I have spoken before (here, here, and here) about the fact that as FGM seems to have some Islamic jurisprudence backing, it will be very difficult to remove it in this febrile atmosphere. And as it seems, it is coming true. Now the Yemeni Parliament has refused to ban the FGM practice and the blame seems to be on conservative members of parliament. I quote:
SANA’A, April-13 — Preventing female circumcision and pre-marriage medical tests evoked turmoil and disagreement among Parliament members (MPs) in last week’s session.
The session ended with a unanimous agreement to cancel the term 3, which would prevent female circumcision, and delay the discussion of pre-marriage tests.
The two terms were part of a draft written by the Safe Motherhood Law Project, and introduced by the heath committee inside Parliament.
Najeb Ghanem, the Chairman of the Health Committee in Parliament, expressed his sorrow over the way Parliament discussed the two issues.
“These two topics are very important for guaranteeing women’s rights in Yemen,” he commented in a phone call to the Yemen Times after the session.
According to Ghanem, who belongs to the Islah party, most of the MPs who disagreed with the terms represent the conservative attitudes of most Yemeni citizens. “The committee is aware of the Yemeni conservative community’s positions on these issues. So we [the committee] suggested applying the law of emphasizing pre-marriage medical tests after ten years… that is after we carry out extensive awareness campaign to educate people about the importance of such tests.”
Zid Al-Shami, an MP who suggested delaying the approval of the two terms, confirmed that such topics are “sensitive and need more awareness.”
“I suggested canceling term number three, about preventing female circumcision, for many reasons. First, the term, which was written in the draft, included inappropriate and shameful sentences. Second, female circumcision exists in few regions in Yemen, like in Hodeidah and Hadramout, so it not common practice. And finally, there is still religious debate regarding the issue, so as we have no directives by the heads of religion to forbid female circumcision, we do not have the right to ban it,” Al-Shami explained.
See this is the problem, this is not a question of conservatism or liberalism, it is a question of whether or not you believe in the faith or not. If you do, then by dint of the fact that it is said so (howsoever weak it would be), means that FGM is an indicator of faith. Tragic as it might sound, that is indeed why it will be extremely difficult to remove this.
See the last line? they are waiting for some mullah somewhere to say that it is bad. Now why on earth would a Mullah say so? take 100 of them and 99 will not forbid it. And as is the case, seems like most Yemeni men also prefer to do so.
See what i mean by having a long way to go before this is addressed?