Puntland Justice Minister Defends FGM Law

Garowe (PP News Desk) — Puntland Justice Minister Awil Sheikh Hamid yesterday defended the law banning practice of female genital mutilation in Puntland State of Somalia.

“There is neither a Koranic verse nor a valid ruling in the Prophet’s traditions allowing for the practice of female genital mutilation” said Awil. The Justice Minister responded to criticisms that foreign organisations had sponsored the FGM law. “No foreign organisation is behind the law to ban the practice of the abominable FGM. It is our initiative based on legal principles“ added Awil.

Garowe-based religious leaders have opposed the law passed by Puntland Parliament on 10th of June, 2021. “The law banning FGM contravenes our religion and values. There are valid traditions in support of female circumcision” said one Sheikh. “We have other priorities in Somalia such as building hospitals spokesperson for the religious. Pre-1991 Somali governments never entertained banning female circumcision” said another Sheikh.

Known among Somalis as Pharaonic circumcision, female genital mutilation is a heinous traditional procedure that many Somali girls undergo. “I believe religious leaders and Puntland government object to FGM but they disagree on how to go about addressing it” said Saido Adan Mire, a senior public health worker.

During 1980s the Military government of Somalia organised health awareness campaigns against FGM based on Sisters in Affliction, a book written by former Deputy Health Minister Raqiya Haji Du’aleh.

FGM causes reproductive health problems for women. Egypt and Sudan banned FGM several years ago. Puntland government has been commended for submitting the anti-FGM law to Puntland Parliament.

© Puntland Post, 2021