Church push to end FGM

Culture can never trump the Gospel, Archbishop Ntagali says in Female Genital Mutilation debate in Uganda

The Church of Uganda has backed the campaign by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to stamp out female genital mutilation. (FGM). On 19 Sept 2015 the Primate of the Church of Uganda, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali (pictured) took part in a charity marathon organized by the UNFPA in the Sebei region on Uganda’s Eastern border with Kenya. The Church of Uganda has condemned the tribal practice, referred to as female circumcision, but an estimated 50 per cent of women of the Sabiny people in the region are said to have undergone the procedure. FGM was made illegal under Ugandan law in 2010 and is no longer performed in health clinics overseen by the government. However, the practice continues with political leaders and local officials slow to enforce the prohibition. “No matter the political party, [politicians] should be here in solidarity and fight for these sisters, daughters and mothers,” the archbishop said after an anti-FGM marathon in Bukwo. UNFPA country representative Esperance Fundira told the Daily Monitor: “For many women and girls, FGM is done against their will. It is a deeply-rooted cultural tradition and they are raised into accepting that it is a ritual of passage into womanhood and a condition for marriage.” Archbishop Ntagali told reporters culture and custom took second place to Christian ethical teaching. “All societies have culture but culture is dynamic and not static and changes with time,” he said, adding: “If a culture is proved to be harmful to humans, like FGM, we can’t simply continue practising it because it’s our culture. Let us choose good things from our culture and avoid bad ones.”

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