Somaliland issues Fatwa: Female Genital Mutilation is Banned in the Country

The pain took away her innocence and freedom to decide what she wants to do with her body. At 5, she is ignorant of what has happened to her but the pain between her legs was the reality that something terrible has been done on her.  Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM) is a harmful and barbaric practice in Africa that has refused to die even with modernity and awareness.

Somaliland has finally  issued a “fatwa” (religious edict) that  banned Female Genital Mutilation, a feat that is going to give females the right to decide what to do with their bodies. Anyone who is caught performing FGM in the land will be severely punished and victims will be eligible for compensation. The deadly practice involves the remove of a part or all of the female genitalia.

“The reason that this harmful practice has existed for so long is that people believe it is because our religion or culture dictates that we should do it,” said Ayan Mahamoud, Somaliland’s representative in Britain. “The fatwa is basically a message from the government to everyone in Somaliland that there is no religious or cultural basis for FGM,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Worldwide, an estimated 200 million females have undergone this mutilation, that can cause serious mental and physical health problems. Many families strongly believe it is a religious obligation that will ensure that a girl is purified and it is regarded as a prerequisite to marriage in Somaliland. The ritual is often practiced using unsterilized knives or blades.  Infibulation, which is the most severe type of FGM, where the external genitalia is completely removed is what the land practices.

“It took us 42 years to reach this day, but, this is not the end of the battle,” tweeted Edna Adan, a leading anti-FGM campaigner in Somaliland. “FGM must be completely eradicated in my country and everywhere in the world.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres is looking for ways to ensure that the practice is banned wherever the practice is still taking place around the world.

I”With the dignity, health and well-being of millions of girls at stake, there is no time to waste. Together, we can and must end this harmful practice.” According to the message, “Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls. Over 200 million women and girls alive today have experienced female genital mutilation in 30 countries across three continents.

“Without concerted, accelerated action, a further 68 million girls could be subjected to this harmful practice by 2030. With strong political engagement, we are seeing success in several countries. But this progress is not enough to keep up with population growth. Unless we act now, the number of cases will continue to rise”, he added.

The dangers of FGM has been created in a movie titled `Alero,’  where a story of  little girl who was circumcised was told. Over the years, we have seen a lot of movies and awareness fighting this deadly practice. We hope other countries that are still practicing end it soon.