NPR

How A Former Child Bride Got A Fatwa Against Child Marriage

It happened in Senegal last week, at a conference organized by young Africans to address the issues of child marriage and female genital mutilation. Here's the story behind the fatwa.
Saleh Abbas, deputy grand imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar University, is second from the left in this photo of members of the university delegation to the African Summit on Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriages. Source: Louis Leeson

Jaha Dukureh was having breakfast with her friends when the idea came to her. She wanted Muslim clerics to deliver a fatwa against child marriage – a religious opinion issued by one or more Islamic legal scholars.

It was June 18, the last day of the African Summit on Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriages in Dakar, Senegal. Dukureh, a Gambian women's rights activist and founder of the nonprofit Safe Hands for Girls, was the chief organizer of the event.

It was a challenge to get the summit off the ground.

"We didn't have a lot of resources to to . Even though child marriage is against the law in most countries and considered by the United Nations, many communities still consider it a part of religious or cultural tradition.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min read
LA County Sheriff Will No Longer Order Closure Of Firearms Shops
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said gun shops in Los Angeles County were nonessential during the coronavirus outbreak. Then the federal government updated its list of essential industries.
NPR2 min readWellness
FACT CHECK: Should People Cover Their Faces With Scarves Like Trump Said?
In a briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump answered a question about a supply shortage of masks by suggesting that the public wear scarves instead.
NPR2 min read
Dolly Parton Will Read Bedtime Stories To Kids Online Every Week
"Dolly hopes this series of stories will provide comfort and reassurance to coping kids and families during the shelter-in-place mandates," the Imagination Library said.