idumeans as a token of their acceptance of Judaism:

Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.

Scholars disagree on the interpretation of the sources. For example, Steven Weitzman believes the Idumeans were forcibly circumcised for political, not religious, reasons. According to Shaye J. D. Cohen, "Ptolemys claim, that the Idumaeans were compelled to be circumcised and to adopt Jewish ways, is a simplified account of what these urban Idumaeans experienced." During the short reign of Hyrcanus eldest son, Aristobulus I 104-103 BC, the Hasmoneans gained control of Galilee. In this case, too, sources indicate that the residents were subjected to forced circumcision. Archaeological evidence suggests that, during this period, Gentiles fled from Galilee to avoid being forcibly circumcised.


1.2. History and contemporary forced circumcision Roman Empire

Greeks and Romans regarded circumcision as a mutilation of the male genitalia, but the practice is little discussed in Roman literary sources until the second century of the Christian era. There was a circumcision controversy in Early Christianity but this was resolved at the Council of Jerusalem c.50 which made it clear that circumcision of gentile converts to Christianity was not required. Josephus who changed his allegiance from the Jews to the Roman Flavians reports that two Roman officers who had taken refuge with Galileans during the war with Rome early 67 AD were put under pressure to convert to Judaism. Josephus, declaring that "every one should worship God in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience," claims to have saved the two Gentiles from forced circumcision. After the First Roman-Jewish War, a head tax, the Fiscus Judaicus, was levied against all Jews. According to Suetonius, Domitian c.90 also applied this tax to those who were circumcisied, even if they claimed they were not Jews. Titus Flavius Clemens consul was put to death in 95 for adopting Jewish customs. In 96 Nerva relaxed the Jewish tax as applying only to those who professed to be Jews. Sometime between 128 and 132 AD, the emperor Hadrian seems to have temporarily banned circumcision, on pain of death. Antoninus Pius exempted Jews from the ban, as well as Egyptian priests, and Origen d. ca. 253 says that in his time only Jews were permitted to practice circumcision. Legislation under Constantine, the first Christian emperor, freed any slave who was subjected to circumcision; in the year 339, circumcising a slave became punishable by death.

Although Greco-Roman writers view circumcision as an identifying characteristic of Jews, they believed the practice to have originated in Egypt, and recorded it among peoples they identified as Arab, Syrian, Phoenician, Colchian, and Ethiopian; circumcision was a marker of "the Other". Diaspora Jews might circumcise their male slaves as well as adult male converts and Jewish male infants. According to Catherine Hezser, it is an open question whether Jews of late antiquity refrained from forcibly circumcising their Gentile slaves and whether Romans avoided selling their slaves to Jews in reaction to the prohibition. The Mishnah compiled about 200 AD is silent on this point, whereas the Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael written at the end of the fourth century or later suggests that Jews might indeed possess uncircumcised slaves.


1.3. History and contemporary forced circumcision Asia and North Africa

Forced conversions, involving forced circumcision, are echoed in a vast body of scholarly literature spanning the entire history of Islam. Scholars conclude that, during the Islamic conquest of the Middle East and North Africa, forced conversion to Islam through violence or threat of violence did not play a key role. However, taxes and regulations requiring the holders of prestigious positions to become Muslims have been regarded as a form of forced conversion.


1.4. History and contemporary forced circumcision South Asia

In the aftermath of the 1780 Battle of Pollilur, 7.000 British soldiers were held imprisoned by Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan in the fortress of Seringapatnam. Of these, more than 300 were forcibly circumcised. Cromwell Massey, who kept a secret diary during his captivity, wrote: "I lost with the foreskin of my yard all those benefits of a Christian and Englishman which were and ever shall be my greatest glory." Adolescent captives were, in addition to being circumcised, made to wear female clothes. James Bristow, a teenage artilleryman, revenged himself by circumcising dogs, believing that this would harm the religious feelings of the Muslim warders. The prospect of punishment did not deter him, because "compelling us to undergo an abhorred operation They slashed me and they circumcised me by force. I screamed a lot and cried for help. He complained that police left him in a pool of blood, taking weapons left behind by the Kikuyu gang.

In September 2010, at Malaba, West Kenya, a 21-year-old Teso man was lured to a hotel, drugged, smeared with fermented millet flour and was being led away by several Bukusu to be circumcised when the police intervened. The Teso man, who agreed to a medical circumcision, condemned the Bukusu youths for trying to impose their culture on the Teso. Three weeks previously, village neighbours in Aedomoru sub location in Teso north armed themselves with clubs and prevented a 35-year-old man from being forcibly circumcised.


1.5. History and contemporary forced circumcision South Africa

In 1999, a woman who was feared throughout the Vaal Triangle district of South Africa, controlled a gang of kidnappers that abducted young people, forcibly circumcising the boys and extorting ransoms from their parents for their release. A local police officer said as many as 10 teenagers had been snatched every day.

In 2004, a 22-year-old Rastafari convert was seized by relatives and forcibly circumcised by group of Xhosa tribal elders and relatives.

In December 2004, 45-year-old Nceba Cekiso was caught and circumcised against his will. The report in the Cape Argus noted,

"Xhosa culture allows people to forcibly circumcise boys deemed to be past the age of initiation. Forcing people do undergo the ancient ritual. has, in recent times, caused concern among human rights organisations. In one instance two Rastafarians objected to the procedure on religious grounds. The incident has sparked a debate on whether or not traditionalists should still be allowed to force people against their will into the bush to undergo initiation.

Despite being medically circumcised, a Christian Xhosa was forcibly recircumcised by his father and community leaders in 2007. He laid a charge of unfair discrimination on the grounds of his religious beliefs, seeking an apology from his father and the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa. In the settlement that was reached, and which was made an order of the Equality Court, the Congress of Traditional Leaders accepted the right of adult males to choose whether to attend traditional circumcision schools according to their religious beliefs. It apologised for the comments made by its former chairman encouraging the ostracism of teenagers who refused to undergo traditional circumcision. The judge declared, "What is important in terms of the Constitution and law is that no one can be forced to submit to circumcision without his consent."

According to South African newspapers, the subsequent trial became "a landmark case around forced circumcision." In October 2009, the Bhisho Equality Court High Court ruled that, in South Africa, circumcision is unlawful unless done with the full consent of the initiate. According to Thembela Kepe, traditional leaders allege that the ban on forced circumcision is "a violation of cultural rights enshrined in the Constitution."


1.6. History and contemporary forced circumcision Sudan

There is ample evidence that, for years, Christians of Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan have been forcefully converted to Islam, and that Christian men and boys have been forcibly circumcised. Examples of Dinka boys having been forcibly circumcised in the 1990s and 2000s are known from the context of traditional slavery, still endemic in Sudan.


1.7. History and contemporary forced circumcision Uganda

In 1885, Kabaka Mwanga ordered the murders of Bishop James Hannington and many local Christians. During the following period, Islamization led to several Christians being forcibly circumcised.

As discussed by anthropologist Suzette Heald and other scholars, the Gisu alternatively, Bagishu of Uganda "take pride in not tolerating uncircumcised men." For this reason, in Gisu society, any boy or man who has been able to escape ritual circumcision called "imbalu" faces the prospect of being forcibly circumcised. Voice of America, referring to the same practice, reports: "Among the Bagishu, uncircumcised men are treated with contempt; they are not allowed in society and in most cases they are seen as failing to get local women for marriage. This is supported by all the Bagishu including women who often report uncircumcised men to tribal elders. Its considered traditional that no male is to escape the ritual regardless of where he lives, what he does or what kind of security he has."

In 2004 a father of seven was seized and forcibly circumcised after his wife told Bagishu tribal circumcisers that he was uncircumcised. A local official said the authorities could not intervene in a cultural ritual. Other forced circumcisions occurred in September 2006 and June 2008. In all these cases, family members of the victims approved of the forced circumcision. Other tribal groups in Uganda and the Ugandan Foundation for Human Rights Initiative regard forced circumcision as a human rights abuse. The Ugandan Government and the President of the Ugandan Law Society condemned the incident, but the victim refused to press charges.


1.8. History and contemporary forced circumcision Australia

Traditional circumcision is still practised in some tribal areas of Australia. Linguist and anthropologist Peter Sutton, commenting on forced circumcision and the absence of law enforcement in remote settlements, claims that Australian law has been applied in a patchy way: "Involuntary circumcision has long been widely accepted as being de facto outside the scope of Australian law." Late in 1996, 34-year-old Irwin Brookdale was drinking with a group of Australian Aborigines on the banks of a river in far north Queensland. After he passed out, a woman in the group felt down his pants, found that he was not circumcised and called on her companions to "make a man out of him." They attempted to circumcise him with a broken beer bottle. Brookdale ended up in hospital, one of his assailants was convicted of unlawful wounding and Brookdale was awarded A$10.000 compensation for nervous shock.


1.9. History and contemporary forced circumcision Breakup of Yugoslavia

The breakup of Yugoslavia, according to Milica Z. Bookman, "was extremely violent, producing some two million refugees, over 100.000 killed, and evidence of gang rape, impaling, dismemberment and forced circumcision."

The US Department of State reported that Muslim and Mujahedin irregular troops "had routinely performed crude, disfiguring, nonmedical circumcisions on Bosnian Serb soldiers." One 18-year-old Bosnian Serb soldier "was so brutally circumcised that eventually the entire organ required amputation."

  • Male circumcision has often been, and remains, the subject of controversy on a number of grounds - religious, ethical, sexual, and medical. In Classical
  • banning circumcision some dating back to ancient times, have been enacted in many countries and communities. In modern states, circumcision is generally
  • Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the human penis. In the most common procedure, the foreskin is opened, adhesions are removed, and the
  • Religious circumcision generally occurs shortly after birth, during childhood or around puberty as part of a rite of passage. Circumcision is most prevalent
  • Circumcision has ancient roots among several ethnic groups in sub - equatorial Africa, and is still performed on adolescent boys to symbolize their transition
  • The distribution of circumcision and initiation rites throughout Africa, and the frequent resemblance between details of ceremonial procedure in areas
  • circumcision is considered, by several groups, to be a form of violence against young men and boys. The International Criminal Court considers forced
  • circumcision It is intended to replace the traditional brit milah, and is promoted by groups such as Beyond the Bris and Jews Against Circumcision
  • raise awareness about the forced genital mutilations and to prohibit genital mutilation and involuntary or forced circumcision on children internationally
  • Forced prostitution, also known as involuntary prostitution, is prostitution or sexual slavery that takes place as a result of coercion by a third party
  • genital mutilation FGM also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female