By Mbarak Abucheri:
Imams, Muslim scholars and religious teachers in Nakuru marked the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female genital mutilation (FGM) by creating awareness and sensitizing the local communities on the danger of the harmful and un-Islamic practice.
Under the auspice of Kenya Council of Imams and Ulamaa (KCIU) Rift Valley branch, the Imams, Muslim scholars and women leaders drawn from Nakuru, Baringo, and Laikipia held public forums to deliberate and educate the local communities on issue of FGM and its effects in light of Islamic teachings and Kenya laws.
At the same time the KCIU’s ambassadors conducted outreaches in schools and madrassas aimed at reaching girls and boys age 9+ with anti-FGM/C messages.
Addressing the forums on Monday, the Rift Valley KCIU coordinator Sheikh Ishaq Mahmoud noted that there is no authentic or relevant Islamic evidence sanctioning or allowing Female Genital Mutilation in all its forms and called on all Muslim institutions to take up and support resolute action to stop the harmful practice.
”Female Genital Mutilation is not Islamic and Islam was being used to shield an evil intention that is harmful to an individual’s development,” FGM was not justified by either the Quran or the Sunnah or hadith (traditions and sayings of Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him)” he said.
Sheikh Ishaq further observed that based on the adverse medical, health, social and psychological effects of the practice, it is prohibited by Islamic law and Kenyan laws expressly illegalize the practice.
He said the promotion of the abandonment of FGM requires coordinated and systematic efforts, which must engage whole communities and focus on human rights and gender equality, stressing that these efforts also need to emphasize societal dialogue and the empowerment of communities to act collectively to end the practice. ”Society must also address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences,” said Sheikh Ishaq.
On his part KCIU Project Coordinator, Sheikh Ahmad Rashid said FGM practice violates girls and women rights to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death
He stated that Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Sheikh Rashid pointed out that KCIU through the Wezesha Wasichana Wetu – Empower Our Girls Project in collaboration with other partners will strive to end FGM amongst the Muslim communities in the counties of Nakuru, Baringo and Laikipia. The Project is being supported by the Positive Action for Girls and Women.
The Imams, Muslim scholars and women leaders collectively resolved to support and strengthen the national advocacy campaign in order to enable delivery on effective intervention towards total abandonment of the practice.
The spiritual leaders also resolved to mobilize resources to support advocacy and other interventions and appealed for development partners to come out and support the cause.