The publication by IBT Australia of a study on the effect of circumcision on male sexual fulfillment elicited an email from a reader named Peter Spencer, who sent it via his email firstname.lastname@example.org, alleging that the basis of the article is a fake research by a man with close ties to child abusers and paedophiles.
REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo Boys lie down on top of a table in an attempt to set a new world record for the most number of boys taking part in a mass circumcision in Marikina City, Metro Manila. 1,500 boys, aged 12 and up to are expected to participate in the 10-hour event.
Mr Spencer even sent links to several articles in a bid to discredit the study by Professor Brian Morris, who has alleged links to a group called Gilgal Society that promotes circumcision. He wrote that "members of such groups fetishese (sic) circumcision instruments and procedures, and post pictures of themselves masturbating over them etc. They also exchange circumcision stories and fantasies."
The Web site CircLeaks appears to confirm what Mr Spencer wrote about the Gilgal Society. The word gilgal is a Hebrew term for hill of foreskin.
The portal listed at least 18 members of the society, which includes Mr Morris who is a PhD degree holder and not a medical doctor. Some of the members of the group are medical doctors, while the Web site said most of the members are researchers and editors of articles in PubMed about circumcision.
CircLeaks also quoted a portion of the book published by the Gilgal Society which, upon reading, would indicate it is a cross between medical stuff with some parts bordering on crossing the erotic line. But given the subject matter of circumcision and its link to sexual pleasure, there would always be the question whether reading words such as wank or masturbation necessarily equates to pornography or lewdness?
However, the most controversial member of Gilgal Society is its founder, Vernon Quaintance of Upper Norwood, who had been charged with one count of indecent assault against a 10-year-old boy in 1966, an 11-year-old in 1976 and a single count of sexual assault against an 11-year-old boy. Mr Quaintance is also accused of three counts of inciting a boy under 16 to commit an act of gross indecency and faces as well charges of possession of 1,285 indecent images of children, according to Circumstitions News. Mr Quaintance used to be a former sacristan for the Knights of Malta.
Mr Morris, the Circumstitions News Web site said, removed the circumcision humour from his personal website at circinfo.net, as well as a verse by Mr Quaintance and links to circumcision fetish sites. When Mr Quaintance was recently convicted, Mr Morris took away the Gilgal logo from his leaflets in different languages.
In his Web site, Mr Morris pointed out that while he is not a doctor, he has 43 years of medical research experience, including genital science virology, molecular biology and genetics of cardiovascular disease. He had more than 330 publications, mostly in known journals.
He added he is neither Jewish and has no religious bias or medico-legal concerns when it comes to circumcision.
"I don't care what a person's circumcision status is. What I do care about is that professionals and the public alike be provided with reliable, well-researched information. I see this as part of my academic duty in the interest of education. It is then up to each person to apply this knowledge when making decisions in their own best interest or in the best interests of their children or patients."
In pushing for circumcisions, Mr Morris cited evidence in medical literature on the role of foreskin in transmitting HIV to men.
He pointed out that there is a vast amount of misinformation from anti-circumcision which appear to deviate from the overall message on the value of circumcision to male sexual health.
At this point, IBT leaves it to the readers to make their decisions on whether to take Mr Spencer's accusations seriously or to take it with a grain of salt. The information available, at best are there to make informed decision on a matter considered personal by many men.
The debate whether to cut or not, it appears far remains from being settled.
Editor's Note: We published another article in response to Dr. Brian Morris' letter to International Business Times-Australia stating that he has never been a member of the Gilgal Society. Read here for details of the letter and International Business Times-Australia's apology to Dr. Morris.
Boys lie down on top of a table in an attempt to set a new world record for the most number of boys taking part in a mass circumcision in Marikina City, Metro Manila. 1,500 boys, aged 12 and up to are expected to participate in the 10-hour event.