News

Sudan holds First Sofist Forum on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

20 September 2012

With UNFPA support, the Federal Ministry of Guidance and Endowment organized the First Sofist Forum on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting focusing on “Keeping the Girl Saleema – intact” as a principle entrenched in Islamic teachings.

With UNFPA support, the Federal Ministry of Guidance and Endowment organized the First Sofist Forum on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting focusing on “Keeping the Girl Saleema – intact” as a principle entrenched in Islamic teachings.

Held on the last week of Ramadan at the premise of one of the prominent Sofist Sects in Omdurman, Khartoum; the forum was attended by the Minister of Guidance and Endowment, more than ten Sofist Sects leaders, local government officials, Islamic scholars, the media in addition to hundreds of spectators.

Sofist Sects represent the mainstream Islam in Sudan with millions of followers across the country. Sofist Sects leaders enjoy special status in Sudanese society and play a central role in the teaching and practice of moderate Islam. There are hundreds of Sofist Sects and sub-sects in the country. Sofist Sects have a considerable impact on community members ranging from preschool education (khalwa) to weekly Friday Sermon by Imams (religious leaders) where Islamic teachings are enforced to weddings contracts and blessings.

“We count on Sofist Sects to raise awareness about modern time issues, especially women issues,” said Ghazi Elsayed Abdel Rahim, Minister of Guidance and Endowment. He added that women are the mothers, sisters, wives and daughters and their wellbeing would mean the wellbeing of the whole society.

Under Secretary of the Ministry of Guidance and Endowment, Elfatih Mukhtar Mohamed, underscored the Ministry’s determination to get into a strategic partnership with UNFPA to correct misconceptions to combat harmful practices such as FGM that degrade women, whom Islam has actually honored and recognized their full role in the society.

Mr. Mohamed further noted that “through this partnership, we will do our utmost best to combat Female Genital Mutilation that harms women physically, psychologically and socially.”

Sofist Sects leaders also addressed the event affirming their commitment to women issues in order to create healthy and balanced generations.

Sheikh Majdi Salah Eddin Elahmadi, leader of one of the prominent Sects, Al Ahmadiya, said that they are planning on holding workshops to train Imams and preachers in villages and rural areas on raising awareness about FGM. “FGM is degrading to women, has no ground in Islam and negates the United Nations charters on human and women rights,” he added.

Among other projects and activities at the policy and community levels, the First Sofist Forum comes as a continuation of UNFPA diligent work on raising awareness about the harmful practice of FGM/C and delinking it from Islam. UNFPA considers religious and community leaders as instrumental in the abandonment of FGM/Cutting.