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Open letter to Muslim religious leaders

Open letter to Muslim religious leaders

7 May 2019

Public debate on the conditions for consent to circumcision

To the attention of the French Council of the Muslim Faith and the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris


Droit au Corps has just sent the French government an appeal titled « To open a public debate on the conditions of consent to circumcision ». We wanted to inform you as early as possible. We believe that it is in everyone’s interest that such a debate be initiated in a calm atmosphere and within the framework of a shared ethic that gives priority to alleviating suffering in the world.


  • that circumcision is not mentioned in the Koran and is not one of the conditions for becoming a Muslim;
  • the importance in Islam of Abraham’s son, Ishmael, who was 13 years old at the time of his biblical circumcision;
  • the prospects opened up by the symposium on the future of circumcision, organized in 2015 by the Association des Médecins Israélites de France and the Fonds Social Juif Unifié, and taking into account that the Bar Mitzvah is held at the age of 13 (see our open letter to Jewish religious leaders);
  • that studies recognized by the World Health Organization, according to which circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection from women to men in the case of vaginal penetration, make it questionable to prohibit this option for individuals at the age to have such relations, with a significant number of young people exploring this type of relation from the age of 13, according to available statistics;
  • that from the age of 13, a young person is considered sufficiently responsible for his or her actions to be put in prison (in France);

it seems to us that all the conditions are in place for a public debate on the conditions for consent to circumcision, which would allow a consensus to be reached among all parties, a balance point that can alleviate as much suffering as possible.

We draw your attention to the fact that this appeal targets the very specific case of circumcision of newborns, an age when effective anesthesia entails a higher risk of death. We ask you to urgently call for an end to a religious practice particularly harmful at this age, which would be to your great credit and would in no way call into question the principle of circumcision delayed until the age of consent, a practice that is compatible with Islam and socially acceptable.

We are at your disposal for any further information.

With kind regards,

Droit au Corps

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