CAIRO – New Women Foundation in Egypt said they are suing Islamist Parliament member Azza al-Garf over her pro-female genital mutilation statements. The women’s rights foundation sent a letter to the speaker of parliament Saad al-Katatny, informing him of legally going after Garf and asking for his permission to be allowed to take the MP to court, as reported on bikyamasr.com on Friday. The parliament needs to lift immunity for an MP in order for them to be held accountable in a court of law. Garf is a Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) member, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
“We are on our way to sue Garf to preserve our rights and the gains of Egyptian women,” said the open letter to the speaker. Garf was reported saying that FGM is an Islamic practice and that the anti-FGM laws should be amended.
Surveys in the country put the number of women who go through FGM to be around 86 percent. Current Egyptian law bans the practice and gives prison sentences to any medical staff who performs the surgery. However, many families go to underground clinics to get their daughters the procedure, risking permanent scares or even death.
In June 2007, 12-year-old Badour Shakour died as a result of a circumcision operation. The death sparked a battle within the country over the use of the controversial medical procedure. Her death galvanized women and children’s rights groups to action, where they pushed for more stringent penalties against those who carry out female genital mutilation. As a consequence, the Egypt’s Parliament passed a law that ostensibly bans the controversial procedure in 2008.
“We are suing her for going against Egyptian laws that criminalize sexual harassment and FGM, practices that goes against women rights and human rights“, said the letter from New Women Foundation.