Michigan: Judge Throws Out Female Genital Mutilation Case Against Muslim Physicians
Freedom of religion apparently includes freedom to abuse children, as long as it’s done under religious auspices.
Another effect of multiculturalism was revealed Tuesday in Detroit, where a physician, Jumana Nagarwala, was charged with performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls in the United States. The Detroit Free Press reported that U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman “threw out the nation’s first female genital mutilation case, delivering a major blow to the prosecution and survivors who had hoped the Detroit case would help end a practice that is still performed on millions of girls worldwide.” Celebrate diversity!
Friedman declared: “The court concludes that the prosecution in this matter is vindictive. The government obtained the fourth superseding indictment, which asserts new and additional charges, in retaliation for defendants’ past success in having other charges dismissed. Such vindictive or retaliatory prosecution is a due process violation of the most basic sort.”
The defendants had previous charges dismissed on religious freedom grounds. But is the freedom of religion really a license to abuse children? “The lead defendant,” the Free Press noted, was Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, “whom prosecutors allege cut the genitals of nine minor girls during after-hours procedures at a Livonia clinic that belonged to her doctor friend, who also was charged in the case. Nagarwala has long denied engaging in genital mutilation, saying the procedure she performed on minor girls was a benign, religious practice that involved only scraping or ‘shaving’ of the genitalia, not cutting.
Nagarwala’s attorney, Shannon Smith, was bitter in victory: “Yes, they’ve won, but they’ve never been vindicated in court. Those things never happened. The things the government alleged never happened. Our clients have lost so much of their lives. The impact on their lives has been unspeakable. It’s hard. They’ve gone through half a decade of being charged and living under these charges.”
Yes, Ms. Smith, and so have your clients’ victims. But now it appears that female genital mutilation can be practiced in America with impunity. The Free Press noted details that vividly demonstrated the horrific nature of the case: Nagarwala was accused of performing FGM on “nine girls, ages 7 to 12, from Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota, including some who cried, screamed and bled during the procedure and one who was given Valium ground in liquid Tylenol to keep her calm….Among the accused were three mothers, including two Minnesota women whom prosecutors said tricked their 7-year-old daughters into thinking they were coming to metro Detroit for a girls’ weekend, but instead had their genitals cut at the Livonia clinic as part of a religious procedure.”
In the course of their prosecution, federal prosecutors for the first time acknowledged that there was nothing singular about Dr. Nagarwala: they revealed that she was, according to the Detroit Free Press, “part of a secret network of physicians in a tight-knit Indian community who were cutting 7-year-old girls across the country for years as part of a religious obligation and cultural tradition that had mothers and daughters traveling all over for the procedure.”
Jumana Nagarwala is a member of a small Muslim sect originating in India, the Dawoodi Bohras. The feds said Thursday that other female doctors in California and Illinoiswho belonged to the sect were also performing FGM on preteen girls, and that Nagarwala herself had at one point gone to Washington D.C. to subject five underage girls to the barbaric and grisly procedure. These doctors, according to Justice Department attorney Amy Markopoulos, “were in demand. This was not a discrete, one-time occasion. ... It was not arbitrary…travel is often necessary to perform the procedure.”This is apparently true because the number of doctors willing to perform FGM is far outstripped by the number of parents who want it for their daughters.
All this has been enabled by the Left’s embrace of cultural relativism, and by something else as well: the Left’s general unwillingness to challenge any aspect of the Islamic faith. We are constantly told the opposite by propagandists in the West, but the reality is that FGM is justified in Islamic law. It is practiced by some non-Muslims, but only in majority-Muslim areas where the influence of Islamic culture, mores and law is all-pervasive.
“It is a religious thing. Do you want to change religion?” said one Egyptian in response to a campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation. “You only listen to what the West is saying.”
One Islamic legal manual explains “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh‘ female circumcision’]).” (Umdat al-Salik e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64)
Why is it obligatory? Because Muhammad is held to have said so. One Islamic tradition quotes him as saying: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honor for women.’” (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75) Another quotes Muhammad’s child bride Aisha: “When the circumcised meets the circumcised, then indeed Ghusl [ritual purification] is required. Myself and Allah’s Messenger did that, so we performed Ghusl.’” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 108) If Muhammad had the genitals of his favorite wife, Aisha, mutilated, that is a strong endorsement of the practice from the man who is an “excellent example” (Qur’an 33:21) for Muslims.
Why does it matter whether or not FGM is Islamic? Because the practice will never be eradicated if its root causes are not confronted. As long as those Muslims continue to believe that Allah and Muhammad want it done, for some that will override all other considerations, in the United States and everywhere else. If this secret network isn’t dismantled now, it will only grow, and more young girls will suffer. But does Biden’s America have the cultural confidence necessary to confront and eradicate this practice?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.