The first federal case of female genital mutilation out of Michigan keeps expanding. The first criminal complaint, issued in April, was against Detroit Doctor Jumana Nagarwala for allegedly performing the procedures on girls as young as six years old. A week later, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife Farida were also arrested and charged.
"This investigation has identified other children who may have been cut by Nagarwala at Attar's clinic, MBC, between 2005 and 2017, including children in Michigan. On April 10, 2017, child forensic interviews employed by the FBI and HSI interviewed several minor girls in Michigan. In these interviews, multiple minor girls informed forensic interviewers that procedures had been performed on their genitals by Nagarwala. One minor girl said that Farida was present during the procedure performed by Nagarwala," the complaint against Attar states.
Now we're learning as many as 100 girls may be victims of the practice. From The Detroit News:
As many as 100 girls may have had their genitalia mutilated during a 12-year conspiracy involving three Metro Detroit doctors, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.
That’s a conservative figure, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward said during a failed bid to keep two doctors jailed pending trial.
There is evidence eight girls were mutilated, the prosecutor said, but so far the nation’s first female genital mutilation case involves only two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota.
The government’s allegation is the latest development in a high-profile criminal case that is raising awareness about a procedure practiced by some members of the Dawoodi Bohra, a small sect of Shia Muslims.
The government made the estimate based on Fakhruddin Attar allegedly telling investigators that Nagarwala treated girls at his clinic for “problems with their genitals” five or six times a year.
Prosecutors allege the mutilation conspiracy started 12 years ago.
During her court appearance Dr. Nagarwala, who remains in jail due to a judge determining she is a flight risk, argued she did nothing wrong, did not mutilate girls brought to her by their parents and that she was performing a basic religious procedure. From Fox 2:
Inside a federal courtroom, 44-year-old Dr. Jumana Nargarwala, a mother of four, stood before a judge handcuffed, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and a long hijab draped down her arms and shoulders, appearing emotionless as the prosecution and defense divulged gruesome details of what allegedly went on in her Livonia clinic after hours.
The defense argued, claiming no female genital mutilation took place, instead, a religious removal of a mucus membrane from the genitals which was wrapped up and given to the parents to bury -- a practice they say is performed by a small sect of Indian-based Islam called Dawoodi Bohra.
Their mosque is located in Farmington Hills.
The details of the case are horrifying. Girls interviewed by the FBI described being pinched and told they were in the doctor's office to "get the germs out." Many of the victims were brought to Nagarwala and Attar by their parents from Minnesota and were told they were going on a "girls trip."