Anti-mutilation campaigner told she would be beheaded

A Somali campaigner against female circumcision has said she had to leave her home in the face of a campaign of web hatred and abusive phonecalls, including one threat that she would be beheaded.

Ifrah Ahmed, 23, who has been living in Ireland for six years, claimed the abuse was sparked by the passing of laws in Ireland relating to female genital mutilation.

She said within a day of appearing on Newstalk radio for a brief interview, not connected with the issue, on Apr 21, she received a phonecall from a man who said she would have her head cut off.

She said that two days later, a three-year-old photo of her when she was a contestant in the Face of Africa Ireland contest was posted on a Somali website, attracting vitriolic comment.

Ms Ahmed, a victim of genital mutilation, said on one occasion her doorbell rang after midnight and she had felt so threatened she decided to leave her Dublin house for one night. The passing of the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill 2011 last March sparked fresh abuse.

Referring to the aftermath of the Newstalk Global Village interview, she said: “The next day I found my picture all over the place and people accusing me of doing the wrong thing.

“I was on Twitter, Facebook and a couple of Somali websites, people just saying how bad I am.”

She said some of the abuse was linked to the picture, with some accusing her of not dressing appropriately as a Muslim, while other abuse was linked to the mutilation issue.

Dublin Lord Mayor Andrew Montague confirmed Ms Ahmed has been invited to an event at the Mansion House next month in appreciation of her efforts campaigning against female genital mutilation.


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