An anonymous tip to federal authorities, cell phone records, and surveillance video have put two doctors behind bars for carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls as young as seven in Michigan. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala and Dr. Fakhruddin Attar are currently awaiting a detention hearing next week. Attar’s wife was also arrested at she and her husband’s suburban Livonia, Michigan clinic on Friday.
The girls who live in Minnesota were taken by their parents to Michigan in February for the FGM procedure that was performed by Nagarwala at Attar’s clinic. Nagarwala denies performing FGM, but rather removing membranes for burial by the girls’ parents. While the parents have not been arrested one girl was put in the care of the state for a short period.
A federal law passed in 1996 officially made FGM illegal across the country. 25 states also have anti-FGM laws on their books. Despite FGM’s illegality, it is estimated that there are 500,000 young girls in the United States who have either undergone FGM or are at risk for having the procedure done in secret.
Those involved are alleged to be a part of the Dawoodi Bohra community in Michigan.
Surveillance from the unsealed complaint revealed 20-minute FGM procedures performed by Nagarwala after hours and phone records showing Mrs. Attar telling the girls’ parents to deny everything if they were contacted by investigators.
The detention hearings are expected to take place on Wednesday. Nagarwala was already deemed a flight risk after being caught trying to take a flight to Kenya.