Trinity has forcefully condemned comments made by Ali Selim on female genital mutilation, following days of controversy and criticism of the part-time Trinity lecturer.
Trinity “utterly condemns female genital mutilation in all circumstances”. The statement from Trinity’s Director of
Public Affairs and Communications Tom Molloy comes after comments by Selim last week.
Selim is a part-time language teacher in Trinity and made the comments on RTÉ’s Prime Time. Selim said “I’m not an advocate of female genital mutilation but I am an advocate of female circumcision”.
In the statement, Molloy said that “both the university’s teaching body and students believe that the practice” of female genital mutilation (FGM) is “always wrong”.
Professor of Obstetrics at Trinity, Dr Deirdre Murphy, also said in the statement that she condemns the practice. Selim said in his remarks on RTÉ that “we see female circumcision in the same way we see male circumcision. It might be needed for one person and not another, and it has to be done by a doctor and practiced in a safe environment”.
Responding to this, Murphy said that “any doctor who suggests female circumcision is medically indicated is deluding themselves”. She added that female genital cutting and female circumcision are “synonymous terms”.
Molloy also clarified that Selim teaches an evening language class in Arabic, and that he is “employed on an hourly basis”.
The statement comes after Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) condemned the comments made by Selim last Saturday, expressing “extreme concern” at the nature of the remarks and calling them “wrong and dangerous”.
FGM has been illegal in Ireland since 2012, under the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012, which does not differentiate between FGM and female circumcision.