Muslim leader convicted in Australia’s first FGM trial
A Muslim ‘spiritual leader’, Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri, above, could be jailed for seven years for his role in the brutal circumcision of two young girls.
According to this report, a NSW Supreme Court jury found Vaziri, a Dawoodi Bohra community leader, guilty of being an accessory after the fact.
Vaziri was one of three defendants in Australia’s first FGM trial, which saw him and two women in the dock for the violent assaults on the girls.
The women found guilty of the FGM offence were a 72-year-old nurse – identified only as KM – and the 38-year-old mother of the two child victims.
The mutilations were inflicted when the girls turned seven.
The older sister, now 12, was told to imagine she was a “princess in a garden” while the nurse cut her clitoris during the “khatna” ceremony at a Dawoodi Bohra community member’s house in Wollongong in 2009.
The court heard prayers were read from the Koran and the victim’s grandmother was present throughout the first attack.
The younger child, now 10, was mutilated in her family’s Western Sydney home in 2012.
The court heard that each girl was stripped from the waist down, told to lie on a bed and warned to close her eyes as KM cut her clitoris with a sharp silver tool.
Justice Peter Johnson released the three defendants on bail despite the Crown’s concern they could leave the country. Johnson said KC “must not in any way conduct or facilitate female genital mutilation” as part of her bail conditions.
The trio could be jailed for seven years when they are sentenced on February 5.
But barrister Robert Sutherland SC, for Vaziri, said the girls’ injuries were at the “lower end of the spectrum” so a non-custodial sentence could apply.
Dawoodi Bohra is a Shia Islam offshoot generally found in India, Pakistan, Yemen and East Africa. Female circumcision – or genital mutilation – is a common practice in the Dawoodi Bohra community and is often considered a way to curb a young woman’s sexuality.