Issue 24 August 2002





Letter offends families

This month 200 members of the Somali community met at Verdon Street Rec to protest about a letter sent to every Somali family in Sheffield by the Sheffield Area Child Protection Committee (SACPC).

The letter threatened action, including imprisonment, against anyone planning or involved with female circumcision. Families were advised to contact the ‘Agency for Culture and Change Management’. The meeting’s organisers told the Messenger:

For years many in the Somali community have been campaigning to end female circumcision and we welcome the efforts of the SACPC to protect our children. What we are concerned about is the way they have gone about this, without making any effort to seek our involvement or support. Instead they have sent out inflammatory letters and caused great offence.

More serious is the way the have chosen to enforce their legal responsibilities. They have visited single mothers without warning or interpreters and aggressively interrogated them without offering any evidence of wrongdoing. They are attacking our basic human rights and undermining good relations developed over the years.

We are surprised by this action because we know that Sheffield services are opposed to discrimination and are committed to Equal Opportunities and we would welcome a dialogue with SACPC.

Concerned Somali mother, Sheffield

To contact Somali women working around this issue phone Fatima Musa on 0797 151 9644 or Amina Souleiman on 0114 275 7503.