If you are regular reader of our blog, or pretty much any news media in the state, then you’re already aware of the Michigan-based female genital mutilation cases that have caused uproar of late. The result, besides a good deal of media coverage, has been for local legislators to draft hurried bills outlawing the practice, and now intervention from CPS.
For those of you who don’t know the details of the story, it involves a previously little-known Muslim sect with a small following here in Michigan, called the Dawoodi Bohra. At first, a female doctor named Jumana Nagarwala was arrested for performing genital cuttings on two young girls who were brought to Michigan from Minnesota for that purpose.
The ‘surgery’ was performed after-hours at a clinic in Livonia, owned and operated by Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar. The complaint filed in federal court revealed that Dr. Attar and his wife assisted Dr. Nagarwala in performing the procedures. Since the charges became public, officials say that they have located several additional victims. This, of course, is where CPS steps in…
Child Protective Services has requested an emergency hearing with the court regarding the placement of Dr. Attar’s daughter, who is also apparently a victim of FGM. As of now, CPS has allowed the girl to remain in her home, but only under the supervision of her grandparents. Another set of grandparents is expected to arrive soon to assist in the care.
Several other Dawoodi Bohra families are also involved.
They arescheduled to appear in the Oakland County Family Court because CPS is challenging their parental rights. Because CPS refuses to discuss any aspect of a case they are working on, we do not know the names of any of the other families who are currently facing the termination of their parental rights.
Some have speculated that Dr. Nagarwala and her husband may be among the families who stand to lose parental rights, as they have an 11-year-old daughter. However that has not been confirmed. What we do know is that there are at least seven children involved in the CPS effort to terminate parental rights as a result of illegal genital cuttings.
According to an attorney who is counselling several of the Dawoodi Bohra families facing the loss of their children, the parents and community at large are terrified. Several attorneys who are representing the families have come forward to state that their clients should not be prosecuted. After all, they argue, it was a ritual performed for religious purposes and therefore cannot be regulated by the government.
Anjuman-e-Najmi Detroit, an organization that manages the affairs of the local Dawoodi Bohra community, released a statement to the press last week. In it, they explained that they encouraged all of their members to follow U.S. law in all of their dealings.The Dawoodi Bohras do not support the violation of any U.S. law, local, state or federal. We offer our assistance to the investigating authorities.”
“Any violation of U.S. law is counter to instructions to our community members. It does not reflect the everyday lives of the Dawoodi Bohras in America. It is an important rule of the Dawoodi Bohras that we respect the laws of the land, wherever we live. This is precisely what we have done for several generations in America. We remind our members regularly of their obligations.”
We will keep you updated on this case as it develops. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of any form of child abuse or neglect in the state of Michigan, contact us at 866 766 5245. Our skilled child abuse defense attorneys have decades of experience handling cases with very successful outcomes. We can help you too.