On February 1, 2020, Egyptian Islamic scholar Salama Abd Al-Qawi was interviewed on Elsharq TV (Turkey-Based Egyptian MB). The host asked him regarding the practice of female circumcision in Egypt and pointed out that some expert medical opinions say that the practice is harmful and can lead to death. Al-Qawi responded that riding in a train, flying in a plane, drinking water, and eating eggplants can also lead to death and that his mother, sister, daughter, and wife have all undergone the procedure safely. He argued that he has never heard of a case in which a girl has died as a result of FGM and he added: "Giving birth can [also] lead to death, [so] should women stop giving birth?"
Interviewer: "It is said that expert doctors have determined that female circumcision is harmful and that it might even lead to death. One of the goals of shari'a law is to keep people out of harm's way. You told me so yourself."
Salama Abd Al-Qawi: "Yes of course."
Interviewer: "Therefore, every action that threatens this principle is haram, according to Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta. As you can see on the screen, they wrote that [female] circumcision can lead to death. I believe that this is the thing that people are most worried about or afraid of."
Salama Abd Al-Qawi: "[Female] circumcision can lead to death? Well, riding the train can also lead to death. Flying in a plane can lead to death. Drinking water can lead to death. Eating eggplant can lead to death."
Interviewer: "How are these relevant?"
Salama Abd Al-Qawi: "They all [can lead to death].
"Who said this?"
Interviewer: "Expert doctors."
Salama Abd Al-Qawi: "Who are these expert doctors? My mother, my sister, my daughter, and my wife [have all gone through this], and so have the mothers, sisters, and wives of those 'expert doctors,' and they did not die from it. According to our customs, and you are a village man like I am... Have we ever heard of a girl who died during circumcision? You are familiar with the village customs. They make a celebration out of it."
Salama Abd Al-Qawi: "Who has ever died? The expert doctors and the people at Dar Al-Ifta should tell us how many girls have died during circumcision. Tell me another thing. Giving birth can lead to death, right? How many women have died during child birth? Many more than have died during [female] circumcision, by the way... So should women stop giving birth?"