The Fatwa


Zoom: In conversation:
f.l.t.r. Dr. Tawfiq Ramadan, Sheikh Al-Buti, Tarafa Baghajati, Majd Nehlawi, Annette and Rüdiger Nehberg
In conversation:
f.l.t.r. Dr. Tawfiq Ramadan, Sheikh Al-Buti, Tarafa Baghajati, Majd Nehlawi, Annette and Rüdiger Nehberg
 

Zoom: Dr. Tawfiy Ramadan, Rüdiger Nehberg, Sheikh Al-Buti, Roman Weber, Tarafa Baghajati, Annette Nehberg
Dr. Tawfiy Ramadan, Rüdiger Nehberg, Sheikh Al-Buti, Roman Weber, Tarafa Baghajati, Annette Nehberg
 


Damascus, February 2011

Just before the people’s uprising against the Assad regime in Syria, we had the opportunity of a meeting with Sheikh Prof. Dr. Muhammad Said Ramadan Al-Buti in Damascus. He is the highest-ranking scholar of the Shafiite School of Religious Law and has been dean of the theological faculty of Damascus University for many years. He fills halls in Syria with up to 5000 believers and his teachings are also regarded with the highest respect in Africa. He has acquired great experience in his 84 years of life to date, and his father is regarded as a legend in the Islamic world. Our adviser Imam Tarafa Baghajati from Austria (who is Syrian by birth) was instrumental in arranging the meeting.

Syria is not one of the countries where FGM is practised; however the declaration of such a well-known dignitary was very important to us. This is partly because some Islamic clerics still invoke the Shafiite School of Religious Law as an argument in favour of female genital mutilation; but also because the African theology students at the Syrian University become strong proponents of Al Buti’s teaching in Africa.

Our international Addis Conference in 2009 showed us the importance of the statements from this School of Religious Law. Mohammad Abdoulkader, the Mufti of Addis Ababa, told us “All I am interested in is the opinion of the Shafiite School of Religious Law, and it is in favour of female genital circumcision.”

Sheikk Al Buti’s comment on this claim was short and clear: “deplorable and uneducated”. However, it showed him how necessary his opinion on this issue was, and he gave us his Fatwa against FGM. Another loophole has now been closed at the highest level for this practice which threatens the lives of young girls.