Friday, June 23, 2017

Female Genital Mutilation Case Expands

On June 21, federal authorities filed a Superseding Indictment (full text) adding two defendants in United States v. Nagarwala, (ED MI, 6/21/2017)-- the female genital mutilation case involving members of the Dawoodi Bohra Indian-Muslim community in the Detroit, Michigan area. (See prior posting).  According to the Detroit Free Press, the new defendants are Farida Arif and Fatema Dahodwala, two mothers who brought their daughters for the procedure to be performed.  This brings the total number of defendants to six. Prosecutors say there may have been up to 100 girls who were victims. The Free Press reports:
Lawyers involved in the case have said girls did not undergo female genital mutilation. They underwent a benign religious procedure, the lawyers have said.
“I am frankly appalled that the government would put these women through this,” said Dahodwala’s lawyer Margaret Sind Raben, who also has advised Arif’s family.
“Any mother who provided her child to Dr. Nagarwala or anyone else, for the purposes of this religious procedure, did so in absolute firm faith that this was required by their religion and that no permanent harm would come to their child,” Sind Raben said.
The new indictment charges various defendants with conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation, female genital mutilation, conspiracy to transport a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and making false statements to a federal officer.

UPDATE: Detroit Free Press June 24 reports on the controversy within the  Dawoodi Bohra sect between those who favor and those who oppose the practice of female genital cutting.