“FGM is strictly forbidden in Islam and it is a violation against women” Ethiopia – Summer Campaign 2023

Journalist Hanan Farah Abdirahman from Somali Region TV holds a symposium concerning social perceptions on the difference between Fir’onic circumcision (FGM) and Sunnah (male) circumcision.

After winning a grant from the Global Media Campaign, Abdirahman held the symposium with three prominent religious scholars in the Somali region. Sheikh Abdulahi farah (Makhluq), Sheik Abdihalim Mo’alin Yare and Sheik Abdirahman Mohamed Hussen have the expertise to educate their community and raise awareness about harmful traditional practices.

The symposium also invited participants from women and youth associations, social activists and FGM campaigners in Jigiga city. The participants were able to present questions and ideas during the forum, so that the scholars could give details about what the religion says about the use of Sunnah circumcision and to correct the confusion in the community.

Sheikh Abdulahi Farah Makhluq, Religious scholar and head of Jigjiga City Supreme Islamic Affairs Council, defined the two types of circumcision and discussed Islamic views on male and female circumcision.

FGM is strictly forbidden in Islam and it is a violation against women during the development of the girl, during menstruation, during childbirth and for the rest of her life.

Abdulahi highlighted the responsibility of parents to prevent their children from experiencing the same suffering they did. Mothers who have faced the impacts of FGM must therefore lead the fight against this violence against women.

Sheikh Abdulahi Farah Makhluq, head of Jigjiga City Supreme Islamic Affairs Council, discussing the dangers of FGM.

Sheik Abdihalim Mo’alim Yare, another leading Islamic scholar in the region, addressed that:

These two types of circumcision are incomparable because FGM is baseless and not relevant to the Islamic religion.

While Sunnah (male) circumcision is a type that Islamic religion allows (although there are some scholarly differences in the view of conducting the circumcision), Sheik Abdihalim also said that Muslim women are very privileged in Islam. Their body parts are very honoured in Islam for that reason so it is a social responsibility to protect the most valuable body parts of daughters and girls and collaborate together to fight against harmful traditional practices, particularly FGM or Fir’onic circumcision.

Sheik Abdirahman Mohamed Hussen also addressed that they’re not here to compare Fir’onic circumcision and Sunnah circumcision but they are here to intensify that Fir’onic circumcision is completely Haram and not allowed in Islam. FGM is highly dangerous for the health of the women and causes bleeding and death in villages and rural areas.

The program prompted the community to gain a broad understanding of religious views regarding the differences between the two types of circumcisions. The religious scholars described the correct methods of performing Sunnah circumcision to avoid the negative effects of pharaonic circumcision. Many important discussions also took place between community activists, including Muna Huseen and Abdikarin Mohamed Ahmed.

SRTV is the most watched TV channel in the Somali Region, it could directly participate in raising public awareness in fighting against female genital mutilation.

Hanan Farah Abdirahman, senior journalist from SRTV