More charges filed in genital mutiliation probe

Second Michigan doctor and wife arrested in alleged conspiracy to perform female genital mutilation procedures

Two more people have been charged in Detroit in an investigation of alleged genital mutilation against two girls in a Muslim sect. "The complaint alleges that the FGM procedure was performed on girls who were approximately six to eight years old", the Justice Department says.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, Fakhruddin Attar owns Burhani Medical Clinic and his wife works as an office manager.

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar is accused of letting Dr. Jumana Nagarwala perform mutilations at his Burhani Medical Clinic on Farmington Road. Farida Attar is accused of assisting her.

"Dr. Attar is not aware of any crimes that were committed at his clinic", said Mary Chartier, the lawyer representing him.

Matt Newburg, a lawyer for Farida Attar, declined to comment. Nagarwala's attorney has said she performed a religious ritual, not genital mutilation.

Nagarwala and the Attars are prominent members of the local Dawoodi Bohra community, a subsect of Ismaili Shi'ite Islam with about 2 million adherents worldwide.

The second girl told an FBI forensics investigator that she "screamed" while undergoing the procedure.

Her parents told investigators they had taken the girl to see Nagarwala in MI for a "cleansing".


Female genital mutilation involves partial or total removal of a girl's clitoris, and - in some cases - the skin surrounding the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva.

Last May, the Anjuman-e-Najmi mosque issued a resolution acknowledging that female genital mutilation was prohibited in the United States, explicitly stating the ban could extend to khatna.

Global health authorities say female genital mutilation has been performed on more than 200 million girls, primarily in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It's widely recognized as a human rights violation against girls and women, and human rights advocates have long advocated against the practice. Investigators talked to seven other young girls in MI, several of whom said that they had undergone procedures at the clinic.

Each count of FGM could yield the co-conspirators up to five years in federal prison.

In a statement accompanying the first arrest, Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said, "The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law".

In a complaint unsealed on Friday (Saturday NZT) charging the couple in the conspiracy, prosecutors offered new details about how they say the procedures were arranged and carried out. Telephone records, hotel bills and surveillance video were said to show that the girls traveled to MI with their mothers.

During a hearing on the matter, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Mazjoub said, "I think there's clear and convincing evidence that your client poses a danger to the community".

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