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By Susan Al Shahri, 9.5.2014
I just realized I have not updated this blog for four months and I will not allow myself to feel guilty because my time has been occupied with things that will help my community. I intend to come back to writing as soon as possible once I’m finished with a couple of projects. To give you an update of ‘part’ of what I’m doing, I’m currently in Istanbul attending/presenting at the 2nd Middle East and Asia Conference on Female Genital Mutilation. It’s an extremely sensitive topic and one that needs to be tackled in Oman and in Dhofar in particular. No one is keen to be the one to start tackling this issue, but after years of slowly gathering data and understanding the topic, I am no longer hesitant. However, I am also a firm believer in starting any awareness-raising by gaining support of authorities instead of adopting an us-and-them approach that many activists tend to follow. Ministry of Health five-year plan 2006-2010 intended to start raising awareness on FGM; however nothing was done. Perhaps the topic was too sensitive? Perhaps they didn’t have the will to start tackling? Perhaps they didn’t find the right people on the ground to do the dirty work? I have been speculating a lot. In all cases, the government has tried. Many of you may remember that I have been writing openly about FGM since 2011 on my blogs and in the newspaper. I have received endless criticism and also a lot of support. I started studying FGM practices in Dhofar in 2006. Although no detailed studies have been conducted, the general picture is very clear. It’s extremely prevalent, it’s harmful, and it has to stop. Nuff said for the moment. Bear with me until I’m organized enough to start SAR (Smart-Awareness-Raising), which is a tricky thing to accomplish in Oman.
Read Susan’s Blog
The conference will tackle two myths about Female Genital Mutilation. It is commonly believed that FGM is mainly practiced in Africa and that it has no religious grounds. Both claims are not true.
FGM is practiced widely in Asia: In Middle Eastern countries such as Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Iran, but also in Southeast Asia: in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, India and the Maledives. (more…)