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Hon. Almameh Gibba, NAM for Foni Kansala Constituency, Plans Bill to Repeal Ban on Female Circumcision

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Hon. Almameh Gibba National Assembly Member for Foni Kansala

By Buba Gagigo

The Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly has disclosed that Almameh Gibba, the National Assembly Member representing Foni Kansala Constituency, is poised to introduce legislation aimed at abolishing the prohibition on female circumcision.

“The Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly wishes to publish the following statement of the general nature and objects of the Women’s (Amendment) Bill, 2024 which is a Bill intended to be introduced by Honourable Almameh Gibba, National Assembly Member for Foni Kansala Constituency,” they announced.

The proposed bill, known as the Women’s (Amendment) Bill, 2024, is intended to address what Gibba perceives as a conflict between the ban on female circumcision and the deeply ingrained ethnic, traditional, cultural, and religious beliefs of the majority of Gambian citizens.

According to Hon. Gibba, lifting the ban on female circumcision is essential for upholding religious purity and preserving cultural norms and values. He argues that the current prohibition infringes upon citizens’ rights to practice their culture and religion as enshrined in the Constitution. With The Gambia’s predominantly Muslim population, Gibba asserts that laws inconsistent with the majority’s aspirations warrant reconsideration. He emphasizes the cultural significance of female circumcision within Islam, citing teachings from the Prophet Muhammad.

“It seeks to uphold religious purity and safeguard cultural norms and values. The current ban on female circumcision is a direct violation of citizens’ rights to practice their culture and religion as guaranteed by the Constitution. Given The Gambia’s predominantly Muslim population, any law that is inconsistent with the aspirations of the majority of the people should be reconsidered. Female circumcision is a culturally significant practice supported by Islam, with clear proof of the teachings from our Prophet (S.A.W). It is to be noted that the use of laws to restrict religious or cultural practices, whether intentional or otherwise, can lead to conflict and friction,” he said.

Furthermore, Gibba highlights the contradiction between the ban on female circumcision and the principles promoted by the United Nations, which encourage the preservation of cultural and historical heritages. He challenges the terminology used by anti-female circumcision activists, arguing that properly conducted circumcision, as per religious guidelines, should not be labeled as “mutilation.” Gibba believes that revoking the ban will enable individuals to practice circumcision safely, guided by religious teachings and care.

“It is important to challenge the terminology used by anti-female circumcision movements, who label the practice as “mutilation.” Properly conducted circumcision, as per religious guidelines and teachings, is not and cannot be deemed mutilation. Emphasizing this distinction is crucial in addressing concerns raised by activists. Revoking the ban on female circumcision will allow people to indulge in the practice with all its precautions, guided by religion, diligence, and care.” she said.

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