A legal loophole allowing girls to undergo genital cutting for "health reasons" has been eliminated in Egypt, strengthening an earlier ban. Seen as a rite of passage and a way to lessen sexual desire, the practice had been fairly widespread. But after a heavily sedated girl died during the operation, the health ministry banned it completely.
The new restriction was endorsed by the state-appointed Grand Mufti who said that Islam doesn't allow the "harmful tradition" of female circumcision. Some clerics, however, have supported it. The procedure involves cutting off part or all of the clitoris and may cause hemorrhaging, shock and sexual dysfunction. It is performed by doctors as well as by midwives or relatives of the girl. (Read more female circumcision stories.)