By Aisha Tamba
The executive director of anti-FGM campaign group Gamcotrap, Dr Isatou Touray, has called for the arrest of Imam Aboulie Fatty for his comments ‘inciting violence against anti- FGM campaigners’.
Over the weekend, Imam Fatty travelled with a delegation from the Islamic Enlightenment Society to Niani Bakadagi to pay the fines of three women recently convicted by a court for engaging in FGM. Whilst there, Imam Fatty said, among other things, that Muslims don’t want to help Islam that is why people are practicing female circumcision in secret. He also said if all agree to do it openly the government cannot jail a whole village talk less of the entire country.
However, the head of Gamcotrap and former vice president Dr Isatou Touray, in response, told The Standard yesterday that the imam’s comments tantamount to incitement and called for his arrest.
“This is incitement to violence and therefore an emergency issue and I call on the government, the ministers of gender and health, the chief justice and the IGP to arrest Imam Fatty because if anybody stands against the law, the law should take its course. This is unacceptable and I appeal to the women to know that this is about their lives and the future of their children. This is also against the knowledge and awareness the women have gained from Gamcotrap and other organisations that have spent so much money and energy for this law to be in place and for us to continue educating people to make the right choices and to move forward with their children’s education, leadership skills and health,” Dr Touray said.
She advised Gambian women not to listen to Imam Fatty but stand up to support those who have abandoned the knife and not to go back to the practice. “If they go back to the practice, they are destroying their lives and their children’s lives and I don’t think that is what they want,” the long term anti- FGM campaigner said.
She reiterated that FGM is not a religious but a traditional practice. “They know that this is not religious injunction and has nothing to do with Islam but a harmful tradition that all agree can be changed. The law is to protect them and to protect the rights of the women,” she said.
Safety of Gamcotrap staff
Dr Touray further expressed concern about the safety of the staff of Gamcotrap and other activists fighting against FGM. “I am worried about their safety in case of anything happening to them because of this incitement by Imam Fatty,” she said.