IS CHILD MUTILATION ALLOWED IN THE NAME OF RELIGION?
In an era when a swat on your child’s backside can get an American charged with child abuse, a federal judge ruled that Congress did not have the authority to ban female genital mutilation (FGM).
Last week US District Judge Bernard Friedman of the Eastern District of Michigan struck down the 1996 law that made it illegal for anyone to engage in this Muslim practice.
The statute states “Whoever knowingly circumcises, excises or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person” under the age of 18 shall be fined or imprisoned for up to five years, or both.
DOCTORS MUTILATED GENITALS OF NINE GIRLS
Judge Friedman declared the law unconstitutional. He dismissed nearly all of the charges against two Michigan doctors and seven others accused of genital mutilation of nine minor girls.
The historic case involves girls from Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota. They cried, screamed and bled during the procedure and one who was given Valium to keep her calm, court records show.
Judge Friedman concluded that Congress did not have the authority to pass the 22-year-old federal law that criminalizes female genital mutilation in America. FGM is banned worldwide and has been outlawed in more than 50 countries. But the U.S. statute had never been tested in court because federal prosecutors fear backlash from the powerful Muslim lobby.
Prosecutors allege Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, the lead defendant, cut the genitals of two 7-year-old Minnesota girls who were tricked into the procedure in 2017 by their mothers. They said Nagarwala did this with the help of Dr. Fakhuruddin Attar, who is accused of letting Nagarwala use his Livonia, Michigan clinic after hours to carry out the procedures.
Dr. Attar’s wife, Farida, is accused of assisting Nagarwala in the examination room during the procedures and holding down the girls’ hands. Four mothers have also been charged with the crime of female genital mutilation.
TWELVE YEARS OF MUSLIM CRUELTY
Prosecutors allege that Nagarwala likely subjected up to 100 girls to the procedure over a 12-year period. The nine victims in this case were two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota, four Michigan girls ages 8-12 and three Illinois girls.
The prosecution argued genital mutilation is an illegal, secretive and dangerous “health care service” that involves interstate commerce on a number of fronts: text messages are used to arrange the procedure; parents drive their children across state lines to get the procedure; and the doctor uses medical tools in state-licensed clinics to perform the surgeries.
WAS SENATOR HARRY REID ANTI-MUSLIM?
Prosecutors noted that FGM is condemned worldwide. They cited the legislative history of the law, along with former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s comments in pushing for a genital mutilation ban.
“I want everyone within the sound of my voice to understand that what I am going to talk about here today does not deal with religion and it does not deal with sex. It deals with violation of a person’s human rights. It deals with degradation of women and young girls. It deals with the most inhumane thing a person can imagine,” Reid stated in 1994.
Reid went on to say: “There is no medical reason for this procedure. It is used as a method to keep girls chaste and to ensure their virginity until marriage, and to ensure that after marriage they do not engage in extramarital sex.”
President Clinton signed the female genital mutilation bill into law on September 30, 1996.
COULD CHRISTIANS GET AWAY WITH MUTILATING A CHILD?
Defendants and victims are all members of a small Indian Muslim sect known as the Dawoodi Bohra, which has a mosque in Farmington Hills, near Ann Arbor, Detroit & Dearborn. The sect practices female circumcision and believes it is a religious rite of passage that involves only a minor “nick.”
The Muslim population of Michigan is 2.75%, compared to 1% nationwide.
The case is set to go to trial in April 2019.