FGM Case Update: What’s Next For The Families Involved?

In the Dawoodi Bohra custom, all young girls are circumcised, which means they are subject to genital cutting.

 

If you read our blog with any regularity then you have probably heard about the female genital mutilation case that has caused such an uproar recently. Although in truth, you don’t have to follow our blog to have heard about it. There isn’t a newspaper or media source in Michigan that hasn’t covered the issue of FGM in the last month. So what’s the latest news in this case? Let’s take a look…

 

When Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was arrested for performing genital cuttings on two young girls from Minnesota, no one had any idea it would lead to an ongoing federal investigation throughout Michigan. When Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar were charged for assisting in the genital mutilations performed by Dr. Nagarwala, no one could foresee that it would mean CPS petitions to remove multiple children from their families. Y here we are…

 

Dr. Nagarwala was fired from Henry Ford Hospital after her arrest, and now she may lose her daughter as well. And she is not the only parent faced with this terrifying reality. There are now a total of six families facing the potential loss of their children as a result of the FGM practice in their culture.

 

As of yet, CPS hasn’t removed any children in Michigan.

 

As of now, Dr Nagarwala’s daughter and the children of the other families involved in the termination petitions are allowed to keep their children in their custody. However, this arrangement continues only as long as the parents continue to abide by a long list of conditions outlined by CPS. For example:

  • Turning over medical releases for the children
  • Agreeing not to discuss any aspect of the case with the children,
  • Having the children undergo trauma counseling
  • Agreeing that there will be no further genital mutilations performed on any girls in those families, and
  • Seeking approval from authorities and the court before the children may travel out of state, or leave the country.

 

Dr. Attar and his wife also risk losing their children. Earlier this week, an Oakland County Juvenile Court referee approved a petition that could result in the termination of the Attar’s parental rights. In Minnesota, at least one of the young girls who was brought here to Michigan to undergo the procedure has been removed from her parent’s custody by CPS.

 

The families, who come from both Wayne and Oakland counties, are facing termination of their parental rights. This means that not only will their children be removed by CPS, but that they will no longer have any rights to those children. Ever. For the rest of their lives. Which is an inconceivable loss, from a parent’s perspective. Especially when the reason you are losing your child to the system is because of a cultural practice that you believed was perfectly normal.

 

This case is a classic example of how difficult and confusing situations can be when one person’s cultural beliefs collide with another’s. What is viewed as acceptable, even necessary, in one part of the world, is considered a crime in another part. With that in mind, if you have any questions about Michigan law and how it may affect your religious and cultural practices, please contact our experienced defense attorneys. We are here to help you.

 

I found Brandy to be extremely professional and available. She prepared me well and had the best interests of me and my child in mind. She listened and rallied around my cause, but at the same time, kept expectations realistic. I would whole-heartedly recommend her as counsel.
Michael. W