The controversy over Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44, a Michigan physician from India who is accused of subjecting several girls to genital mutilation, took an even more serious turn on June 14. Child Protective Services attorney Cheryl Nunez, a guardian who represents Nagarwala’s two children, a girl 11 and a boy 5, told a court in Michigan that the mosque they attend paid for the procedures. Female genital mutilation involves the surgical removal of the clitoris. The practice is not required for female adherents of Islam but is found almost exclusively among Muslims.

Until the testimony on June 14, leaders at the Farmington Hills mosque in the Detroit metropolitan area had denied involvement in the procedures attributed to Dr. Jumana Nagarwala and her husband, who is also a physician. Both Nagarwala and her husband face as much as life in prison if convicted. According to federal officials, the pair of doctors may have maimed as many as 100 girls. Attorney Mayer Morganroth, who is of counsel to Dr. Nagarwala, disputes the feds’ figures. Morganroth said that the government is seeking to remove several children from parents accused of engaging in the practice of genital cutting.

Nagarwala’s lawyer, Shannon Smith, denied the allegation that the Farmington Hills mosque had paid Nagarwala for the mutilating procedures. “That’s absolutely not true,” Nagarwala’s lawyer, Shannon Smith, said. “The government has grossly overstated and misstated so many facts in this case … just to make it sound bad.”

Smith said that while the mosque did not pay Nagarwala for performing any genital cutting procedures, it did reimburse her for purchasing food items for the food bank program at the Islamic center. According to the attorney, Nagarwala frequently bought bread, pizza, and soft drinks, and other items for the food bank, for which she was reimbursed.

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, his wife, Farida Attar, 50, and Nagarwala, 44, were arrested and indicted in the initial case April. The Attars and Nagarwala feach face ace one count of conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation, two counts of female genital mutilation and one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. Nagarwala and Fakhruddin Attar also face one count of conspiracy to transport a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Nagarwala’s husband no longer has custody of his children. In June, CPS attorney Nunez alleged that one of the children had been battered, tortured or otherwise severely physically abused. “That alone is enough, pretrial, to remove children from parents,” Nunez said at the hearing in June. “From the parent who alleged to have done it and from the parent who failed to protect that child.”




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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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