By Ali Asghar Akhtar
I recently came to know about something very prehistoric (well I am not being overdramatic, but it was truly shocking for me).
We are living in a digital, global, mobilized world where everyday living dynamics are being challenged and improved. Changes in technology, social norms, cultures, historic traditions and even daily mundane rituals have been drastic and entire paradigms have shifted. We term these changes as “progress”.
However, when I recently learned that FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting) is still prevalent in today’s “modern era”, I was very surprised and shocked. I learned that FGC was still happening from one of my cousins living in the United States of America, who is a subject matter expert in this area. She told me that FGM is still practiced and that in fact in our community, many are very proud to keep our “traditions alive”. When I delved further on this subject, allowing for a benefit of doubt that it might be beneficial medically for women (as certain learning through religious teachings/beliefs have proved to be beneficial for mankind over the course of history), I learned that this practice has NO significant relevance medically or in terms of religion. This is simply a non-relevant practice which has traditionally been followed over the decades without any benefits.
I was again very surprised to learn that no support group had ever challenged this unrealistic tradition until recently when a small group named SAHIYO was formed. I support this group to work towards ending this irrational and illogical tradition which should be banned. Continuous progress only happens when certain traditions are constantly reviewed, challenged, and improved. Progress is not limited to tangible outcomes. Social change and progress happen when attitudes change to help end harmful practices.
I humbly request everyone who reads this snippet of information on FGM/C to become part of this organization and help Sahiyo stop this non-beneficial tradition. The existence of such bygone social norms is very perplexing to understand and relate to in today’s 21st century. Let’s together work to STOP FGM before it becomes a part of the next generation’s DNA.