Does the leftist love affair with multiculturalism have its limits? Even what's happening in Detroit may not be enough.
Does the leftist love affair with multiculturalism have its limits?
In Detroit, a grand jury has indicted doctors Jumana Nagarwala and Fakhruddin Attar, and Attar’s wife, Farida, for female genital mutilation (FGM) and conspiracy. In addition, the doctors have been charged with making false statements to prosecutors. The charges arise from FGM surgery allegedly performed by Nagarwala on two seven-year-old girls from Minnesota at the Burhani Medical clinic in Livonia, Michigan. The surgery was performed after hours last February. The clinic is owned by Dr. Attar.
Through her lawyer, Nagarwala denied the allegations, insisting she performed a religious practice for families who belonged to a Muslim sect. She further insisted the practice did not involve any cutting, but rather scraping membrane from the two girls’ genitalia, wrapping it in gauze, and giving it to the parents, who buried it in keeping with religious custom.
A doctor’s conclusion obtained by the Detroit Free Press completely contradicts that claim. “A juvenile protection petition filed on behalf of the victims in Minnesota, along with federal court documents, cite scarring, a small tear, healing lacerations and what appears to be surgical removal of a portion of her genitalia,” the paper reports.
The girls were brought to the clinic by their mothers after allegedly being told they participating in a “special girls trip,” one that became a visit to Nargarwala “to get the germs out,” according to one of the victims. And in a damning indication she knew she was doing something illegal, Nagarwala didn’t bill the family for the procedure, or document it for her medical records.
Sadly, prosecutors believe there are several more victims. The seven count indictment indicates all three perpetrators have been involved in this conspiracy for more than 11 years beginning in 2005. Nonetheless, Nagawala told federal agents “she has never been present” for FGM surgery on “any minor children,” and that she has “no knowledge” of it ever being performed, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors, who got their indictment based on a tip and trail of electronic evidence, paint a far more disturbing picture. Attar allegedly allowed Nagarwala to use his clinic, and helped coordinate the children’s trip to Michigan. His wife, charged with the same crimes, was also indicted for her presence at the procedure, during which she allegedly held each child’s hand, as well as instructing at least one member of her Indian-Muslim community to lie if they were questioned.
The Indian-Muslim community to which all three belong is known as the Dawoodi Bohra. It is a small, Gujarati-speaking sect of Shia Muslims with approximately 1.5 million members worldwide. Its current leader, Muffaddal Saifuddin, has recently said FGM “must be done, and must be done discreetly,” and the sect’s supporters claim the secretive ritual performed on girls between the ages of 6 and 8 is both safe and an integral part of their religious and cultural practice. The group has a mosque in a suburb of Detroit.
This is not the first time this sect has been involved with the law. It was part of an FGM prosecution in Australia in 2015 that resulted in three people being sent to prison. The case against the three defendants in Michigan represents the first FGM investigation in U.S. history, despite estimates by government agencies that as many as 500,000 women and girls in the United States are at risk of being subjected to it — and despite the reality the Illegal immigrant Reform and Responsibility Act of 1996 made the procedure illegal in the United States.
Moreover in 2013, Congress amended the statute, criminalizing the knowing transportation of a girl under 18 years old from the United States abroad for the procedure — often referred to as “vacation cutting.”
Yet the fact that this is the first domestic prosecution of FGM in 21 years prompts a troubling question: Are we to believe, despite the outlawing of the procedure, government officials at every level were completely unaware it was taking place — or did political correctness induce a case of willful blindness on the part of those same officials?
It is useful to remember that Kermit Gosnell, convicted of murdering live babies at his filthy abortion clinic in Philadelphia, was a known quantity to many people who could have put an end to his butchery. Yet leftists’ pro-abortion bias resulted in many referring to Gosnell as a “pillar of the community” and an “advocate for women’s ‘reproductive health.” Moreover, their media allies virtually ignored the trial at which he was convicted.
Is the same political correctness in play here too? Political correctness that defines any questioning of Muslim practices, no matter how barbaric, as “Islamophobia?”
A statement issued by an organization that oversees the community insists the Dawoodi Bohras are law-abiding, and FGM “does not reflect the everyday lives of the Dawoodi Bohras in America. … We take our religion seriously but our culture is modern and forward-looking.”
Tellingly, the parents of the girls have not been charged. Minnesota authorities initially removed both girls from their respective homes, but one was returned. The fate of the other remains under protective seal.
The attorneys for the defendants remain defiant. Nagawala’s lawyer denied the mutilation charges and insisted she was performing a religious custom. The Attar’s attorney, Mary Chartier, claims Fakhruddin Attar “was not aware of any crimes that occurred in his clinic,” and that the couple are “being persecuted for their religious beliefs.”
One bright note: Henry Ford Hospital, where Nagawala worked as an emergency room doctor, has fired her.
Dr. Qanta Ahmed, Associate Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York Stony Brook, reveals what FGM is really all about. “These girls can never be made whole again,” she writes. “At age 7, years away from their own sexual knowledge, denied an intact clitoris, they will never experience sexual gratification as consenting women. Yes, they may be able to have babies, but their pregnancies, labor, and deliveries will be high-risk because of the profound anatomic destruction to the birth canal. And this is not even accounting for the incredible psychological injury they will come to experience.”
Ahmed explains there are four categories of the procedure, ranging from a clitirodectomy alone, to an operation where the vagina is completely sealed shut and all “menstruation, sexual penetration, and childbirth becomes painful and rife with major complications.”
All for what? “FGM is the symptom of harmful cultural beliefs that girls and women must be sexually pure, modest and that their bodies exist to breed,” writes FGM victim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who adds the practice is one “venerated in the identity politics pantheon.”
American feminists? Would that they condemned culturally inspired child abuse with the same fervor they demonstrate in support of abortion on demand.
“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,” stated Acting United States Attorney Daniel Lemisch. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”
One can only hope. Twenty-one years of ignoring the problem engenders a great deal of skepticism.