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Oct-17-2011 05:50printcommentsVideo

Music: Say No to Circumcision - Leave Those Babies Alone!

'I had heard and seen battle injured soldiers before but this screaming raised the hair on my neck" - Dr. Phil Leveque, reference to using GOMCO clamp to circumcise infant

Baby feet
From their mother's womb, into a cold scary world, disconnected... and then a doctor takes a device and literally cuts a part of their body off. How could that possibly be the right thing to do? Photo source unknown.

(SALEM, Ore.) - The #1 controversy facing American parents in 2010 was male infant circumcision. That's quite a statement, but the real eye opener is the knowledge that it is needless, genital mutilation, and that it is dangerous, even potentially fatal, particularly for infants. In fact not a single medical group in the world recommends it.

Author/Singer/Songwriter Agron Belica

As an author, singer and songwriter who takes on the hardest subjects, Agron Belica's level of social consciousness is wide awake; his radar is on and his passion is hard to miss. The negativity of circumcision struck Agron like a sledgehammer when he realized how serious and far reaching it is, and you can't miss it in his incredible new song: (Say No to Circumcision) - Leave Those Babies Alone!

The Qur’an makes no mention of circumcision. In fact, there are verses in the Quran that suggest opposition to the practice: “We have indeed created man in the best of molds.” (Q. 95:4) Also, “the nature framed by God, there is no altering God’s creation.” (Q.30:30); “God is the One who made the earth a habitat for you, and the sky as a structure, and He designed you and has perfected your design.” (Q. 40:64)

As you will gather from Agron's new song, circumcision seems more like something the devil ordered, “I will command them and they will change God’s creation.” (Q. 4:119) When God says he created man in the best of molds that also includes the foreskin. I believe there is a reason why God designed us the way he did, as you will see below in the discussion concerning the benefits of retaining the foreskin.

People of each of the monotheistic faiths have an equal stake in this. We all care about our children as much or more as we care for ourselves, and once we grasp an understanding of a serious subject, we are pretty good about spreading the word. Few subjects deserve more conversation than this one.

This Muslim and Jewish practice found its way into the western world in the 1850's, after a popular writer in London suggested that circumcision would lead to a reduction in masturbation among boys. We have to remind ourselves that people truly believed then, that masturbation caused blindness.

It's all a "world is flat" type of discussion. It won't be long and people will look back at our time of cutting the end of our male baby's penises off with revulsion and embarrassment; they won't believe it ever became a custom here.

It is also true that uncircumcised males don't have hygiene problems that are off the charts as old wives' tales imply; and it certainly doesn't prevent AIDS and HIV as western medical organizations have falsely conveyed to people on that continent.

Nope, it all goes back to being the mark of a slave thousands of years ago, and something that the Jewish and Muslim people with their common heritage, just couldn't let go of. I asked to comment on Islam and circumcision.

"Abraham is mentioned a number of times in the Quran, but there is no mention of his circumcision. God says: 'We did not leave anything out of this book' (Q. 6:38) 'The word of your lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.'(Q. 6:115) 'And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive. He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the religion of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you submitters, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to God! He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help!' (Q. 22:78)."

Agron says Muslims who have been persuaded to accept this barbaric practice often quote traditions (hadith) attributed to the prophet Muhammad: "The Prophet Ibrahim circumcised himself when he was eighty years old and he circumcised himself with an axe." (Related by Bukhari, Muslim, and Ahmad.)

He continued, "I personally do not believe the Prophet made any such statement. This was obviously an idea borrowed from the Bible and attributed to him. We read in Genesis, Ch. 17:9-10: 'And God said unto Abraham, Thou shall keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.'"

Many Jewish Rabbis and scholars believe that this passage about Abraham is an interpolation, an invention of later Judaic priests: “Biblical scholars, however, have known for a long time that this passage was never in the original Bible. It was added about 500 B.C., over one thousand years after the time of Abraham. Scholars David Rosenberg and Harold Bloom have published a full translation of the original version of Genesis, which dates from about 950B.C. Here, Chapter 17 is conspicuously absent.

All we read is that it was that day Yahweh cut a covenant with Abram: "I gave this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, Euphrates—of the Kenite, and Kenizzite, the Kadmonite; of Hittite, the Perizzite, the Rephaim; of the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Girashite, the Jubisite’" (Paul M. Fleiss, Fredirick Mansfield Hodges, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision; Rosenberg D, Bloom H (trans and eds). The Book of J., New York: Grove Weidenfeld; 1990 p.79)

In addition, Rabbi and historian Lawrence A. Hoffman explains the reason why circumcision was incorporated into priestly Judaism: “they did this by instituting a temple-centered sacrificial cult into which newborn males were initiated by circumcision. They created the Abrahamic circumcision myth and inserted it into the most important part of Genesis, pretending that it had been there all along. The priesthood maintained their grip on power until about A.D. 71, when they were overthrown. Circumcision has remained a Hebrew practice ever since.” (Hoffman L A. Covenant of Blood: Circumcision and Gender in Rabbinic Judaism. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press; 1996.)

While some in Islam say that circumcision is obligatory, most scholars consider it a sunna that is highly recommended, a recommendation that frankly puzzles me. One would assume that everybody has a choice in the matter of circumcision, however in practice this only extends to adult males who convert to Islam, but not to the infants born to Muslim parents. According to this idea, the parent has an option whether or not to perform this rite, but the rights of the child are ignored. I strongly believe this option should be seriously reconsidered as in Islam “there is no compulsion in religion,” a right extended to every human being.

So how does a parent deal with this conflict when their child is part of a system that doesn't yet understand the problematic nature of circumcision? I asked Agron to talk about conflict between family obligation and religious tradition.

"Yes, you can educate your child in your religion, but to go so far as to mutilate a male child’s God-given anatomy, because of what you have judged to be correct, is not justified. The opinions offered by most Muslim scholars on this issue fail to uphold the child’s right to make his choice about whether or not to get circumcised. If, at a responsible age, he chooses to be circumcised of his own free will, fine. Freedom of religion also extends to the child. The child has God-given rights that should be respected. He should be given the opportunity to research the matter and come to his own decision about circumcision when he reaches a mature age of understanding. And, should he choose to get circumcised, then he has made his own choice. As God says, 'there is no compulsion in religion.'" (Q. 2:256)

I am consistently amazed with Agron's ability to turn an important message from today's news into a song that not only attracts young listeners, but people of all ages.

He responds to things like the Genocide of Sri Lanka where tens of thousands were ethnically cleansed by state terrorism; the actions of the brave activists of Gaza who resist and document Israel's deadly brutal occupation; and he mourns the loss of people like eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky of Brooklyn, an innocent Jewish boy after disappearing from his own neighborhood. Those are all songs cut and released in recent months, several have done well on the charts and continue to.

I know that important ideas I pitch to Agron have the potential to become the next song, and when I don't suggest subjects it is OK, because he is constantly discovering his own, he isn't done; in fact I think he has a very long way to go. Watch for the new album Newsic by Agron Belica, commissioned by Salem-News.com to educate the world with a fusion of riveting information set to an incredible sound.

It is my honor and pleasure to have produced the video below of Agron's new song, I know that if we reach just one single family and save one boy, we win. Here's to that!

Be advised, this is a graphic video:

(Say No To Circumcision) Leave Those Babies Alone by Agron Belica (featuring Patrick Dreier) Produced by Tim Adamack Co-Produced by Agron Belica, and Patrick Dreier

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Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 91 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Sigismond (Michel Hervé Navoiseau-B March 3, 2012 8:07 am (Pacific time)

Cultures (or political systems) that tolerate within themselves the appropriation by adults of whatever part of the body of minors do not deserve the name of civilization (or democracy).

Sigismond March 3, 2012 8:06 am (Pacific time)

Outstanding video, Agron and Tim. I'm not the photographs of butchering the baby are really necessary. I mean suggestion seems safer because it does not hurt the person who watches.

Editor: Thank you Herve!

Paul November 1, 2011 3:13 pm (Pacific time)

What a well-researched and presented post. Wow. Out of the myriad newspaper articles, blog posts and reader comments I have read on this topic this year, this has to be one of the most substantive and original.

For the record, I am circumcised but chose not to cut my own son.

Mother Nature (or God) put the foreskin there for a purpose, and who I am to say that it's useless.

Among other things, it facilitates sex: uncircumcized men never need lube, have many fewer sexual dysfunctions as adults and FEEL SEX MORE.

The procedure was introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s (before the advent of modern science) by a handful of health nut trying to stamp out masturbation.

Today, it's being promoted primarily for Jewish and Muslim friends for cultural reasons and by a doctor's lobby which makes $1 billion per year performing circumcisions AND selling the foreskins (yeah, seriously).

I welcome open-minded essays like this one.

Thanks Mr. King.

Tim King: Thanks Paul, I'm glad Agron sees it the same way, and there is a brand new song out on the same subject, also by Agron, that will be out within the next 24 hours, many thanks!

Garrett White November 1, 2011 7:01 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Stone: If in fact your information is correct then it would be a compelling argument to leave a child intact. If there is no difference in sensation, orgasm, erection or any other function of the penis then it would be a complete waste of time, effort and money to expose a child to a life threatening procedure that really accomplishes nothing.

Marcella October 31, 2011 3:15 pm (Pacific time)

Cutting off body parts of infants is not silly. This may be the single most important issue in our culture. This is where sex and violence first meet, and these wounds are then carried forward whether consciously or unconsciously throughout one's life. It is the primal period that is so critical to teach trust, love and respect. This is where we can change the world for the better.

Marcella October 31, 2011 3:11 pm (Pacific time)

The African studies are extremely flawed and racist with multiple biases. About 1/2 the males became HIV+ without any sexual contact or with 100% use of condoms. Other reputable researchers have looked at the same data and concluded that circumcision does not impart any benefit to HIV prevention. Recent evidence indicates that HIV is transmitted through contaminated needles and non-sterile medical equipment rather than through sexual contacts. Studies show that circumcision decreases sensitivity. Masters and Johnson never published their findings in a peer-reviewed journal and the details are not clear what, where or how they measured sensitivity. Recently, an objective study showed that the most sensitive portion of the penis is the frenulum and the foreskin. The glans is significantly less sensitive. In circumcised males, it is the scar that is most sensitive. Multiple studies show that premature ejaculation and sexual orgasmic dysfunction is 4-5 times more common in circumcised males and their partners. Circumcision prevents only one thing: normal sexual function for both males and females.
Great article and video!!!!! It is only when people actually see the trauma being perpetrated on infants will they acknowledge the horror and stop it.

Editor: Thanks for the positive feedback!

Joelah Carter October 22, 2011 7:16 am (Pacific time)

My dear friend Argon has done it again with another eye opener for the people who knee deep in tradition.And it is tradition which that holds people back and blinds them to truth. The I beieve many conflicts in the world can be resolved if people just let go of their many irrational traditions. So as a Muslim myself I truly appreciate the work that Agron has done on this subject and many others and I hope there is more to come to free ourselves from these useless and irrational traditions.

Anonymous October 19, 2011 5:41 pm (Pacific time)

Excellent article! Video was a bit graphic, but it is what it is. People have to see what's really going on. I don't see the song on the album you mentioned. Where can I download this song? Thanks for sharing this. Shalom!

Circumcision Buster October 19, 2011 5:08 pm (Pacific time)

Myth: "Babies don't feel pain during circumcision." Fact: Babies feel extreme pain during circumcision, according to studies referenced by the American Medical Association and others like this one referenced on CNN: Circumcision study halted due to trauma. In fact, some doctors have used circumcision as the definition of the most severe pain a baby can feel. Studies show that circumcision is intensely painful, and other studies show that babies are very sensitive to pain. Lastly, in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strenuously recommended that pain relief be administered during circumcision. Sadly, many circumcisions are still performed without pain relief according to this study cited by the AAP.

Circumcision Buster October 19, 2011 4:59 pm (Pacific time)

Myth: "Circumcision doesn't affect a man's ability to give or receive pleasure." Fact: Circumcision decreases the pleasure experienced by both the man and woman during sex. The foreskin, which is amputated by circumcision, plays an important role in human sexuality. For the man's benefit, the foreskin is the most sexually sensitive and pleasurable part of the penis. A specialized ring of tissue near the tip of the foreskin called the ridged band contains almost 20,000 highly sensitive erogenous nerve endings (over half of the sexually sensitive nerve endings in the penis). This special ridged band provides intact (uncircumcised) men with the majority of their sexual sensation. Circumcision amputates the entire ridged band and its erogenous nerve endings, resulting in a dramatic reduction in sexual sensation. It is a common misconception that the glans is the most sensitive part of the penis, because most adult men in America do not have a foreskin to compare to. The foreskin also improves a woman's sensation and comfort during sex. During intercourse, the foreskin acts as a natural lubricant through its unique gliding or "rolling" motion. An intact penis slides back and forth inside the foreskin during the thrusting motions, greatly reducing friction (see Anatomy of the Penis, Mechanics of Intercourse for a full description). Because of this, most women report improved sensation with an intact penis (see Kristen O'Hara's book and Dr. Dean Edell's article on the study contained within the book). Many women that have had sex with circumcised men complain of vaginal dryness, lack of orgasms during intercourse, and even vaginal pain. The vagina was not designed to produce enough lubrication to accommodate a circumcised penis. Instead, the vagina was designed to leverage the natural penis's mechanical lubricating action provided by the foreskin. The sexual ramifications of circumcision are far reaching indeed.

Shakema Edwards October 19, 2011 10:48 am (Pacific time)

To tell u the truth i feel like it is wrong to perform circumcision on babies because they were born the way they r and by doin that is just damaging a part of who they r but for some people they dont feel the same way as others some just dont care at all

God Bless! October 19, 2011 9:05 am (Pacific time)

Salem-News.Com does KICK-ASS! Thanks, Tim!"Leave Those Babies Alone" this says it all. My heroes!

Protect The Children October 19, 2011 9:02 am (Pacific time)

Say no to circumcision!

Ralph E. Stone October 19, 2011 6:30 am (Pacific time)

I would only add that the World Health Organization reports that there is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60 percent. And studies indicate that there is little or no difference in sensation during arousal or sensitivity of the flaccid penis between circumcised and uncircumcised men. For example, Masters and Johnson undertook clinical and neurological testing of the ventral and dorsal surfaces, as well as the glans, and detected no difference in penile sensitivity between circumcised and uncircumcised men [Masters and Johnson, 1966]. Sexual pleasure also appears to be about the same. Two US studies published in 2002 both found similar or greater sexual satisfaction in men after circumcision as adults [Collins et al., 2002; Fink et al., 2002]. The mean age of the men in each study was 37 and 42, respectively. In the smaller survey [Collins et al., 2002] there was no difference in sexual drive, erection, ejaculation, problem assessment or satisfaction compared with what the men recalled sex being like prior to foreskin removal. Penile sensitivity was the same.

Jabreel X October 18, 2011 7:25 pm (Pacific time)

Leave Those Babies Alone! Leave Those Babies Alone! Leave Those Babies Alone! Leave Those Babies Alone!====Stand Down Devil!

Anonymous October 18, 2011 6:10 pm (Pacific time)

Stop abusing children! Didn't Jesus say that children are innocent? "for such are the kingdom of heaven" I think he really said that check it out and tell me if I'm right. All these religious freaks are demented man.
Hey shieks stop abusing children the gig is up. And no Mr. Editor I am not saying sorry these morans are chd abusers. And if you don't publish this comment I don't care. Perverts and abusers going to teach us a out peace. Yeah cut my pecker than tell me it's all a out peace. LOSERSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!

Editor: I assume we all agree that female genital mutilation is the most terrible thing; our writer Diane Walsh has addressed it head on, several of us have.  So you have no disagreement and the people in the Arab world still carrying out these rituals are committing terrible human violations.  That never was an argument, but don't downplay this issue, that is all I am asking.  Consider that a hundred babies + die from it in the US every year, that should be a lot.  Finally, I don't understand   Were you trying to write 'about' and missing the 'b'?  

Spank! Spank! October 18, 2011 5:59 pm (Pacific time)

My boy got flow! Hey Tim great video dude! Why is it that when there is a spanking to be given it's always you and argon given it out? Can I get down bro? Lol! Awesome article my dude! Leave them babies alone tune ain't no joke.the dynamic duo at it again good shit!

Tim King: thanks so much!  

Hugh7 October 18, 2011 2:30 pm (Pacific time)

@Bruce Cain: Any issue can "seem silly" compared to some greater issue, except perhaps, "saving the universe/s". Some issues are worth fighting for just because they are relatively small and not insuperable. All we're asking is for NOTHING to be done to babies' genitals, which is hardly a lot to ask. The battle against female genital cutting was won in most of the developed world without a fight, and ANY cutting of a baby girl is illegal, no matter how minimal, sterile and pain-free. Yes, the horrors of Africa remain, but we're working on them, too and in the UK at least, male and female Intactivist organisations have joined forces. I don't support the editor's tone, which seems intended to make you feel bad about yourself. That is not the intention of this campaign - but babies should not be cut to make men (such as their fathers) feel good about themselves, either.

October 17, 2011 1:44 pm (Pacific time)

By all means we should abandon this archaic ritual of slaves, it is hard to believe we ever talked ourselves into it.

Bruce Cain October 17, 2011 9:42 am (Pacific time)

The isssue seems silly compared to the stoning of gays, discrimination against Christians in countries like Iraq etc. Oh and I forgot, female circumcision which actually does effect sex drive etc.

Editor: You're right about female circumcision, that is terrible and removes a woman's ability to enjoy sex.  A male only loses 30% of that ability after being circumcised.  So what's 30% right Bruce?  Well listen, you may not care about being a less than whole person, or about the agony infants experience, but I do.  You think the United States bombing campaigns were good for Iraqi Christians?  That's a fantasy.  Gay people matter Bruce, I'm all for that, I have nothing against you guys, but there is a bigger picture you should pay attention to.

-Ervis October 17, 2011 9:36 am (Pacific time)

The author Agron Belica puts forth an intriguing topic with perspectives from
the science, medical and religious field to educate and empower the general public on the
barbaric practice of male circumcision. The article also effectively demonstrates
the notion that no matter how advanced and evolved we appear as a collective
civilization, we still hold on to our ancient propaganda as axiom; even though no present
day medical organization on the planet recommends circumcision. I praise Agron Belica's work on this subject and
only hope others will support his stance without dismissing it irrationally.

Editor: I appreciate your thoughtful comment, thank you.

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