The Kenyan imams have called for concerted efforts to raise awareness about the FMG and to enforce laws to stop the harmful practice
CAIRO – Kenya’s Muslim imams have condemned the female genital mutilation, saying the common practice violates the Islamic teachings.
“There is no authentic or relevant Islamic evidence allowing FGM in all its forms,” Kenya Council of Imams and Ulema (KCIU) said in the statement cited by AllAfrica news website.
“And the practice is harmful and violates freedom, privacy, health and dignity of the Muslim woman.”
The imams reiterated that Islamic teachings and practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) prohibit any practice that causes any form of harm to human beings.
FGM includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for traditional socio-religious and other non-medical reasons.
The practice involves using blades — often unsterilized and without anaesthesia — to slice off the clitoris and sometimes other parts of the external genitalia.
The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women, but instead causes severe bleeding, urinating problems, and later, childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending child births.
Last year, Kenyan MPs passed legislation banning FGM, with offenders punished by a seven-year jail term or a $5,000 (3,700 euro) fine, and life imprisonment if the circumcision results in death.
However, FGM is still practiced in many areas of Kenya’s Upper Eastern and North Eastern provinces.
The Kenyan imams have called for concerted efforts to raise awareness about the FMG and to enforce laws to stop the harmful practice.
“To this end, KCIU undertakes to mobilize resources over the next five years to support advocacy and other interventions and call upon development partners to continue supporting us,” they said.
The council also called for enforcing all FMG-related laws and urged mosques and Muslim institutions to contribute to fighting the practice.
Though illegal, FGM is still practiced throughout the world.
In Africa, it is common in a geographical area that stretches from Senegal in West Africa to Ethiopia on the East Coast, as well as from Egypt in the North to Tanzania in the south.
It is also practiced by some groups on the Arabian Peninsula.
The country where FGM is most prevalent is Egypt, followed by Sudan, Ethiopia and Mali.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
In Africa, the WHO estimates that three million girls are at risk for the practice annually.
FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the basic human rights of girls and women and is mainly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and the age of 15.
Many countries have put in place policies and legislations to ban the practice.