President Barrow Working to Maintain Ban On FGM

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By Makutu Manneh 

After his meeting with President Adama Barrow at Statehouse recently, Rashad Hussain, US Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom revealed the President said he is working with members of the National Assembly to maintain the ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and said the president’s position has been very clear on this issue.

However, he said that they recognise the sensitivity of the issue,but said as the issue is being addressed by the Government at the national level, it is critical that they respect the voices of religious leaders. He said they will be talking to members of the National Assembly including those who have brought the legislation forward. He said they are encouraged by the work of civil society and look forward to their cooperation with leaders and organisations to ensure that they maintain a complete total ban on FGM practice.

Ambassador Hussain said he had a productive and straight forward conversation with the president.

“If one looks closely, this practice is banned in so many countries in the world.As a Muslim myself who is engaged with Muslim leaders in the country and around the world, it is clear this is a practice that violates Islamic principles because there are some cases where women and girls are being killed,” he said, adding that they heard from civil society, activists and religious leaders and others who are working passionately towards the rights of women and girls in The Gambia. He said this includes their efforts to work together to maintain the ban on the practice of FGM.