The 30 Somali teenagers – both boys and girls – all agreed: Female genital mutilation is harmful and the practice should be abandoned. But what they really meant, they revealed moments later, is that girls should have their genitalia cut – just not sewn shut.
“It’s our tradition and if the girls are not subjected to suna(cutting) she will not be accepted for marriage,” said Asthma Ibrahim Jabril, 17.
The students, who are part of an afterschool club in Somaliland which the U.N. children’s agency helps fund, discuss issues like child labor, early marriage, and female genital mutilation in a classroom with several large hearts scrawled along the walls.
UNICEF is weaving a delicate campaign to educate communities in Somaliland about the harms of female genital mutilation and to get leaders, who are meeting there this month to debate the practice, to denounce it. Child rights advocates in nearly 30 countries are fighting to reduce the number of girls subjected to the cutting of their genitalia, a practice that goes back thousands of years and that Somali practitioners often link to Islamic requirements.
Read the rest: Somali Teens Say They Want Female Genital Mutilation.
I can only cry for these poor girls who want to follow a custom that injures their health and mutilates their bodies to be accepted. Islam has those things it allows (hallal) and those things it doesn’t allow (haram) according to its laws. FGM is permitted but it is not obligatory.