"It is forbidden"

Somali religious affairs minister tells country’s leaders FGM is un-Islamic

Ifrah Ahmed (YouTube)

On Wednesday, the Somali government held a high-level forum on the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), a first in a country where approximately 98 percent of all women between the ages of 15 and 49 have undergone the procedure. Although FGM was made unconstitutional in Somalia in 2012, no bills have been passed to ban its practice. At the forum, speaking before religious leaders, politicians, and women’s groups, Somali attorney general Ahmed Ali Dahir said that would have to change. “We need to specifically fight FGM,” Dahir said. “We need an enabling law.”

The Somali prime minister’s adviser on gender issues, Ifrah Ahmed, has been named by some as the driving force behind the unprecedented gathering — which took place despite a suicide bombing occurring near the original venue. “The conference showed me how strong the ties are to practising FGM,” said Ahmed of the forum, “but there is hope — government support and action are vital to begin the change we need to start moving away from the practice.”

The minister of religious affairs, Abdulkahdir Sheikh Ali Baghdad, also called for an end to FGM, suggesting that the practice is un-Islamic. “It is forbidden to cut … a girl because it is like any other part of the body,” argued the minister. ” … If you abuse it, it is like you have abused any other part and I will not be ashamed to say it.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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