Detroit doctor denies performing female circumcisions; Judge keeps her locked up


Detroit doctor denies performing female circumcisions; Judge keeps her locked up

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is being charged with performing female genital mutilation procedures on two seven-year-old girls from Minnesota. What about those conclusions, she asked the defense.

Nagarwala, who is a US citizen of Indian descent born in Washington, D.C., was said by her lawyer to be a part of a mosque outside Detroit connected to the Dawoodi Bohra Islamic sect. According to WHO, there are no health or sanitary benefits to FGM, and it harms the victims. Dr. Nagarwala performed the procedure in a closed and locked clinic as part of a religious Hindu religious ceremony.

Outside federal court Monday, a handful of protestors tried to raise awareness about male genital mutilation, a procedure that is not illegal.

Nagarwala had an initial court appearance before a USA magistrate Thursday in Detroit and was ordered detained until Monday, pending a further hearing on the felony charges she is facing, which specifically involve two 7-year-old girls she operated on in February.

The World Health Organisation said female genital mutilation comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

The DOJ confirmed that Nagarwala is the first person to be charged under 18 U.S.C. 116, a federal law that criminalized female genital mutilation, or FGM, in 2012.

In addition to felony charges of performing FGM, Nagarwala, who denies any wrongdoing, is also charged with transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and conspiracy and making a false statement to a federal agent. An explanation of this practice, beyond the cultural and religious implications, might be gender inequality. According to courtroom testimony, Nagarwala, a US citizen, was born in Washington, D.C., is married and has four children, two of whom live in Africa.

Nagarwala, who received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, has been licensed as a physician in MI since 2001; state records show no formal complaints or disciplinary action against her.

Henry Ford Health Systems has stated none of the alleged activity occurred at its facilities and it does not support such procedures.

Nagarwala was arrested on Thursday while boarding an worldwide flight to go visit a daughter in Africa.

Nagarwala was arrested Wednesday at Detroit Metro Airport while trying to board a plane to Kenya. Her bio lists the languages she speaks as English and Gujarati, spoken by the Gujaratis, who hail from the western India state of Gujarat. She stated that she was brought to Detroit for "special girls trip". According to the complaint, federal investigators at some point received a tip that Nagarwala had performed genital mutilation on two young girls in Livonia, so they followed up with an investigation. Hotel and surveillance records backed up this allegation, placing the girls and their mothers at a hotel in Farmington Hills that same day, and then at the Livonia clinic, prosecutors said.

Nagarwala is accused of performing genital mutilation on girls between six and eight years old. "I still hear their screams from down the hallway", she said.

Authorities in Minnesota have filed child protection petitions for the girls, one of whom was removed from her family last week. "This is part of the culture", she said, adding that is was also religious. She asked Nagarwala for advice on what she should say. She was placed on administrative leave last week, the organiation announced.

"Many of these girls were experiencing physical complications such as urinary tract infections, difficulty passing urine, difficulty with menstruation, but a lot of them were also suffering from psychological consequences of having had the procedure", Elliott said. Twenty-five U.S. states also have laws prohibiting the practice.

The judge concluded she was a danger to the community and a flight risk after hearing arguments from both sides.

"When we think of female genital mutilation, we usually think of African cultures and non-Christian religions", said Renee Bergstrom, an American survivor of genital cutting.



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