By Sarata Jabbi
Campaign for an end to a harmful traditional practice called Female Genital Mutilation/Circumcision, (FGM/C) is on increase on daily basis in the UK. According the world health organisation FGM/C comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
During the weekend the Muslim Women Network UK (MWNUK), in partnership with St Alban’s Academy, FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development) UK, and the West Midlands Police organised a Summit on FGM at St Alban’s Academy, Highgate Birmingham. The aim of Summit was to bring together survivor communities and practitioners, to identify gaps in service provision, share knowledge, and establish Birmingham as a leading hub for modelling best practice by engaging schools, practitioners and parents in fight against FGM.
In her welcoming remark the Executive Director of the MWNUK, Faeeza Vaid, described the event as an important landmark event for Birmingham in highlighting FGM, and bringing together multiple agencies. Ms Vaid went on to say that only by working collaboratively will they be able to end FGM in a generation. Over 137,000 girls and women living in England and Wales have been affected by FGM and 130 million girls and women experienced some form of FGM globally, revealed Ms Vaid.
On the way that Birmingham can make a difference in tackling FGM, Shabana Mahmood, MP, Shadow Treasury minister and MP Ladywood Nechells called on all residents regardless of race or colour to work together in raising awareness on the effects of FGM, adding that men should equally join the struggle and become champions by making sure that the world become free of FGM.
Other speakers include Alison Byrne FGM specialist-Heartland hospital, Gillian Squires Child Protection Unit, West Midlands Police, Hazel Pulley and Vanessa Diakides, who all spoke at length on the safeguarding, health and law aspect of FGM as well as the importance of the raising awareness in schools, and communities across Birmingham.
Imam Ahmed Johari and Father Nicholas lo Polito both strongly argues that FGM is harmful to human body, and neither the Bible nor the Qur’an gives anyone the right to harm another person. The summit was attended by health professionals, police, teachers, survivors, students, faith leaders, and community groups.