Somalia: Fatwa against FGM

Mzansi Afrika
Sapa reports the welcome news that a group of prominent muslim clerics in Somalia have issued a fatwa against female genital mutilation.
It seems that some promising developments may have taken place in the fight to eradicate the horrific practise of female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision.
The group of prominent Muslim clerics have condemned the custom as being against the Islamic religion, and say that it should be a punishable offence. One of the clerics was quoted as saying that every girl "suffering this fate" should be able to take their parents on in an Islamic court and ask for compensation. Unfortunately at this stage, it appears that this last statement was more hypothetical than anything else. Also, there is no such thing as rule of law in Somalia where powerful clan allegiances hold sway, and differences between religious leaders are rife. So, in reality the fatwa will be difficult if not impossible to enforce. Even so, this is an unusual move, and although optimism is probably completely baseless, the fact that this has happened at all, is to be highly commended.

Originally published in the blog on 27 October 2005