On December 30, 2019, Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) hosted a debate about the practice of female genital mutilation in Egypt. Egyptian Salafi scholar Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid argued that female circumcision is just like male circumcision, that it makes intercourse more pleasurable for women, and that it facilitates good hygiene. OB-GYN specialist Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din responded that the FGM procedure causes women extreme pain during intercourse, to the extent that she believes it would be better in some cases to have completely removed the clitoris than to partially remove it as is done during the procedure. Dr. Al-Din argued that God gave humans the ability to resist urges, that people can resist sexual urges the same way they can resist eating while they are fasting, and that FGM is similar to removing a hungry person's stomach because it ultimately prevents women from satisfying a basic human desire.
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "Female circumcision is just like male circumcision. Female circumcision contributes to the woman's pleasure and it makes cleaning easier by giving her better access – just like it does for men. It contributes to her pleasure and increases contact of the genitals. Please pardon the terminology..."
Moderator: "What are your scientific sources?"
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "This is what doctors have said. I didn't make this up."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "Imagine the amount of pain that could be inflicted upon the woman if her clitoral hood is removed."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "I'm not sure that..."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "This is scientific..."
Moderator: "You disagree? This is science."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "I am talking about a medical study I read..."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "I don't care about the study you read..."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "According to this study, male and female [circumcision] is the same..."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "No, they are not the same..."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "I'm talking about a study I read."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "I am taking about science and not about a study by someone who wanted to justify... When you remove this part [of the clitoris], you create a situation in which every time she has intercourse with her husband, there is direct contact with the nerve ending, which is very painful. Whenever a woman, who has had only a part of her clitoris removed, comes to our clinic, she always suffers terrible pain. Imagine the magnitude of the tragedy... Whenever I encounter such a case, I say that I wish the entire clitoris was removed, rather than exposing this woman to such pain."
Moderator: "Dr. Randa, I want to thank you for this reliable academic scientific discourse, which can be used as evidence..."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "Well, I disagree with this discourse. She only presents her personal perspective."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "This is not my personal perspective. It is science.
"Where does desire exist? As human beings, we have five desires. What are they? Hunger, thirst, sleep, fear, and sexual desire. Where do they exist?"
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "In a person's psyche..."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "No, sir. They exist in the brain."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "This is what I said..."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "No, they exist in the brain, not the psyche. Why do they exist in the brain? Because we..."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "We are talking about..."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "Let me finish, sir. I didn't interrupt you. Why do they exist in the brain? Because we are human beings. Human beings can control their urges and desires according to the way they are raised and to their customs. This is how the Lord created us. We can control our desires."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "What does this have to do with anything?"
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "You were talking about removing an organ to control a woman's desire. When we fast and see food, we do not eat it. Why? Because we fear our Lord and respect Him and do not want to upset Him. This is why I am able to overcome this desire."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "Okay..."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "Let me just make my point."
Sheikh Sameh Abd Al-Hamid: "Go ahead, by all means."
Dr. Randa Fakhr Al-Din: "With regard to sexual desire, removing the clitoris is just like removing the stomach. Imagine a hungry person who wants to eat but doesn't have the part that satisfies this desire. This is what you want to do to women or girls. They have sexual desire, but the part responsible for satisfying it is missing."