School holidays in Malaysia, time for circumcision

Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:50am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Royce Cheah

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters Life!) - Thousands of Malaysian boys will begin the journey into adulthood at mass circumcision ceremonies that start this month throughout this mainly Muslim Southeast Asian nation.

The events, held to coincide with the year-end school holidays which run into December, are a rite of passage for Muslim boys aged between 6 and 12 and whose faith requires removing the foreskin of the penis.

This Sunday, more than 120 Malaysian Muslim children at the National Mosque in the capital of Kuala Lumpur marched to the drumbeat of traditional Malay music to heralds the ceremony.

As their waited their turn, some boys whiled away the time playing games on their mobile telephones, while others confessed they were nervous ahead of the religious ceremony.

"I am a little scared, but I know I have to do this as part of my faith," said ten-year-old Ikmalluddin Ali, who was to be circumcised with his twin brother, Akmalluddin Ali.

The procedure takes 15 minutes and costs 150 Malaysian ringgit ($44) and Ali's experience will be shared by scores of other boys in this Southeast Asian country of 27 million people over the next few weeks.

Mass circumcisions are also held in neighboring Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, although among Muslims in the Middle East, circumcision tends to be a more private affair.

A CLEAN CUT   Continued...

<p>Malaysian boys sit in a group while waiting to be circumcised at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur November 22, 2009. REUTERS/Zainal Abd Halim</p>