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Bahrain shocked by news of five-year-old girl's circumcision

The girl, who could not be named, was living with her father in a Gulf country following his divorce from her Bahraini mother.

  • By Habib Toumi, Bahrain Bureau Chief
  • Published: 20:22 May 11, 2010

  • Image Credit: Gulf News

Manama: Authorities in Bahrain are investigating allegations that a five-year-old girl has been circumcised by a maid.

The girl, who could not be named, was living with her father in a Gulf country following his divorce from her Bahraini mother.

The couple married six years ago, but divorced soon after the birth of their only daughter. The mother won a custody battle in Bahrain in 2006, but the father eventually had custody of the daughter after a court in his country ruled in his favour.

The mother, however, won visitation rights and often made the trip to her former husband's country to be reunited with her daughter. She was also allowed to receive her daughter in Bahrain.

On the last visit to Manama, the 28-year-old mother noticed that her daughter was pale and refused to eat. A medical exam at a private clinic revealed that the girl's genitals have been damaged, prompting the concerned mother to seek a second opinion from Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain's largest hospital.

A report prepared by Dr Fadheela Al Mahroos, the hospital's consultant pediatrician and chairwoman of the Child Protection Unit, confirmed that there had been a major disfiguration of the girl's genitals.

The mother refused to allow her daughter to return to her father and, through a lawyer, sought a court order to keep the child. A religious court subsequently issued a travel ban that effectively keeps the young girl in Bahrain and the public prosecution is now looking into the case and has ordered a fresh medical checkup.

Local child rights activists and doctors said that the case was shocking and painful.

"We have never come across such a case in Bahrain and we are all aware of the adverse effects of female circumcision on the sexual and maternal life of a woman," Dr Amal Al Jowder, head of health promotion, said.

Dr Fakhriya Dairi who runs a health counselling centre criticised the father.

"If what was mentioned about the girl's circumcision was true, the father is certainly to blame for mentally and physically torturing his own daughter. He must have been aware of what happened to his daughter," she said.

Comments (5)

  1. Added 17:31 May 12, 2010

    A mother teaches there children to be aware of strangers that hide in the ally but what about people who walk openly in broad day life and face every one with there head held high . A father who is a provider of comfort to his child could turn into a demon and come down to such an act to not only distroy the life of his child but to put her through such agony ....such a father if found guilty of his act should be punished.

    S.A, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:55 May 12, 2010

    Dear sir, This type of sadist should be imprisoned or even punished in the same way.This is the extreme end of cruelty. I pray the court has to punish him for his evil deed. This is inhuman and social activist/women organisation should protest against it. They should take up and follow up the case.

    antony Thomas, Kochi, India

  3. Added 16:42 May 12, 2010

    Sick and disturbed father from the looks of it

    Aureliano, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 15:40 May 12, 2010

    CRUELTY is the only word i can think of. I heard of teh demons in the stories. If the incident is true then I can believe that they are living in today society too. Such mentalities should be punished with equal intensity of the murder as they have actually committed the act which is much cruelsome than a murder. The little angel has to suffer for rest of her life. I pray god for the the success to teh medical treatment she would get in next days to be successful to make her self normal.

    mANOJ, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 13:13 May 12, 2010

    That is truly sad and disturbing. How can a man do this to his own daughter especially allow his maid to carry out the act ? I wonder if he was seeking revenge on his ex-wife by doing so. My heart goes out to the little girl. I hope the father seeks counseling.

    Mohammad, Eastern, Saudi Arabia

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