Stunning revelations in a suburb near Detroit have transpired over the past week as in the first federal case of its kind, Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency room physician in Detroit has been charged with performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on little girls aged 6 to 8 and then lying to investigators when confronted.
Nagarwala, 44, faces a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted of all the charges against her. She was charged April 13th and has been ordered locked up pending the outcome of her case.
Prosecutors alleged in a complaint filed to court that Nagarwala had been carrying out female genital mutilation procedures for the past 12 years from a medical office in the Detroit suburb of Livonia.
Currently, in the US, although there is a federal law in place against FGM, there are still 26 states with no FGM legislature in place, this providing parents/guardians with a way of circumvention in states where the practice is illegal.
Other ways of circumvention include parents/guardians travelling to their countries of origin, where they undertake these procedures before coming back home.
According to the website of the AHA Foundation, an organisation that has successfully lobbied legislators to pass legislation in certain states: “FGM is often performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 14 to ensure their virginity until marriage.”
Furthermore, according to the WHO,
The World Health Organization reports that FGM has no health benefits and can cause a number of health problems. Immediately following the procedure, girls are at risk for severe pain, shock, bleeding, bacterial infection, and injury to nearby tissue. In the long term, girls and women who have suffered this procedure are at risk for recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, and complications during intercourse and childbirth. Psychological issues resulting from the trauma of the procedure are also possible.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken activist of fundamental Islam and founder of the AHA, recently appeared on Fox News to elucidate some of the facts surrounding this barbaric practice and the realities of the situation, most of which seemed very chilling.
“People don’t like talking about the genitals of little girls, but we do have to describe what happens,” said Hirsi. “The clitoris of the little girl is removed, and the labis is sewed shut. This is done to kill the libido and to ensure virginity.”
Hirsi continued, “some people have religious reasons — they say its because of Islam, others say because of culture. This can never be an excuse to harm girls that way.”
Perhaps the most sobering reality of all was when Hirsi stated that, “There are 500,000 little girls today in the US who have undergone or are at risk of being subjected to genital mutilation.”
New charges were recently laid April 20th, after a second doctor and his wife were also arrested on charges of “conspiracy that involved performing female genital mutilations (FGM) on minor girls out of Fakhruddin Attar’s medical clinic in Livonia. According to the complaint, some of the minor victims travelled interstate to have the procedure performed.”
With the charges laid, more awareness surrounding this issue will be brought to the forefront which will hopefully help put an end to this barbaric practice.