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GAMBIA: IMAM FATTY AN ARDENT SUPPORTER OF FGM, PAID THE FINE IMPOSED ON 3 WOMEN BY THE COURTS

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Renowned Islamic cleric Imam Abdoulie Fatty has paid the fines imposed by the courts on three women convicted of carrying out female genital mutilation.

Mba-Yasin Fatty, 95, the circumciser, Nano Jalal and Kaddijatou Jallow mothers of the circumcised girls from the northern Central River Region village of Niani Bakadagi were last week sentenced to fines of D15,000 each in default to serve one year in prison for circumcising eight girls between the ages of four months and one year.

Over the weekend, Imam Fatty, an ardent supporter of FGM, led a delegation from the Islamic Enlightenment Society to Bakadagi and paid the D35,000 balance of the fine.

While presenting the cash to the women, Imam Fatty said the campaign against female circumcision in the country is part of the fight against Islam and that he and his cohorts will unhesitatingly continue to defend the practice.

He stated: “We have clashed with them so many times on this female circumcision issue, because all they are saying about it is not true and even the doctors who are Muslims confirmed so. In fact, there is no hospital in this country that can confirm that women died during their labour because they were circumcised. This campaign against female circumcision is actually a fight against Islam. But we are ready to sacrifice everything and we are not going to take even one step back.

“We want to tell them that anybody who blew the whistle on these women and those who arrested them and the magistrate who sentenced them and any other person who support them, we will curse them until we leave this world to ensure that Allah destroys them. That will deter others. We don’t want violence but enough is enough. Let us stop provoking and offending each other. We should follow the command of Prophet Muhammad. Instead, they are fighting Islam, but Allah will be the judge.”

Imam Fatty contended that women are openly selling sex in the streets, drinking alcohol, and engaging in all kinds of illicit and iniquitous behaviour which the activists don’t talk about on the false premise that those are rights. 

“These FGM campaigners,” he said, “never talk about those issues, because they term them as their rights. But circumcising your child is not your right?” he asked.

“We the Muslims, we don’t want to help Islam, and that is why people are practicing female circumcision in secret. If we all agreed, we will do it openly without any secret because the government cannot jail the whole village talk less of the entire country,” he stated.

He said imposing the D45,000 fine on the poor women at this stage of the rainy season “callous”.

He continued: “May Allah blessed the former president Jawara. During his regime, people were practicing female circumcision. At the tail end of his government, Gamcotrap came in and they went to the West telling them that they were going to eradicate female circumcision in The Gambia. The year I was removed as the imam of State House Mosque, one Jaha Dukureh came from America and said she will make sure that female circumcision is banned in this country. She went and met President Jammeh at State House and they gave her the assurance that the president will embark on a nationwide tour and when he reached Kanilai, he will announce the banning of FGM in The Gambia. This ban was announced at a political rally in Kanilai and then made law.”

He said Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy objected to the banning but Jammeh imposed his power and make it as the law.

“Yahya Jammeh also declared The Gambia as an Islamic state. They all came out and condemned it in the strongest term because that empowered the Islamic religion. But the one against Islam which is the banning of female circumcision., they all remained mute. This is the hypocrisy, ” he chastised.

Speaking earlier, Alhaji Kebba Conteh the imam of Serekunda Market Mosque stated: “If we embrace one another, this will never happen because the one who reported this matter is a Muslim. Let us not allow to be divided as Muslims.  This is not a Fatty Kunda issue. That is why we all came from Kombo.”

The village alkalo Sarjo Kanyi and imam Almamo Jaiteh told Imam Fatty and his delegation that they backed their stance. 

In 2015, The Gambia amended the 2010 Women’s Act and criminalised the practice of FGM and stipulated several punishments.

The Islamic Enlightenment Society eponymously tasks itself with enlightening Muslims about Islam and defending its values.

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