From the Gambian Daily Observer, “Islam council boss on FGM,” with thanks to Two Stellas.
Barely a week after National Assembly members concern with women and child rights called on the Supreme Islamic Council, to make their stand know on the controversial FGM issue, Alhaji Banding Drammeh, president of SIC has broken his silence over the impasse saying that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practice carries no sin.
“FGM is a recommendation of the hadiths of the Prophet. It is an honour for a lady to undergo the practice of FGM,” Drammeh said.
Pressed on the specific Hadith (teachings of the Prophet) that permits FGM, the SIC boss replied: ” The practice is not compulsory in Islam. If you want to do, do it. If you do not want to do it leave it. It is an ordinary thing. We were not consulted by the NAMs on the issue. They went to Tendaba without inviting us.”
Asked about the health implications of the practice on women and the girl child, Drammeh said: “It is just today that the practice is harmful. For me it is just an ordinary thing,” he concluded.
During their tour of the provinces, the National Assembly Select Committee on Women and Children had described the “menace” as harmful to the health of the girl child. According to Nyimasata Sanneh Bojang, nominated member of the NA and member of the committee, the practice has brought about confusion as some link it to tradition, while other scholars link it to religion.
The practice has been the subject of rancour and impasse between conservative religious scholars and the women and child rights activists in the country. The practice has been abrogated in some African countries, especially Senegal, after years of struggle. But in The Gambia, activists continued to face hurdles in their quest to enlighten the masses about the health implications of the practice. They have arguing that there is no injunction in the Qur’an or the “authentic Hadiths” of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recommending the practice. They have been arguing that the practice is detrimental to the health or women as it impinges on their sexual rights, with severe consequences, especially during child delivery…