Alternative lecturer offered after Trinity professor’s remarks on FGM

Callum Lavery

A new lecturer will be provided for Trinity students offended by their lecturer’s remarks on Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM).

Trinity College was said to have received “a large number” of complaints against Dr Ali Selim’s Arabic language students after he said he thought female circumcision should be allowed in Ireland on a case-by-case basis and with a doctor’s approval.

Tom Molloy, the university’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications has confirmed that offended students will now be allowed to study under an alternative lecturer.

“In response to complaints from a large number of Dr Ali Selim’s students, Trinity College Dublin will facilitate parallel Arabic language classes by a second teacher,” said Molloy in a statement released to Trinity News.

Dr Selim appeared on the Pat Kenny show on February the 15th to defend his comments saying that he originally misunderstood the term circumcision and then described the practice as un-Islamic.

When asked whether he condemns the practice as he now understands it, Selim replied: “Yes of course, it’s always wrong and it has no religious foundation.”

However, Speaking on Prime Time earlier this month, Dr Selim said: “I am not an advocate of female genital mutilation, but of female circumcision.”

“If we see female circumcision in the same way as male circumcision, it might be needed for one person and not another, it has to be determined by a doctor and practiced in a safe, medical environment.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states the “procedure has no health benefits for girls and women”. Globally, the United Nations estimates that “at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM”.

Dr Selim concluded his interview on the Pat Kenny Show by saying: “I’m not a medical doctor. I’m not a native speaker of English either. My English is really good but definitely sometimes it lets me down.”

“I was out of my comfort zone and I misunderstood the terms as the medical experts would use them.”

VP for Welfare and Equality in DCU, Podge Henry, said: “It is good to see that Dr.Selim apologise for what he had said. As it was said, circumcision for women has no medical benefits so suggesting to mutilate a gender for no health reason is not right.”

Callum Lavery