Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin
In male human anatomy, the foreskin is a generally retractable double-layered fold of skin and mucous membrane that covers the glans penis and protects the urinary meatus when the penis is not erect...

 (prepuce) from the penis
The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

  (meaning "around") and (meaning "to cut").
Early depictions of circumcision are found in cave painting
Cave painting
Cave paintings are paintings on cave walls and ceilings, and the term is used especially for those dating to prehistoric times. The earliest European cave paintings date to the Aurignacian, some 32,000 years ago. The purpose of the paleolithic cave paintings is not known...

s and Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ian tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...

s, though some pictures are open to interpretation. Religious male circumcision is considered a commandment from God
The primary meaning of the Hebrew word refers to precepts and commandments as commanded by God...

 in Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

. In Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, though not discussed in the Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, male circumcision is widely practised and most often considered to be a sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...


"Circumcising a baby boy to protect against STDs is like selling your car to make sure he's never injured in a crash." ~ Dr Schwanz, Men's Health, July/August 2002

"Male circumcision provides a degree of protection against acquiring HIV infection, equivalent to what a vaccine of high efficacy would have achieved. Male circumcision may provide an important way of reducing the spread of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa." - Dr Auvert, et al, PLoS Medicine, November 2005

"To cut off the uppermost skin of the secret parts is directly against the honesty of nature, and an injurious insufferable trick put upon her." ~ Dr John Bulwer Anthropometamorphosis, man transform'd, or the artificial changeling (London 1650), p. 213

"Despite overwhelming evidence from urological surgeons that neoplasm of the penis is a lethal disease that can be prevented by removal of the foreskin, some physicians continue to argue against routine circumcision in a highly emotional and aggressive fashion." - Dr Dagher, Journal of Urology, 1973

"Why is the operation of circumcision practiced? One might as well attempt to explain the rites of voodoo!" ~ William Keith C. Morgan, MD The Rape of the Phallus, 1967

"In an apparent effort to bolster the weak anticircumcision argument, 2 anecdotal beliefs are added to the listed reasons not to choose circumcision: the "protective benefit" of the foreskin on the tip of the penis and the belief that circumcision causes decreased sexual pleasure later in life. Neither of these anecdotal beliefs meets the stated criterion of being evidence-based." - Dr Schoen, et al, Pediatrics, 2000

"Circumcision is a solution looking for a problem. The medical profession bears responsibility for the introduction of prophylactic circumcision without scientific basis in the past and for its continued use and rationalization without scientific basis in the present. ~ Edward Wallerstein, Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy, 1980

"The multiple benefits of newborn circumcision are additive over a lifetime and include prevention of cancer of the penis, of balanoposthitis, and protection against the effects of phimosis and poor hygiene as well as prevention of UTI and STD, particularly of HIV." - Dr Schoen, et al, Archives of Diseases in Childhood, 1997

"Circumcised males do not benefit from their circumcision but instead only suffer pain and permanent disfigurement of their genitalia." ~ Thomas Bartman, MD, PHD Division of Neonatology University of California, San Francisco Pediatrics, Evanston, Jan 2001, Vol. 107:1, p 210