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SOMALIA/UK: CaseStudy: Female Circumcision, The Husband

It took a death threat to stop Abdi’s wife from circumcising their two daughters, aged 2 and 4. She called him from Somalia while on holiday to say she wanted to carry out the procedure.

Abdi, a London-based Somali, said that his wife’s eagerness to circumcise their daughters was fuelled by a combination of religious, cultural and tribal pressures placed on her after she took the girls to Somalia for a brief summer break last year.

But he refused to be swayed, despite his wife’s argument that the girls would improve their chances of attracting a good husband because they would be perceived as being more traditional and pure.

“I told my wife and her mother who was really eager to have my girls circumcised that if they dare do it, I will kill my wife,” he said. “And I also said I will take the girls to the GP when they return from Somalia to make sure that they didn’t have it done to them.”

Abdi, 29, is one of a growing number of African men opposing female circumcision because of the psychological and physiological effects it has on its victims.

“It is women who believe in the concept as their duty to look after their children,” said Abdi, who is also aware of prospective mother-in-laws examining their sons’ future brides to ensure they are circumcised.

Women “fear that if they don’t circumcise their daughters then they won’t be able to get them married”, he said.

“I know many men who work very hard and at times make serious threats to their wives to make sure their girls don’t get circumcised,” he added.

SOURCE: Times Online

AUTHOR: Richard Kerbaj

URL: Click here

DATE: 23/03/2009

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