It’s only been a couple of weeks since we shared with you a story about a Michigan-based doctor who is facing federal criminal charges for allegedly performing genital mutilation on underage girls. However, since then new charges have been brought against another Michigan doctor and his wife who are accused of engaging in this same practice, which is illegal here in the United States.
Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar, are alleged to have assisted the previously arrested Jumana Nagarwala in performing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on several 6- and 8-year-old girls. According to a criminal complaint unsealed in the U.S. District Court, Dr. Attar surgically removed parts of the girls’ genitalia, while his wife held their hands “in order to comfort them.”
The procedures were performed at the Burhani Medical Clinic in Livonia, which is owned by Dr. Attar. The complaint reveals that phone records, surveillance videos and medical evidence were used to build the case against Nagarwala and the Attars. Phone records reveal that Attar was in regular contact with members of the Indian Muslim community in Minnesota, called the Dawoodi Bohra, that the victims come from.
In total, authorities say that this phone records show that he made a total of 50 phone calls over the course of three months last year. In addition, investigators say that they have audio recordings of Attar’s wife telling one Michigan Dawoodi Bohra member not to cooperate if police question them about the procedures. She is alleged to have told that person to completely deny any allegations of genital mutilation, and tell police that nothing happened.
Prosecutors say they have overwhelming evidence of multiple genital mutilations performed in Michigan
Surveillance footage shows Nagarwala arriving at the clinic, followed by Attar and his wife. Attar can be seen handing Nagarwala a white bag before they enter the building together. Shortly thereafter the first victim can be seen arriving with her mother. About 20 minutes later they leave, and another mother and young girl arrive, only to depart approximately 20 minutes later.
The medical evidence that prosecutors claim to have in this case is the follow-up exams performed on the victims by a doctor in Michigan. Allegedly, the girl’s genitals have been “altered.” Interestingly, the parents in this case, both of which are from Minnesota, have not been charged. Apparently one of the girls who underwent the procedure was removed by CPS for a short time, but has already returned to her family’s home.
Attar has also admitted to authorities that Nagarwala made repeated use of clinic during after hours. He says that she used the clinic to treat young children, aged 6 to 9, who had problems with their genitals. The genital problems, he claims, included things like rashes. He also claims that she neither documented her procedures at the clinic, or billed for them. The criminal complaint also states that in addition to the two girls, there have been several other victims who have admitted to seeing Nagarwala for painful genital procedures.
This case is historic in that this is the first ever instance of someone being prosecuted for performing genital mutilation on underage females in the United States. Federal law prohibits altering a minor girl’s genitalia in any way, beyond that which is deemed medically necessary for health. This has been the case since 1996, when it was formally outlawed here in the U.S.
For people who were not raised in the Unites States, or whose religions and cultures are not mainstream in the U.S., it can sometimes be confusing to know what is legal and what isn’t. With that in mind, if you have any questions or concerns about Michigan or federal law and how it may affect your religious and cultural practices, please contact our experienced defense attorneys. We are here to help you.