THERE are growing calls for a Trinity College Dublin lecturer to be dismissed after he appeared to suggest female genital mutilation (FGM) should be legal in Ireland.
Arabic lecturer Dr Ali Selim told RTÉ Prime Time on Thursday that he was an “advocate” of female circumcision, and that the practise should be allowed with a doctor’s approval.
Since 2012, it has been illegal to perform FGM in Ireland or to take a girl outside of the country to have the procedure done.
Dr Selim expressed his opposition to the ban as female circumcision is “provided for” in Islam because of a saying by the Prophet Muhammad.
Kevin Keane, President of Trinity College Dublin’s Student Union (TCDSU), has now called for Dr Selim to be dismissed over his “dangerous” comments.
In a letter to Provost Patrick Prendergast, Mr Keane wrote: “A person who would advocate, openly and without shame, for a universally condemned, dangerous and evil practice whose sole purpose is to torture and subjugate, has no place in Trinity’s community of learning”.
Below is a copy of a Letter @TCDSU_President delivered to the Provost today. TCDSU demands the dismissal, without delay, of Ali Selim. He has defended the most barbaric of practices- Female genital mutilation- & there is no room for such views in the community of TCD, or anywhere pic.twitter.com/Bkdoa4bqyN
— TCD Students' Union (@tcdsu) February 12, 2018
Keane added that he, on behalf of Trinity’s students, was calling for Dr Selim’s “immediate dismissal from any and all posts in Trinity” and “a public condemnation of his stated position”.
He added: “By doing nothing, our University provides a platform and a degree of legitimacy to this man – we must act swiftly and decisively to strip him of that legitimacy.”
The letter follows a statement condemning Selim’s comments by Trinity’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Tom Molloy.
He said: “Trinity College Dublin utterly condemns female genital mutilation in all circumstances. Both the university’s teaching body and students believe that the practice is always wrong”.
Mr Molloy gave no indication that Dr Selim would be removed from his teaching position, but added: “Dr Selim is employed on an hourly basis at Trinity to teach Arabic language classes”.
The Islamic Cultural Centre released its own statement after the backlash against the lecturer’s comments, saying it condemned the practice of FGM and that it was specifically banned by Islam.
— Mike Lyons (@MikeLyons1956) February 12, 2018
The statement did not clarify if the Centre made a distinction between FGM and so-called ‘female circumcision’.
Separately, Dr Umar Al-Qadri, a Dublin imam who is chairman of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council, accused Dr Selim of contributing to “a highly toxic attitude towards women”.
Dr Al-Qadri called for Dr Selim to be sacked from not only his role at Trinity, but in his capacity as a spokesman for the Islamic Cultural Centre also.
“This practice is associated with numerous serious medical complications and represents a highly toxic attitude towards women in general,” Dr Al-Qadri said.
“This makes Dr Selim’s comments from a privileged position even more damaging and dangerous.
“Those who hold such damaging and harmful views that affect the lives of millions in very tangible ways should not be normalised or offered shelter by their presence in our public bodies.”