UNFPA Country Office in Egypt has developed a partnership with Al-Azhar University, which is known to house the most credible and listened-to religious leaders of the Sunni community. For example, the Azhar supreme Council for Islamic Research issued a statement explaining that FGM/C has no basis in the Koran and Dar el Ifta issued a fatwa (legal opinion or ruling issued by esteemed Islamic scholars such as the Mufti) condemning the FGM/C practice. A national law was then passed in June 2008 by the Government.
In addition, Egypt Country Office supports the International Islamic Centre for Population Studies and Research, Al Azhar in providing capacity building for religious leaders on the central and governorate level, on RH and gender issues in the context of Islam.
This prestigious authority in Egypt is then collaborating with UNFPA, following the culturally-sensitive approach policy, working hand-in-hand to enable cultural changes promoted by religious leaders.
It is essential to open a dialogue and support public actions and actors when they fall under UNFPA’s mandate. This promotes a good integration of the culturally-sensitive approach and a better implementation of those programmes relating to human rights and gender in Egypt.