“Dude, Where’s My Foreskin?” Asks Ex-Muslim Atheist

They could not have branded a big “M” for “Muslim” on my back with a hot iron rod, so they chose the next best option: circumcision.

You may see this as superfluous screeching over the loss of a useless little flap of penile skin. It doesn’t matter. It was MY useless little flap of penile skin. And its amputation sans medical necessity implies parental “ownership” of a child, rather than “guardianship”.

Parents, it seems, are not temporary caretakers of a child’s body until he becomes mature and smart enough to make decisions about it on his own. No, they have the express authority to manipulate the body according to their own religious beliefs.

Upon reaching adulthood, I relinquished my faith. Had I been allowed the choice, I would not have chosen this mutilation. Heck, I’m certain that due to the pain associated with this procedure, many adult believers would not choose circumcision for themselves. Babies are different though. Cut their penises while they scream out in agony, too small and helpless to protest against this branding. Hush, little child. You won’t even remember this pain when you’ve grown up.

Whether or not this pain leaves a permanent psychological imprint is a disputed matter. But my body remembers. I look down at my organ, and I see what’s missing.  My body was supposed to be my temple, and they trespassed on it.

They’ll try to distract you with health statistics; the reduction in STD transmission risk that’s associated. I won’t argue with it (though there has been some controversy). What I will ask is to spare me the silly rationalizations. We all know that this is just an accidental benefit to what is undoubtedly a religious ritual.

No Muslim or Jewish person ever circumcised his baby with the objective of protecting him from STDs. Had it not been a religious obligation, it would have been a repellent, ridiculous procedure at par with performing a prophylactic appendectomy on a healthy, young person. You know, to reduce his or her risk of appendicitis by 100%.

Also, is this risk reduction unique to circumcision, unattainable by other non-permanent means? Well, there’s a thing called a “condom” which reduces risk of HIV transmission by 78%. Good hygiene and sex-ed can grant the same benefits that circumcision does. Remember that condom use is a substitute to circumcision; circumcision is not a substitute to condom use.

And ultimately, and I cannot stress this enough, any permanent change to MY body should require MY consent. That is, unless it’s a medical necessity that cannot wait until I’ve grown up.

Do I feel betrayed? Yes. But I don’t hate my parents because of this. Everybody’s doing it! It has melded so well into our world that we continue with this unethical-by-any-standard practice without giving it a thought.

Maybe we should.

    • Saira
    • February 18th, 2013

    I’m really sorry about the whole involuntary body mutilation thing. 😦 Religion sucks ass.

    • Grain
    • February 19th, 2013

    Agree. And I might add – the STD argument/distraction is just completely nonsense; there is no way a child should need protection against STDs.

  1. Perfectly written, thank you for sharing this.

    • Kim
    • February 19th, 2013

    I’m very sorry. 😦 Sadly the foreskin isn’t a “useless flap of skin” at all…it’s a functional and important part of the penis…there are many implications of having it removed. I am married to a circumcised man…he was circumcised as a baby because that’s just what was done in the Midwest at the time. Our sexlife has suffered greatly…for many years I thought I was born wrong and that’s why sex hurt me…that’s why we couldn’t have sex at all without artificial lubricant…that I was the reason he couldn’t orgasm without masurbating or having sex as a punishing pace…but then someone told me to Google “sex as nature intended it” and I found out how sex is SUPPOSED to work. Suddenly all the issues I blamed on being defective were explained….neither of us was BORN wrong….this is because society and his parents allowed something horrible to be done to him. I hold a lot of anger towards my in-laws….my husband now refers to circumcision (something he used to think was normal and benefitial) as “genital mutilation” and would NOT allow it to be done to our son.

    • Well said,

      Of course, I don’t believe foreskin is a “useless” flap of skin. I was simply mimicking the society there. I was hoping to stick to the point and not get into a discussion on the evolutionary purpose of the foreskin; it always causes circumcision proponents to swoop in, disputing the authenticity of such claims.

      The intention was to concentrate on the ethical conundrum of parents using their own religious beliefs to mutilate their childrens’ bodies. And then rationalizing their decision with the overused “STD risk reduction” point.

      Anyway. Sorry to hear about what you and your partner went through..

      • vijay
      • February 22nd, 2013

      Just try to follow hinduism teachings….read bhagwad gita as it is…

    • Turbo Lover
    • February 20th, 2013

    But why the act of circumcision? What’s the whole logic behind it? Wouldn’t it be better to use condoms instead of this barbaric practice? Very sorry to hear about the pain you had endured, even thinking about it just makes me shudder. I mean that very literally.

    • Aiwass
    • March 16th, 2013

    So anything that causes pain is ‘barbaric’ and shouldn’t exist? Tere har masle ka aik he hal hai dost. Mard ban. Seriously. Ya phir operation kara le aur puri zanani ban ja.

    • Lol. Sense made: none

      You may try again if you come up with an intelligent response.

    • Sympathetic
    • March 24th, 2013

    Hey there, you should join CEMB, its a forum for ex muslims like you. Also there’s reddit, reddit.com/r/exmuslim

    • The Philosopher’s Stone
    • March 29th, 2013

    I stumbled upon your blog today, mate. This post specifically made me barf! (Seriously, sometimes you guys–Atheists–get so irrational trying to be rational that the irony gets out of control).

    I am a Doctor by profession. Take any book of medicine (specifically the Pathology literature), there you will find that 99% of the cases we see of penile carcinoma arise in uncircumcised males. STDs are NOT the cause why it is done. Circumcision has been made a routine procedure for this very reason in many non-Muslim countries now. Research testifies it; you can confirm it as well.

    Second thing which made me sick to the stomach is your ignorance about anatomy and physiology of the human body. The pain receptors in the periphery and the pain centers in the higher brain are not even developed in a newborn to make him ‘perceive’ pain. There is no pain unless it is ‘perceived’ in the brain.

    As far as lubrication during sexual intercourse is concerned (as pointed out in a comment here), it is done by the female genital tract (99.9% of it, to be precise). And the glands that produce male lubricants (which contribute 0.01% in total lubrication) are NOT present on foreskin.

    Lastly, I want you to answer this question, Mr. Genius-Liberal-Atheist: why do you not protest over severing of the umbilical cord immediately after birth? Do you not see that ‘ugly’ depression, commonly called navel’ on your tummy? That skin was a part of you as well. Haha

    P.S don’t post my comment if you like; but the satisfaction that you have been made aware of your ignorance will be quite enough for me!

    • I’m a doctor as well.

      Your point about squamous cell carcinoma of the penis is correct, but you exaggerated the risk reduction. No, 99% of the cases of carcinoma do not occur in uncircumcised patients. You invented that statistic yourself.

      Your argument that the child’s CNS is not developed enough to perceive pain is so sensationally inaccurate, it makes your claim of being a doctor highly doubtful. At best, you may be a medical student. You may need to research this matter more thoroughly.

      The foreskin does not lubricate. It allows the lubricating fluids produced by the female genital tract to be locked in. A circumcised penis has the opposite effect. Due to its mushroom-shape, it drags fluid out of the vagina with every thrust.You’ll find more detail on this on Google.

      The umbilical cord is naturally destined to fall off anyway, whether or not it’s artificially cut. So it is generally severed for social/hygienic reasons. This is not the same as a foreskin, which is a permanent body tissue.

        • The Philosopher’s Stone
        • March 30th, 2013

        Oh, so you are a doctor as well! That makes it even more entertaining!

        So, at least you accept the point about squamous cell carcinoma of the penis to be correct. As for the statistic, that can be found in the latest edition of the Robbins’ Pathology (that is the most famous pathology text, you must be knowing already).

        The assumption about the child’s CNS not being developed does not come from me alone. What my surgical colleagues tell me is this (it sounds rational to me; a strong argument indeed if you understand the technicality–which you should, being a doctor yourself): they DO NOT use anaesthesia for the procedure of circumcision, if it were really even half as painful as some claim it to be, then 70% of the children undergoing the procedure should not survive because the claimed pain would lead to excessive vagal stimulation resulting in over-stimulation of parasympathetic supply of the heart and eventually death. They also say that there is NO authentic research at this point which can definitely prove that circumcision is as painful as some claim and that the pain has any long-term, significant effect on the child. I am telling you about the applied aspect; this procedure is carried out on a daily basis as I said not just in Pakistan but also in developed countries.

        As for the lubrication thingy: tell me the percentage of the men who experience serious, noticeable symptoms or discomfort due to the this so-called ‘dysfunctional lubrication because of circumcised penis’. Weigh the costs and benefits: compare the risks and rates of penile cancer in circumcised and non-circumcised patients and also estimate the prevalence of coitus-related issues among both groups, and that will give you the answer regarding the benefits of circumcision. Coitus-related issues are present in both circumcised and non-circumcised men with no evidence proving cause-effect relationship between both the mentioned variables, while there is a SIGNIFICANTLY higher rate of penile carcinoma in non-circumcised male which convincingly proves cause-effect relationship between these two.

        Okay, so you have no problem of ‘consent’ with the severing of the umbilical cord, right. :p
        But what about prophylactic thyroidectomies in patients whose first-degree relatives are found to be MEN-1 or MEN-2 genes positive? The same principle applies here. Thyroidectomy is done in them because they are at a significantly higher risk to develop thyroid malignancy as compared to general, MEN gene-free population. Circumcision is done because non-circumcised males are at a SIGNIFICANTLY higher risk of developing carcinoma of penis. We can overlook minor coital issues for that (irrespective of the fact that the issues only get reported in a small, negligible minority).

  2. The Philosopher’s Stone,

    “As for the statistic, that can be found in the latest edition of the Robbins’ Pathology

    I recall no such 99% statistic from Robbins. I would appreciate a reference from a credible online source, because the statistics I’ve seen on SSC of penis are much different.

    “They also say that there is NO authentic research at this point which can definitely prove that circumcision is as painful”

    Circumcision causes severe pain, and babies feel pain. These are not disputed hypotheses, but medical facts. These are the reasons a baby cries harshly when the foreskin is cut. These are the reasons more and more doctors in the developed countries now use dorsal penile block on a baby before performing circumcision.

    I strongly encourage you to study these links. Unanaesthetized neonatal circumcisions being performed on “a daily basis” does not make the practice more ethical.

    “tell me the percentage of the men who experience serious, noticeable symptoms or discomfort due to the this so-called ‘dysfunctional lubrication”

    No noticeable discomfort would be caused if you have your little toe amputated. You might as well do that too.

    “But what about prophylactic thyroidectomies in patients whose first-degree relatives are found to be MEN-1 or MEN-2 genes positive?”

    The lifetime prevalence for medullary thyroid carcinoma in patients with MEN mutation is nearly 100%. The lifetime prevalence for SSC of penis in an uncircumcised patient is 1/1000 (0.001%).

    Do you believe these risks are even remotely comparable?

  3. You have no idea the mental anguish I went through subjecting my son to the same horror. My wife and I, atheist as we were, decided to go through with that because we couldn’t not have but remained so utterly mortified for weeks to come. I wish I were a rebel but I wasn’t and gave in to the pragmatism. He is three now, and I still wish I had more balls then.
    The worst part is that I know if I have another son, he would have to go through the same. But I do plan to apologize to him once he is older.

    • Black Widow
    • May 16th, 2013

    Hey atheist ! i wish allll the realities of life and this world open up to you ONLY & ONLY when you depart from this world ! AMEEN !

    • Black Widow
    • May 16th, 2013

    And yeah please do remember to inform your parents that you’re an atheist… and it won’t be bad….infact it’d be good and ethical to let them know not to pray your funeral prayers (namaz-e-janazah) as it’s not for non-muslims. Furthermore, request everyone you know and whoever loves you (highly unlikely) not to “pray” for your forgiveness after your demise, as no such thing exists according to you ! so request them not to waste their time in taking your corpse to masjid , praying maghfirat and then praying for your forgiveness after they have buried you. This is your most important responsibility, not to let people deceive, lead them astray and waste their time thinking you’re Muslim ! Please sir, understand… you have to do that ! and if your parents don’t know about it then a big fat “laanat” on your face, that you’re screaming your lungs out to the society to accept your status , yet your parents don’t know about their son’s “kaaristani” ! May Allah forgive your parents for your miserable decision ! WHAT A SIGHT TO BEHOLD WHEN YOU ARE PRESENTED BEFORE YOUR LORD ON THE DAY OF RESURRECTION! I’d love to see that expression on your face buddy ! have a nice day !

  4. Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    According to Islam, you would get your foreskin back after death, in order to enjoy “heaven”. I understand your anguish. As atheist, you should strive for the legalization of euthanasia. Pakistan having nukes but no euthanasia is the height of hypocrisy.

    • The Syed Atheist
    • April 25th, 2014

    Reblogged this on The Syed Atheist.

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