SOMALIA: MPs summon Puntland Ministers on FGM motion

GAROWE, Somalia Dec 13 2011 (Garowe Online) - Some Members of Parliament agreed to summon four ministers in Puntland State of Somalia due to a motion that has been regarded controversial that banned Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Puntland, Radio Garowe reports.

Puntland MPs met in the capital Garowe today to discuss summoning four Puntland Ministers that they felt broke certain religious rights of Muslims when they had passed a motion to ban FGM in Puntland.

The four Ministers included the Minister for Women's Development Asho Gelle, Minister for Education Abdi Farah Juha, Minister for Ports Said Mohamed Rage, and State Minister for Planning and International Cooperation Abdulkadir Hashi.

The Puntland Parliament summoned the four ministers because the motion to ban FGM in Puntland also bans Sunni circumcision for women, which is a common practice in Somalia and other Muslim countries. Sunni circumcision of women is not an obligation, while FGM is anti-Islamic, according to scholars.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines FGM as "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons."

The ant-FGM motion, which has been supported by senior Puntland officials, is expected to be passed by the Puntland Parliament after removing the clause that violates Sunni circumcision, according to parliament sources.

Puntland is located in northeastern Somalia and has had its own functioning government since 1998.

SOURCE: Garowe Online
DATE: December 13, 2011

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