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COURT BACKS EGYPTIAN CURB ON FEMALE CIRCUMCISION

Egypt's high court has upheld a Health Ministry decision banning government-certified doctors and health workers from performing female circumcision, ending a long battle between Islamic fundamentalists and human rights groups.

Under the ruling issued Sunday, doctors and health workers who perform the procedure, referred to as genital mutilation by critics, face three years in prison if they violate the ban. Hospitals risk closure.

Some clerics have argued that female circumcision is required by Islam, although the claim has never been supported by evidence and is disputed by many Muslim scholars.

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