Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Female Genital Mutilation

Hannah Allam and Miret al Naggar has been two of my favourite journalists for a long time, but when McClathy took over Knight ridder, i lost track of both of them for a while.

In January, the two of them co-wrote a story on the very important, but under reported subject of female genital mutilation that i wanted to post about at that time. Just days ago i discovered that Hannah has a blog and yesterday she invited Miret to write about her feelings after the death of a primary school girl, Budur Shaker in the Minya governate, in Middle Egypt. The girl died on the operation table from an anesthetic overdose. during an illegal operation at a clinic, The operation being one of female genital mutilation, or referred to more often as circumcision.

The child had just finished her primary school exams with excellent results.

The case has rendered a lot of media attention for once, and the prime independent daily newspaper al Masry al Youm who broke the news have continued to follow up on the story, and FGM in general and was reporting(probably from the same report that el Naggar and Allam qouted in their January piece) that 97 percent of married women in Egypt have been subjected to FGM. and according to Allam 70 percent of girls under 18 have been, or are expected to undergo the procedure.

It even rendered the attention of Egypt´s first lady, Mrs Suzanne Mubarak, a Minya native herself, She stated in a speech at a UN-sponsored conference in Cairo on the theme of prevention of violence against children on Monday, that she hoped that the tragic death of Budur would be the beginning of the end of FGM in Egypt.

Please read Hannah and Miret´s account, this just have to end.


The first lady announced yesterday that a national campaign against the practice of FGM will be launched. It will be called ¨The beginning of the end¨ In the same spirit the leading independent daily, Masry al Youm is launching a press campaign against FGM.

The Mufti Dr Ali Gouma has also issued a fatwa, prohibiting the practice, and stating that it has nothing to with Islam. This is a step forward from the days of the UN habitat conference in the mid nineties, when the then mufti, Tantawi was saying the same thing, but the Sheikh al Azhar, the late Gad al Haq was claiming the opposite. Tantawi is the current head of al Azhar.

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