Somali Father Defends FGM After 10-Year-Old Daughter Bleeds to Death

Protecting girls from mutilation in rural Uganda

A Somali father defended the practice of female genital mutilation despite his daughter bleeding to death as a result of the procedure, Voice of America reported on Sunday.

Dahir Nur said that although he was left distraught after the death of his 10-year-old daughter, he believes she was “taken by Allah” and does not hold anyone directly responsible for her death.

“The people in the area are content with it [FGM], her mother consented to it,” he said. “We have seen the effects but it’s a culture in the country we live in.”

Dr. Abdirahman Omar Hassan, who was part of the response team that attempted to save the girl, told Voice Of America that she bled to death after she was subjected to the procedure, adding that it was one of the worst mutilations he had seen in his life.

“She was brought in during the early evening, we all rushed to the emergency [room] when we learned her situation,” Hassan said. “She died because she was losing lots of blood.”

“They cut the clitoris, one side of the vulva was cut, the other side was wounded in three areas,” he continued. “I never saw anyone who was mutilated like that in my life.”

The FGM procedure is particularly prevalent in Somalia, involving the partial or total removal of a girl’s genitals organs. which can severely damage physical, mental and psychosocial well being of those who undergo it.

“In Somalia, FGM prevalence is about 95 percent and is primarily performed on girls aged 4-11,” the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) notes. “Despite the many internationally recognized laws against FGM, lack of validation in Islam and global advocacy to eradicate the practice, it remains embedded in Somali culture.”

Campaigners across Somalia have lobbied politicians to pass laws the practice, which is already banned under the country’s constitution. However, such efforts have been blocked by politicians who fear it could alienate hardline Islamic voters who consider it a religious requirement.

In February, U.N. Secretary‑General António Guterres warned that unless further action is taken, the procedure could rise significantly in years to come.

“Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls,” he said.  Over 200 million women and girls alive today have experienced female genital mutilation in 30 countries across three continents.  Without concerted, accelerated action, a further 68 million girls could be subjected to this harmful practice by 2030.

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