13 December 2012

Gambia: The Fight Against FGM


Anti-FGM campaigners are on the move. Recent headlines about communities committing themselves to the fight against FGM show that the fight against FGM is gaining momentum.

We hope that these communities that commit themselves to make FGM history would take a further step by matching words with action. Already it is now common knowledge that the invasive nature of FGM and the unsanitary conditions under which it is usually performed can have serious consequences.

FGM may cause numerous physical complications, including hemorrhage and severe pain, which can cause shock, even death. FGM may create long-term complications resulting from scarring and interference with the drainage of urine and menstrual blood, such as chronic pelvic infections, which may cause pelvic and back pain, dysmenorrhea, infertility, chronic urinary tract infections, urinary stones, or kidney damage. This is why the likes of Tostan, Gamcotrap and others stand firm against the practice and advocate against it from both health and rights based perspectives.

Also, there is not much debate on the fact that FGM is not a religious practice required by the Islamic faith. It has, however, become a "law by custom." Neither of the two main sources of Muslim law, the Qur'an and the Sunnah mention the practice, and most Islamic scholars agree that it is not an Islamic religious rite. The practice has become important to Islam because it is associated with female sexual purity.

The education and sensitisation programmes that are sensitive to the cultural and religious importance of FGM seem to be the best hope of eradicating the practice.We therefore wish to encourage the institution that stand against FGM to keep up the crusade so that each and every member of society would give the practice a second thought and eventually abolish it.

Copyright © 2012 The Daily Observer. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.