A Gambian women group calls for a ban on female circumcision be lifted as it is a religious right guaranteed in the country’s statue book.

Gambian Women are Free to Choose (GWAFC) in a statement says majority of the country’s women “uphold female circumcision as a religious expression and a cultural right”.

The group adds that female circumcision is viewed globally as a “complementary and interdependent cultural practices that predate Islam”.

National Assembly

“The majority of ethnic groups in The Gambia practice both male and female circumcision as part of gender inclusive initiation that confer and affirm the right of marriage between a husband and wife in accordance with ancestral tradition or customary law.  

“For most Gambian women, female circumcision is experienced as a beautifying procedure that enhances women’s sexual pleasure and orgasm. Female circumcision is also affirmed as an aesthetic practice in the Hadiths as well as by the increasing popularity and normalisation of female genital cosmetic surgeries, such as labiaplasty, clitoroplasty and hoodectomy in Western countries and around the world,” the group says.   

 According to the group, the practice enhances hygiene and eliminates transmission of the cancer causing HPV virus in women and “the accumulation of smegma and bacteria that can cause phimosis or painful fusions of clitoral foreskin.”

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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