A Message for International Day Against FGM from Hibo Wardere

For International Development Week, in partnership with the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation, Islamic Relief Canada shared a video message to highlight some key people in their community doing some inspirational work.

This video is a message for International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) from Hibo Wardere, a survivor of FGM/ C (Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting). Despite what she’s been through, she is determined to continue advocating for an end to this practice.

The full video can be access on our YouTube channel here.

Islamic Relief Canada is an international NGO that works with communities locally and in over 30 countries worldwide to strengthen their resilience to calamities and provide vital emergency aid when disasters occur. We help the impoverished access basic services, including education, water and sanitation as well as healthcare. We provide long lasting routes out of poverty through our sustainable development schemes, tackling the root causes of poverty while making sure the worlds most vulnerable have real influence in both our programs and advocacy. 

Our policy, research and advocacy work focus on a number of areas which allows us to lift communities out of poverty, empower communities and to influence change. We've done a number of field studies to delve deeper into subjects that concern our right holders and a crucial issue concerning us is Female Genital Mutilation (also known as Female Genital Cutting). This is a form of violence that targets girls between infancy and their teens. It is a practice that often includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is often performed by birth attendants or cutters that use items such as special knives, razors or even pieces of glass. 

We have carried out a study in Indonesia, Female Genital Cutting In Indonesia, to dive deeper into this practice and its consequences and specifically to look at how religious motivators are wrongfully used to justify FGM in parts of Indonesia and also in a number of other countries. Our findings show that there is no religious or cultural justification for it in any of its forms. The Qur’an makes absolutely no mention about FGM and the few statements falsely attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) allegedly approving of FGM were declared unreliable centries ago. 

This piece of research along with others have given us the foundation to build our advocacy on this critical issue. We have a number of in-depth educational campaigns and reports on this subject to ensure our communities are aware of this problem and to influence policy level change. 

Over 200 million girls and women around the world from a variety of different faiths and backgrounds have suffered and continue to suffer the consequences of this horrific practice. The impact has been shown to be unsafe, harmful, fatal and severely traumatic mentally and physically. Islamic Relief Canada understands the implications and has implemented program level changes to ensure that survivors are protected and that communities are educated on the subject and its non- religious background. 

Islamic Relief Canada has and continues to pledge to speak on this crucial issue and provide a platform for change. As a leading Muslim NGO we believe that we have a responsibilty to play a vital role in combating this form of social oppression, especially when it is falsely carried out in the name of religion.