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Friday, September 18, 2020

British FGM campaigner backs US campaign to raise awareness on cutting

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The campaign across the Atlantic is being led by Jaha Dukureh, a mother of three from Atlanta who was put through FGM in The Gambia when very young. Dukureh is calling on Barack Obama to order a new study on FGM that would establish how many American women and girls are at risk of the practice, thereby paving the way to tackle the crime.

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The change.org petition by 24-year-old Dukureh had attracted almost 60,000 signatures as of Wednesday and has now been given the backing of Fahma Mohamed, who was the face of Britain’s Guardian newspaper’s campaign in England, which won the support of more than 230,000 people. Fahma said that action was needed to identify the scale of the problem in the US.

Dukureh was subjected to FGM when she was an infant in growing up in The Gambia. “It took away a part of my femininity, my ownership to my body. Some girls, including my half-sister who died from complications from being cut, even lose their lives,” she wrote in the introduction to her online petition.

“Jaha is incredibly brave for speaking out,” she said. “She needs to show President Obama that there is a worldwide movement of people looking to him to take action to end the horror of FGM in the US. Ordinary people like us really can make a difference. When we really believe in something, when we know something is wrong, we have a moral duty to speak out and do whatever we can to make change.”

Dukureh, who has won backing for her campaign from the UN secretary general Ban-Ki Moon, said she was delighted to have Fahma’s support. “When I saw Fahma’s campaign in the UK, it inspired me to take action too,” she said. “Since I launched  Change.org petition in the US, we’ve been in touch over email and Twitter and her support has meant so much to me. It’s exciting to see this campaign become global and I hope the US government sees that this is a worldwide movement fighting to protect girls from the practice of FGM.”

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