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A challenge to Imam Fatty and cohorts to prove support of FGM based on teachings of Qur’an and Sunnah (Part 1)

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By Ali Fatty
Student, International Ahmadiyya University
of Theology and Scholastic Sciences in Ghana

There is going to be a debate in the National Assembly chambers in Banjul on a bill seeking to repeal the practice of FGM in The Gambia.

The debate on FGM in general has been ongoing for a long time among netizens regarding the legality or illegality of the practice in religion. Medically, the ramifications and dangers of FGM have been proven beyond doubt by medical experts.

Nevertheless, It is often the custom of some people that whenever they have a desire to practise anything for personal gains, they fanatically use religion as a scapegoat in fulfilling their vested interest. One such very common and debatable issue is the practice of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).

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A few years ago, I read from an online news website in the Gambia that reported that ‘an elderly woman’ was monitored by GAMCOTRAP an anti-FGM campaign group for subjecting some young girls to this barbaric and cruel act around the province of the Gambia in the Central River Region, although, the constitution of the Gambia outlaws the practice of FGM.

These people were arrested by the state and prosecuted. Mba-Yasi Fatty, 95, the circumciser, Nano Jalal and Kaddijatou Jallow, mothers of the circumcised girls from the northern Central River Region village of Niani Bakadagi were sentenced to a fines of 15,000 each in default to serve one year in prison for circumcising eight girls between the ages of four months and one year.

However, Imam Fatty, an ardent supporter of FGM, led a delegation from the Islamic Enlightenment Society to Bakadagi and paid the 35, 000 balances of the fine.(https://standard.gm/imam-fatty-others-pay-fines-for-women-convicted-of-fgm/)

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The said Imam, being a proponent of this unIslamic practice, has recently tried to align FGM with Islam and its Holy Founder, the Prophet Muhammad (saw), without supporting his arguments from the main sources of Islamic guidance, which are the Holy Qur’an, Sunnah (practical actions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)), and Hadith (oral narrations of the Holy Prophet (saw)).

Furthermore, the anti-FGM law was passed in 2015 during the presidency of former president Yahya Jammeh. Why didn’t he and his cohorts raise their voices in condemnation of the bill, or better still, inform him of the Islamic teachings regarding the practice if he deems it part of Islam? When the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said, “The best Jihad is to say a word of truth before a tyrant ruler.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 4344).

So, let Imam Fatty and his fellow Imams who defend FGM as an Islamic practice inform the Gambian populace why they remained silent when the bill was first enacted into law in 2015 if they are defenders of the true teachings of Islam and the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Additionally, I want to reiterate that the Government of the Gambia under the leadership of His Excellency President Adam Barrow and the IGP Abdoulie Sanyang must uphold the constitution of the Gambia by stopping and prosecuting Imam Fatty and his cohorts for clearly violating the constitution of the Gambia which is the supreme law of the land and governs all of us regardless of his status.

It is very unequivocal in  Section 32 B(1) of the Amended Women’s Act 2010 that  ‘Accomplices to female circumcision ‘ which reads” A person who requests, incites or promotes female circumcision by providing tools or by any other means commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of three years or a fine of fifty thousand Dalasis or to both”.

Dispelling a misconception

Additionally, the Gambia isn’t alone in this evil practice; there are numerous records which indicate its practice in other parts of Africa and the world at large. (Blocktvgambia.come/2023/01/30/a-woman-is-under-investigation-for-allegedly-circumcising-girls)

Inherently, what makes this atrocious and ungodly practice seemingly difficult to abolish is the fact that many folks have falsely taken it to be endorsed by religion, especially, the religion of Islam just to achieve their self-centred goals. Some of its ardent advocates have argued how the practice is important to ensure a woman’s virginity before marriage and is symbolic of a woman’s virtue and dignity.

However, in the Holy Qur’an, Allah, the Almighty has very beautifully addressed the Muslims that He created wives for men so that they find ‘Peace of mind’ together and that ‘He has put love and tenderness’ between spouses. Nothing in this verse gives the understanding that FGM would be necessary or desired, to attain the ideal marital relationship.

So, the truth of the matter remains, as far as Islam is concerned this practice is inhumane, it has no room in Islam and it’s a total violation of the human right of girls and women.

There are no Quranic or Hadith commandments that substantiate the practice of FGM. In fact, any teaching which is against human rights of women and girls can’t be taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). For example, a companion of the Holy Prophet (saw), Abu Shuraim Khuwailad ibn Amr Khuzai relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said; Allah, I declare sinful any failure to safeguard the rights of two weak ones, orphans and women (Nisai).

What is FGM?

“FGM entails all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical reason”. “Female Genital Mutilation”, World Health Organization, last modified February, 2014, http.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/.

The practice of FGM is widely conducted in most African countries; Gambia, Nigeria, Somalia, Ghana, Egypt etc.

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