Sunday, January 1, 2012

Renowned Imams Condemn FGM

Imam Baba Leigh
Two renowned Gambian imams, Baba Leigh and Muhammed Sanno, have condemned Female Genital Mutilation, rejecting claims that the deep-seated cultural practice scientifically proven inimical to women’s health and wellbeing, is an Islamic injunction.
The Islamic scholars, who are among an increasing number of Gambian scholars to publicly condemn FGM, argued that Prophet Muhammad forbids any practices that harm human beings and women.
“What the prophet say is clear. It is only people who abuse it and religion is not what people say,” said Oustass Sanno.
“There is nothing positive about FGM and no scholar can tell you that it is ordained unless they fabricate it,” Imam Leigh buttressed. “Give the women what they merit islamically but don’t make them suffer.”

The two scholars were deliberating on the religious perspective of FGM on Wednesday 28 December 2011, at the GAMCOTRAP hall in Kanifing for 25 lower basic teachers drawn from region 1.
The training is part of a joint effort between GAMCOTRAP, Save the Children Sweden/UN Women and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. It aims at enabling a friendly environment to discuss FGM and associated problems and complications far from myths and related stigma.
The training is designed to acquaint participants with knowledge and skills to adequately deal with FGM in schools to act as positive agents for change.
According to the statement of Isatou Touray, executive director of GAMCOTRAP, her office is aiming through this project to see communities free from FGM.
A memorandum of understanding she said was signed with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.
“It is also hoped that communication and advocacy materials on FGM will be strengthened and students will also have sustainable access to reliable information on FGM that will increase their awareness about the risks and dangers of FGM,” she added
Awa Saho Jallow, senior education officer at the Curriculum Unit, MoBSE said teachers have a powerful opportunity to support progress, achieve better rights, health, and opportunities for women and girls and combat FGM.
GAMCOTRAP is a prominent rights organisation working in the area of women and girls empowerment, and advocating to eliminate harmful practices that affect the lives and circumstances of women and girls in The Gambia.
 GAMCOTRAP’s years of struggle and countless efforts have contributed significantly  to the development of women and girls in The Gambia and elsewhere and has led to over 100( one hundred ) circumcisers dropping their knives publicly and abandoning the practice.
It is expected that the project will build the capacity of teachers to design, develop and disseminate quality gender and culturally sensitive information on FGM.

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