Thursday, February 9, 2012

9 in 10 Kenyan Muslims practice Female Genetal mutilation

From Europe News:

9 in 10 Kenyan Muslims practice Female Genetal mutilation

Africa Science News 8 February 2012
By Morara Kebaso

A study in North Eastern Kenya and released in Nairobi Monday by Mothers’ Lap Foundation (MLF), a rights group, paints a grim picture in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The results of the report come out even as the practice among Somali Muslims rise beyond 90 per cent.

The study; Delinking Islam from FGM shows that 97 per cent of the Muslims in North Eastern Kenya practice FGM in the name of religious and cultural beliefs and strongly links religious beliefs in the Somali community to the current prevalence rates.

While releasing the figures,Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome said thousands of young Somali girls; barely in their teens, undergo FGM regularly.

"When I see a young Somali girl walking on the road, I pity her because; soon she will be experiencing the worst form of human rights violations- FGM. Nobody can convince me that a girl as young as 6 years old is undergoing the ‘rite of passage’. This rite of passage is from what to what?” asked Lethome.

Worse, said Lethome who led the study – the girls are left under the mercies of brutal village genital ‘cutters’ who use "crude tools of mass destruction” (circumciser’s knife), sewing needle and a thread.

"Nobody is there for these innocent souls. There is not a single person to complain to the authorities on behalf of the young girls. The father pays for FGM services; the mother takes the girl to the circumciser and when you ask the police; one is told; ‘we don’t want to interfere with peoples’ culture. The politician will say; he will lose votes. So who will cry for the girls?” again posed Lethome.

He added that; it is more piteous that the ‘cutter’; chest thumps after performing the circumcision saying; ‘I am the best, I do it like a sewing machine.’

According to the study, FGM is still high among the Kisii community of Nyanza where it is still perceived as a part of culturd. It is second at 96 per cent after North Eastern Kenya, followed by the Maasai at 94 per cent; and Taita Taveta at 62 per cent.

The study revealed that FGM is practiced in most of the 47 counties in the country with Central Kenya recording a steady rise after the vice had been seen to reduce two years ago.

"Due to the sustained Mungiki activities in Central Kenya and other adjacent regions, FGM has been seen to rise again, despite initially going down,” said MLF legal adviser, Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome at the organisation’s offices in Nairobi on Monday.

Among the Kikuyu community, FGM practice is currently standing at 33 per cent.

Statistics show that as much there is political good will among the Kalenjin leaders to stump out FGM, it is still practiced and lies at 49 per cent followed by Embu and Meru at 43 and 41 per cent respectively. The prevalence rate of FGM in the Kamba community stands at 27 per cent with other groups recording 21 per cent and 5 per cent for Mijikenda and the Swahili people of Coast.

International Human Rights activist, Ansar Burney, who is visiting Kenya; Somali and Ethiopia, challenged the media to come out and speak for the young girls who literally do not have any hopes for the future as old men were waiting in the fringes to marry them.

"We need to create awareness; positively sensitise against FGM among communities that practice it. And this can only be done best by the media through conveying the right information. I urge you the Kenyan media to fight for the girl child’s rights because FGM is a human rights violation; it is like killing a girl,” said Burney.

Posted February 8th, 2012 by pk

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