In a follow up to a troubling story, the Detroit News is reporting the arrest by federal authorities, of a second doctor at an Islamic based medical clinic in the city, on charges of performing female genital mutilation (FGM).
The FBI charged Dr. Fakhruddin Attar of West Bloomfield, on the basis that he allowed the procedure at his facility. Dr Attar’s wife was also charged as an accomplice and in assisting with the illegal operations.
Last week, Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44 of Northville, Michigan was arrested, charged with felony criminal violations of 18 U.S. Code § 116 which prohibits the surgery for elective and religious purposes for anyone under the age of 18 and only excepts strict medical criteria.
The Justice Department disclosed that the operations were performed at Burhani Medical Clinic on Farmington Road in Livonia. Dr Attar’s wife was also charged as an accomplice and in assisting with the illegal operations.
What was most alarming to citizens of the greater Detroit area, was that the victims were both 7 years old and were brought to the clinic by their parents from Minnesota. When the parents were interviewed by investigators from Minnesota Child Protective Services and a federal agent, they admitted taking the victim in question, to the clinic for what they described as a “cleansing of extra skin”.
Dr. Nagarwala is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim sect from India, a community that is based locally out of the Anjuman-e-Najmi mosque on Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills.
It has been disclosed that the FBI has obtained evidence identifying other children that Nagarwala has performed FGM upon, between 2005 and 2007.
Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in a statement:
Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in 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.
Dr. Nagarwala was employed as an emergency room doctor at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield. The hospital issued a statement:
“The alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility” – health system spokesman David Olejarz said Thursday. “We would never support or condone anything related to this practice”.
Attar, 52, and his 50-year-old wife were arraigned in federal court Friday afternoon and the judge set a detention hearing for next Wednesday, ordering them to be held in custody until then. Farida Attar and her husband Fakhruddin were reported to have appeared in the religious attire of the Dawoodi Bohra sect – Mrs. Attar in long dress and head covering and Dr. Attar in a white cap with gold trim.
An additional aspect of the charges is a section of the federal code that makes it a felony to transport a minor across state lines for the purposes of performing FGM. Nargarwala and the Attars may be prosecuted for conspiring to arrange the visit with the parents. That charge carries a possible 10 year sentence.
The FBI’s Detroit Field Division has set up a tip line for anyone who has information pertaining to the illegal practice of female genital mutilations or Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Fakhruddin Attar or Farida Attar at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5984). To submit an e-tip, visit FBI.GOV/FGM.