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US doctor admits mutilating girls for religious reasons

US doctor admits mutilating girls for religious reasons

Jumana Nagarwala, above, a Detroit-area Muslim doctor accused of mutilating the genitals of young girls, did so for religious reasons.

Her attorney, Shannon Smith, acknowledged during a federal court hearing that Nagarwala, 44, removed the girls’ genital membrane as part of a custom practiced by the Dawoodi Bohra, a small sect of Indian Muslims of which Nagarwala is a part.

Nagarwala was charged last week with female genital mutilation, transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and making a false statement to a federal officer. Federal investigators say she performed genital mutilations on two seven-year-old girls at a medical clinic in Livonia, just outside Detroit. The procedures were performed secretly after business hours and without medical billing records, according to a criminal complaint.

Nagarwala, an emergency room doctor for the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, initially denied performing genital mutilation on children. She told investigators earlier this month that she’s aware the procedure is illegal in the United States.

During the hearing, a federal judge decided to keep Nagarwala incarcerated while the criminal case is pending. US Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub told Smith:

I think there’s clear and convincing evidence that your client poses a danger to the community.

According to the complaint, the girls’ family traveled last February from Minnesota to Michigan, where they were brought to see Nagarwala. One of the girls told investigators that she was taken to Michigan for a “special” girls’ trip. In describing the procedure, she said it was “to get the germs out”. The other girl said she screamed after a painful “shot”. Both girls said they were told to not talk about what happened.

Nagarwala is one of two Michigan doctors arrested in connection to genital mutilation this past week.

Authorities arrested another doctor, Fakhruddin Attar, 53,  abovem and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, both of Livonia, Michigan, last Friday. Federal prosecutors say Fakhruddin Attar owns the clinic where Nagarwala performed genital mutilations, while his wife, the clinic’s office manager, assisted during the procedures.

The Attars have been charged with conspiring to perform female genital mutilations on minor girls.

Fakhruddin Attar told investigators that Nagarwala saw patients, girls between ages six and nine, at his clinic about five to six times a year. He said Nagarwala saw the patients for problems with their genitals, including treatment of rashes. The visits were usually after clinic hours, on Friday evenings or Saturdays, he told investigators.

His wife, Farida, comforted the girls during the examinations by holding their hands, Attar told investigators.

Investigators say they believe that Nagarwala mutilated the genitals of several other children at Attar’s clinic between 2005 and 2017.

Federal child forensic interviewers have talked to several Michigan children who said that Nagarwala had performed genital mutilation on them. Two parents said the doctor performed the procedure on their daughter, while others denied knowing anything about it, according to the complaint.

Investigators also say that Nagarwala and the Attars are members of the same religious community.

Female genital mutilation remains common among the Dawoodi Bohras who mainly live in India. But some members of the religious community have come out to rebel against the practice.

Two online petitions, started by a group called Speak out on FGM, is seeking to end female genital mutilation in India and have so far garnered a total of more than 240,000 signatures. The practice is known as “khatna” in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

One of the petitions’ writers argued that the practice, held in secret and usually without consent, is more of a cultural one, and:

Has nothing to do with religion. The Dawoodi Bohras are amongst the most educated in India, yet we are also the only Muslim community in India to practice FGM. Most of us are too scared to speak out publicly. We fear ostracization, social boycott and exclusion of our families from the rest of the community by our religious clergy if we object to the continuation of this practice.

Female genital mutilation — or removing all or part of a female’s genital for non-medical reasons — is considered a human rights violation, though it is practiced extensively in some African countries and areas of the Middle East, according to UNICEF. A June 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office found that increased immigration from countries where it is practiced had brought it to the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2012, 513,000 women and girls here were “at risk of or had been subjected” to it.

The report also found that while female genital mutilation was a crime under federal and many state laws, there were few investigations or prosecutions stemming from it – because of under-reporting and other problems.

The report said the FBI had two investigations from 1997 to 2015, one which resulted in a prosecution on other charges. Department of Justice officials indicated to the Government Accountability Office they were aware of two state prosecutions involving the practice.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

17 responses to “US doctor admits mutilating girls for religious reasons”

  1. Newspaniard says:

    FGM is illegal in the UK but authorities are too cowardly to prosecute the offenders. An apocryphal story is that Denmark banned it with the punishment that the whole family be fined thousands and were immediately deported which supposedly stopped the practice overnight. I don’t know if this is true but sounds appropriate for the UK if we only had the politicians with the guts.

    The picture looks as if she is a virgin milkmaid instead of being a female Hannibal Leckter.

  2. L.Long says:

    DId the parents approve?? If so then why are they not arrested as well??? If wrong for the doctors to do this then also wrong for the parents to approve it!!!

  3. Alan Crowe says:

    I there’s a religion that proscribes FGM I haven’t come across it yet. on the other hand I know of at least one that does command infant male genital mutilation.
    I look forward to the day a boy/man sues his parents for causing him bodily harm.

  4. Angela_K says:

    Despicable people. I don’t suppose the Hippocratic oath means anything to these barbarians nor a sense of human decency.

  5. Brian Jordan says:

    Presumably the admission of guilt was put forward to support mitigation on religious grounds. It will be interesting to see whether the judge wears it.

  6. barriejohn says:

    Brian Jordan: They are trying to use the “religious freedom” argument so popular amongst American fundamentalists at the moment (” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”), but just how ridiculous is that? What “freedom” did the victims have in these cases? No one is stopping Ms Nagging Wailer from having her body mutilated as far as I can see. These people are, as is stated, a danger to society, as they are clearly deluded and capable of committing any atrocity in the name of their religion.

  7. tonye says:

    There are some things that ‘religion’ does better than others.

    Mutilation of children’s genitals is one of them.

    Truly disgusting.

  8. Paul says:

    Hitchens on this is worth another look.

    When I watched this, before I’d heard Hitchens, I thought what an absolute piece of scum the rabbi is to make humour of such a disgusting practice.
    There can be no justification.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KZTS6iVpSPI

  9. CoastalMaineBird says:

    I have religious reasons for taking baseball bat to some of these people.

  10. Alan Crowe says:

    god made us perfect in her image. oh hang on we need to make some adjustments.
    Irony completely lost on the credulous’

  11. RussellW says:

    The fact is that even the most liberal of liberal democracies don’t really allow complete religious freedom. The argument that the principle of religious freedom gives religious nutters a licence to commit atrocities is fatally flawed.

  12. John says:

    As well as criminal prosecutions, I would hope this filthy duo have their licences to practice medicine revoked.
    If possible, they should be deported too.
    Also, the parents should be prosecuted and the children fostered out to decent caring new parents.
    I believe corrective reassignment surgery is possible.
    The criminal doctors should be fined an equivalent amount to cover the cost of any remedial surgery and healthcare.

  13. Terry says:

    I once though that the Hitchens assertion that “Religion Poisons Everything” was a bit of a stretch. But since I first heard the claim I have come to understand that it is not actually far from being 100% accurate. What does it take for a medic, who presumably knows very well that any surgery has very severe and attendant risks to the health of the patient, to do something as unnecessary, cruel, barbaric and primitive as this especially when there is absolutely no benefit to the patient? The answer of course is religion. And that is why religion must be removed from from the public square.

  14. Terry says:

    We are gaining the ability to cure and eliminate many many diseases. The cures and prevention of many are elusive but which the dedication of the heatlth care professions we will conquer most if not all eventually. Of course eventual death from old age is unavoidable and undesirable. But there is one deadly infection that kills uncountable thousands every year and spoils the lives of billions. It can kill those who are not actually infected by it and it does impinge very heavily on those who are not infected or infected with the wrong strain or mutation of it. And we all know what it is. And it is spread by clerics who knowingly lie to and threaten children in deliberate and concerted effort to pass the infection on. And we let them do it … even in our schools. Its just as criminal as jabbing an innocent child with an Aids infected needle. Religion really does poison everything.

  15. Paul says:

    These people are absolutely vile.
    It is this bit of the report that seems to make it clear they knew exactly what they were doing was a serious crime and conspired together to ensure no one found out.
    “The visits were usually after clinic hours, on Friday evenings or Saturdays……”

  16. John the Drunkard says:

    ‘…the girls’ genital membrane…’
    What the fuck is that supposed to MEAN? Is that the Dr’s euphemism, her attorney’s, or the driveling of an ignorant ‘journalist?’

    Supposedly, there is no Quranic justification for FGM, and not much in Hadith. But everywhere this obscenity is practiced, it is held up as if it was the 6th pillar of Islam…or the 7th, since jihad may have taken up 6h.

  17. […] the arrest last month of Muslim Dr Jumana Nagarwala, accused of mutilating girls for religious reasons, the Michigan Senate yesterday approved legislation making FGM a state […]