Detroit Doctor Charged With Performing Female Genital Mutilation
A Detroit-area doctor has been arrested and charged with performing genital mutilation procedures on girls between the ages of six and eight at a clinic in the suburb of Livonia.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was accused in a complaint filed in federal court on Wednesday.
“According to the complaint, despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco in a statement.
“The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country,” Blanco said, “and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”
Female genital mutilation was outlawed in the U.S. in 1996, but this case is thought to be the first instance of criminal prosecution.
The complaint cites one Minnesota family who brought their 7-year-old daughter in on a “special girl’s trip.” The girl told authorities she had to undergo the procedure to “get the germs out.”
While the process differs in the various religious communities that sanction the procedure, the intent is generally to reduce the recipient’s sexual pleasure.
The practice is common primarily in the Middle East and Africa and is found in certain communities of Muslims, Christians, Jews and animists. It predates both Christianity and Islam, according to Human Rights Watch, a human rights non-profit.
Genital mutilation in the U.S. is classified as a criminal sexual act due to the fact that the purpose of the procedure is to abuse, humiliate, harass or degrade.
Nagarwala appeared in federal court on Thursday in handcuffs and shackles. Her bond hearing is set for Monday, and she has agreed to remain locked up until then.
Defense attorney Shannon Smith declined to comment on the case.
Nagarwala has been employed as an emergency room physician by the Henry Ford Health System, which has placed her on administrative leave.
“We are shocked by the allegations,” HFHS spokesman David Olejarz said in a statement, explaining that “the alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility. We would never support or condone anything related to this practice.”
Female genital mutilation is a human rights issue on an international scale.
According to Human Rights Watch, the World Health Organization “estimates that more than 140 million girls and women globally have undergone this procedure. More than 3 million girls in Africa alone are at risk of undergoing this practice every year.”
What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.Source(s): Independent Journal Review, Reuters, and Detroit News