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Press Association
Tue 3 May 2005
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4:03pm (UK)
Muslim Accused of Assaulting Son Through Circumcision

By James Tapsfield, PA

A Muslim “assaulted” his five-year-old son by having him circumcised against his mother’s wishes, a court heard today.

The father is alleged to have secretly taken the boy to a doctor in north London for the procedure.

Lewes Crown Court heard he then told the mother – an English Christian – what had happened and said: “There is nothing you can do.”

The 27-year-old man – who lives in Crawley, West Sussex, but cannot be named for legal reasons – denies committing an assault occasioning actual bodily harm in August 2003.

Irena Ray-Crosby, prosecuting, told the court today that the parents had been involved in a three-month relationship and the mother realised she was pregnant after they broke up.

Once the defendant, who is of Moroccan origin, realised the child was his he began raising the issue of circumcision in line with his religious beliefs.

“He told (the mother) he wanted to have the boy circumcised and she said she would agree with that only for medical reasons and never for religious ones.”

The court heard that in August 2003 – shortly after the boy’s fifth birthday – he went to stay with his father.

The defendant telephoned the mother and asked her to come out of her house to talk to him, at which point he told her about the circumcision.

According to Ms Ray-Crosby, the mother accused him of assaulting their son, and the defendant responded: “There’s nothing you can do. I’ve looked into it and it’s perfectly legal.”

He later sent her a text message saying she should give the boy salty baths in order to help him heal.

The court heard that the father had been “under pressure” from fellow Muslims to get his son circumcised, and paid £100 in cash for the procedure to be carried out.

Ms Ray-Crosby said the defendant had admitted when arrested and interviewed by police that he had not told the mother in advance of his plans. She added that there had been no medical reason why the boy needed to be circumcised.

“This is not a case that is anti-Islam or anti-any other faith. It’s simply about a boy who was circumcised without his mother’s consent.”

Ms Ray-Crosby said the father had never applied for legal parental responsibility, and therefore could not have provided proper consent for the operation to take place.

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