In what is believed to be the first criminal case of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the United States, a 44-year-old Detroit doctor has been charged with performing the outlawed practice. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency-room doctor at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital, has been charged with performing female genital mutilation girls ages 6 to 8.
According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, some of the young girls and their families traveled from different states to a Michigan clinic for her to perform the operation. Nagarwala has also been charged for transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
FGM is a practice performed for several reasons in some Christian and Muslim communities. FGM affects nearly 200 million women and girls around the world. Although uncommon, FGM is performed in the US. FGM is performed for several reasons, including decreasing the sexual desire, pleasure, or lust in women, according to the World Health Organization.
“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls,” acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in a statement. “It is also a serious federal felony in the United States. The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”
Nagarwala has been placed on administrative leave. If convicted, Nagarwala faces five years to life in prison.
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