Detroit area doctor charged in female genital mutilation case

In what is believed to be the first ever federal prosecution for female genital mutilation, a Detroit area doctor has been charged in a case involving two seven-year-old girls from Minnesota.

Jumana Nagarwala of Livonia, Michigan allegedly performed the barbaric procedure with the cooperation of the girl's parents.

Detriot News:

"Acording 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," Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in a statement. "The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse."

Nagarwala was arrested Wednesday night and arraigned in federal court Thursday.

She was dressed in a light-colored, matching dress and khimar, or veil that covered her head, neck and shoulders.

Magistrate Judge Anthony Patti scheduled a detention hearing in the case for 1 p.m. Monday. Her attorney and the government will argue over whether or not Nagarwala should be held in prison while she awaits trial.

In the meantime, Nagarwala will be held in jail until Monday's hearing.

Her attorney, Shannon Smith, who has offices in Bloomfield Hills, declined to comment on the case Thursday.

Nagarwala's employer is not identified in court records. But a 44-year-old emergency room physician with the same name is listed on Henry Ford Health System's website with hospital privileges in Detroit and West Bloomfield Township.

A Henry Ford spokesman confirmed that Nagarwala works for the hospital system and said she has been put on administrative leave.

"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."

The FBI investigation alleges Nagarwala removed clitoral skin from two girls who were brought to Detroit earlier this year, activity that violates both federal and state law regarding female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation is an internationally recognized violation of human rights and is popular among certain religious and cultural communities, according to the FBI. The procedure is believed to initiate girls into adulthood and ensure their marriageability, according to Human Rights Watch, a New York nonprofit human rights organization.

The practice is most common in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, along with migrants from those regions, according to the World Health Organization.

Worldwide, it's estimated that 200 million women have been mutilated.  Only recently have Western countries begun to take the problem seriously.  While the actual "procedure" has been illegal in the U.S. since the '90s, the transportation of a minor for purposes of their being mutilated was only made a crime in 2013.  Nagarwala was charged with FGM, which carries only a five-year sentence, and with transporting a minor for sexual purposes, which carries a ten-year jail term.

While FGM has been banned in most countries, authorities turn a blind eye to the practice in many areas of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.  It is thought that more than a half a million women have undergone FGM in the U.S.

It's hard to imagine a more brutal illustration of gender inequality than forcing young girls to be mutilated in this fashion.  The punishment in this case does not fit the crime.  Dr. Nagarwala has almost certainly performed FGM on more than two little girls.  She should be locked away for the remainder of her life.  Robbing her of her freedom is the least than can be done after she has robbed those girls of so much more.

In what is believed to be the first ever federal prosecution for female genital mutilation, a Detroit area doctor has been charged in a case involving two seven-year-old girls from Minnesota.

Jumana Nagarwala of Livonia, Michigan allegedly performed the barbaric procedure with the cooperation of the girl's parents.

Detriot News:

"Acording 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," Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in a statement. "The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse."

Nagarwala was arrested Wednesday night and arraigned in federal court Thursday.

She was dressed in a light-colored, matching dress and khimar, or veil that covered her head, neck and shoulders.

Magistrate Judge Anthony Patti scheduled a detention hearing in the case for 1 p.m. Monday. Her attorney and the government will argue over whether or not Nagarwala should be held in prison while she awaits trial.

In the meantime, Nagarwala will be held in jail until Monday's hearing.

Her attorney, Shannon Smith, who has offices in Bloomfield Hills, declined to comment on the case Thursday.

Nagarwala's employer is not identified in court records. But a 44-year-old emergency room physician with the same name is listed on Henry Ford Health System's website with hospital privileges in Detroit and West Bloomfield Township.

A Henry Ford spokesman confirmed that Nagarwala works for the hospital system and said she has been put on administrative leave.

"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."

The FBI investigation alleges Nagarwala removed clitoral skin from two girls who were brought to Detroit earlier this year, activity that violates both federal and state law regarding female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation is an internationally recognized violation of human rights and is popular among certain religious and cultural communities, according to the FBI. The procedure is believed to initiate girls into adulthood and ensure their marriageability, according to Human Rights Watch, a New York nonprofit human rights organization.

The practice is most common in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, along with migrants from those regions, according to the World Health Organization.

Worldwide, it's estimated that 200 million women have been mutilated.  Only recently have Western countries begun to take the problem seriously.  While the actual "procedure" has been illegal in the U.S. since the '90s, the transportation of a minor for purposes of their being mutilated was only made a crime in 2013.  Nagarwala was charged with FGM, which carries only a five-year sentence, and with transporting a minor for sexual purposes, which carries a ten-year jail term.

While FGM has been banned in most countries, authorities turn a blind eye to the practice in many areas of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.  It is thought that more than a half a million women have undergone FGM in the U.S.

It's hard to imagine a more brutal illustration of gender inequality than forcing young girls to be mutilated in this fashion.  The punishment in this case does not fit the crime.  Dr. Nagarwala has almost certainly performed FGM on more than two little girls.  She should be locked away for the remainder of her life.  Robbing her of her freedom is the least than can be done after she has robbed those girls of so much more.

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