Detroit – 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.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala of Northville is accused of mutilating the genitalia of two girls Feb. 3 at a Livonia clinic owned by Dr. Fakhruddin Attar.
The Farmington Hills man has been indicted along with his wife, Dr. Farida Attar, who is accused of helping arrange the procedure and being in the examination room while it was performed.
Fakhruddin Attar’s lawyer criticized the government for alleging 100 girls have been victimized.
“I think the government has overstated so many aspects of this case and this is another example,” attorney Mary Chartier told reporters.
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.
Chartier spoke after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman freed the Attars pending an Oct. 10 trial.
The couple were placed on house arrest, and the judge barred them from using computers and accessing the Internet. They also cannot have any contact with alleged victims or witnesses, Friedman said.
For now, the couple cannot live with their 9-year-old daughter because state officials are trying to terminate their parental rights.
The judge’s decision comes less than two months after the couple were arrested and accused of accused of committing female genital mutilation, trying to cover up the crime and conspiring with Nagarwala to cut girls as part of a procedure practiced by their religious and cultural community, the Dawoodi Bohra.
Federal prosecutors allege the two 7-year-old girls who were brought to Metro Detroit on Feb. 3 suffered illegal genital mutilation at Fakhruddin Attar’s clinic in Livonia.
One girl told the FBI that Nagarwala “pinched” her on the “place (where) she goes pee,’ ” and a subsequent medical examinations showed the girl’s genitals did not appear normal and a section had been altered or removed, according to a court filing. A doctor also observed scar tissue and small healing lacerations.
The second girl identified Nagarwala as the doctor she visited in Detroit and a subsequent medical exam showed the girl’s genitalia had a small incision and a small tear, according to a court filing.
Meanwhile, FGM must be very lucrative for Muslims as they hire high power attorneys: Dershowitz joins genital mutilation case defense team
Famed constitutional law scholar and attorney Alan Dershowitz has joined the defense team in the nation’s first female genital mutilation case in federal court.
The move adds legal firepower to a defense that appears to be focused on First Amendment issues and religious freedom. Federal prosecutors allege two 7-year-old girls who were brought to Metro Detroit earlier this year suffered illegal genital mutilation but defense lawyers say the girls underwent a benign religious procedure.
Dershowitz and prominent Birmingham defense attorney Mayer Morganroth were hired about three weeks ago by the Dawat-e-Hadiyah, an international religious organization overseeing a small sect of Shia Muslim mosques around the world.
“They hired us to protect the people charged and represent the religious organization,” said Morganroth…
It’s no secret that Muslims in the U.S. are preaching and practicing female genital mutilation. Recall, this post:
“Everybody knows somebody who has gotten their daughter cut [FGM] … but nobody wants to rat out their family members or friends”