Dubious Defense of Female Genital Mutilation in Michigan

Leah Jessen, LifeZette

A debate over the genital cutting of children has now reached American courts: Two Detroit-area doctors and the wife of one of them were charged in April for crimes in relation to the female circumcision of two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota.

“Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, and Attar’s wife, Farida, are charged with female genital mutilation, conspiracy, and other crimes,” the Associated Press reported late last month. The three are part of Dawoodi Bohra, a small Indian Muslim sect with a mosque in Farmington Hills, according to media reports

The two Minnesota girls apparently had “scarring and abnormalities on their clitorises and labia minora,” according to a report in the Detroit Free Press, which cited court documents. The publication also referenced the “growing federal investigation into female genital mutilation” in this country.


“In 1996 the U.S. passed a law criminalizing the practice, and also making it illegal to send a girl abroad to undergo the procedure. But just last week, a doctor in Michigan became the first person in the country to be arrested on charges of performing mutilations,” reported Public Radio International.

In some cultures, the practice is a normal cultural event.


In Michigan, the lawyers for the doctors claim religious reasons and rights for the procedure that was performed on the young girls.