The Gambia Supreme Islamic Council has urged parliament to repeal law criminalising female circumcision amid row over the traditional practice.

The council urged lawmakers “to revisit and repeal this law because it criminalises Sunni circumcision, which should be left optional; whoever wants to practice, let her do so, and whoever doesn’t want to practice, let her leave.

“Encouraging parliamentarians to consult scholars on issues affecting religion. The Council warns those who take precedence over scholars and speak about religion in halal and haram without knowledge.

“As for cutting off the whole clitoris, this type is called Pharaonic circumcision (FGM), so Islam disapproves of this type because of its serious harm.”

“Therefore, a distinction must be made between Sunni circumcision and Pharaonic circumcision. On that note, the Islamic governing body of the Gambia recommends the following points for the benefit of all and sundry in order to safeguard the Sunnah and Islam; training female circumcisers to practice Sunni circumcision. 

“Beware of enacting laws that prevent Muslims from practicing their beliefs and customs that Islam has abhorred,” the council added.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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