Family Planning Initiatives Compliment Islamic Values; Says Clerics

Emmergency Family Planning Contraceptive Emmergency Family Planning Contraceptive File Photo

By The COAST Reporter

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Family planning initiatives launched in Lamu by county government should be complementary to Islamic values local clerics have stated.

Lamu Muslim clerics during a health stakeholder forum held in Lamu on Thursday under the auspices of the Kenya Muslim Youth Development Organization KMYDO also called for the county government to involve local clerics in the launch of such initiatives in a bid to bust misconceptions about family planning.

“Health officials should be aware of how they promote family planning to various communities especially among Muslims as some might interpret the such initiatives as going against Islamic teachings,” Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) Lamu branch chairman Sheikh Abubakar stated.

He further said that it is only if family planning is localized in the Lamu context, that the family planning initiatives can be a success.

Speaking to the COAST Newspaper separately, KMYDO CEO Fadhili Msuli said most Muslim clerics in Lamu were in favor of temporary reversible methods.

He further stated that without the support of the Muslim clerics family planning initiatives which are supposed to improve the quality of family life cannot be a success in Lamu.

 “It should be noted however that Muslim clerics are not against family planning if it works around incorporating the values espoused by Islam that a mother should not be denied the privilege of having children as long as they are properly spaced,” Msuli said.

The NGO official also stated that for supporters of the Family planning program, the benefits of contraception are clear: better health for women and children, economic benefits and smaller families.

However the latter justification for smaller families has drawn the women’s health program in Lamu County in direct conflict with religious leaders and rekindled suspicions about the motivations behind the push for family planning initiatives in Lamu.

Family planning activists often point to the economic strain of a population with fewer workers than dependents.

But religious leaders worry that the focus on family size ties contraceptive programs with population control, something most imams see as un-Islamic.

“Little by little, Muslim clerics in Lamu are turning to support family planning themselves as they learn about contraception from each other, community health workers as myths surrounding family planning are bust with such forums,” Msuli stated.

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