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Lawyer: Genital procedure on girls was part of 'religious practice'

19 April 2017
Lawyer: Genital procedure on girls was part of 'religious practice'

A Muslim emergency room doctor in Detroit, Michigan has been charged with performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on girls six to eight years old.

One of the children told an investigator this week that they were in MI to see a doctor because "our tummies hurt", and were examined by Nagarwala. During the hearing, Nagarwala's attorney said the feds have it all wrong.

According to the Detroit News, the children said the procedure was painful, they cried, and one said the pain extended to her ankles.

Federal prosecutors say that Dr. Jumana Nagarwala has been performing the illegal cutting practice on girls between 6 and 8 years old for more than a decade.

The parents could face charges of child neglect, child abuse, and transporting their children across state lines for the goal of criminal sexual activity.

During his show Friday night, Carlson reported on Nagarwala's arrest after "running a female genital mutilation racket". According to the CDC, more than a half a million girls are now at risk of this. What is evident is that an FGM religious ceremony that is accepted and performed regularly in other countries is now prevalent in the United States. "According to some members of the Community who have spoken out against the practice, the objective of this cutting is to suppress female sexuality in an attempt to reduce sexual pleasure and promiscuity". Pursuant to a search warrant, a doctor in Minnesota later performed an exam on the girls and concluded that their genitals had been altered or cut, prosecutors said.

Nagarwala, who is a USA citizen and lives in a $470,000 home with her husband in Oakland County, has no criminal history.

In court Monday, the government painted a much different portrait of Nagarwala, saying she performed female genital mutilation on several young girls over the years, directed them to keep it quiet and encouraged their parents to lie to authorities when investigators started asking questions.

Family members were in court on Monday afternoon but they had no comment. Phone records of the parents and footage from surveillance cameras, however, led authorities to Nagarwala's clinic in Livonia. According to courtroom testimony, Nagarwala, a USA citizen, was born in Washington, D.C., is married and has four children, two of whom live in Africa.

"We understand that this is a very serious case", Smith said. Dr. Nagarwala performed the procedure in a closed and locked clinic as part of a religious Hindu religious ceremony.

The affidavit also alleges that there are MI victims as well.

"She knew that this was illegal but did it anyway", Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward said in court, claiming there's also a risk of Nagarwala and others pressuring others in their religious community not to talk to authorities about this "incredibly secretive" procedure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2012, at least 513,000 women and girls in the US had undergone or were at risk of being subjected to FGM.

Among the convicted were the girls' mother, a retired nurse and a Dawoodi Bohra spiritual leader who was found guilty of helping the women cover up the mutilation. Additionally, depending on their immigration status, they could also be deported from the United States. "The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law". "My honest hope is that these charges will give support to those who have allegedly suffered both physically and emotionally". The procedure is usually performed on young girls to "cleanse" them and quell future sexual impulses.

"We are shocked by the allegations", Henry Ford Health System spokesman David Olejarz said in statement, stressing: "The alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility".

For Sree Kamojjala, president of the Indian Association of Minnesota, the case of the MI doctor is both shocking and deplorable, he said, stressing that genital mutilation "is not a Hindu practice" or a condoned practice in India.