When Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, a respected emergency room doctor at Henry Ford hospital, was arrested for performing genital cuttings on two young girls from Minnesota, the country erupted. When another doctor and his wife were accused of being present at the time, fully complicit in the crime, a community came under the laser eye of CPS. Now that a fourth person has been charged, accused of being present at the time of the ‘surgeries’, people are beginning to wonder if this case will ever end.
Tahera Shafiq, a 48-year-old woman from Northville, is accused of being present at the clinic in Livonia when the genital cuttings were performed. Shafiq is, like her accused peers, also a member of the small Muslim sect called Dawoodi Bohra, where female genital mutilation is practiced as a coming of age ritual and a religious rite.
According to federal prosecutors, Shafiq was actually in the room when Nagarwala performed the procedures on the girls. She had been initially implicated in a three-way text with Nagarwala and Fakhruddin Attar, the doctor whose clinic was used to perform the procedures. However, further investigation revealed that she had been in the room when the girls were cut.
There has been a great deal of debate as to whether or not what happened in that room was actually against the law. One of the victims told investigators that she had been led to believe that she was being taken on a special girls trip, and that she had to keep the entire thing a secret. She explained that during the procedure she had felt ” a little pinch in the place where we go pee” and then the next day her genitals had “hurted a lot.”
Activists working to eradicate FGM say that it is dangerous, in some cases even life threatening.
Women left with severe scarring have greater difficulty during birth, and as a result tend to suffer higher infant and maternal mortality rates. Known risks include infections, blood loss, urine retention, ulceration of the genital region, injury to adjacent tissue, urinary infection, fever, and septicemia.
But the defense attorneys representing the families involved say that in this case, the procedures were nothing more than the scraping away of a membrane which the parents will then bury for religious reasons. They say it has nothing to do with reducing promiscuity or future sexual pleasure, which are the two most common reasons provided for FGM around the world.
It has been a full two months since the first charges against Nagarwala were brought out, and this situation shows no signs of slowing down. Parents are fighting to keep their children out of the clutches of CPS, families are being torn apart, and people are facing severe criminal charges. In addition, nationwide media coverage has trained a spotlight on both Michigan and the issue of female genital mutilation with the US.
If you or a loved one have been accused of any form of child abuse or neglect, which stems from a religious or cultural practice, you are going to need understanding and non-judgmental defense attorneys on your side. Call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 to discuss your case with a highly skilled and experienced attorney. We are here to help.