A lawyer representing the minor children of Jumana Nagarwala, a Michigan doctor accused of performing female genital mutilation, has told the court a local mosque funded the practice.
Nagarwala’s lawyer denied the claims as “absolutely not true,” saying instead that the Anjuman-e-Najmi mosque had reimbursed her client for “bread, for pizza… for two-liter pop” bought for the food bank.
In a written statement Wednesday, an attorney for the mosque said that “at no time has Anjuman-e-Najmi, Detroit paid for any physician services,” adding that the allegations “were presented without evidence, and were intended to misstate, overstate, and inflame an already difficult situation.”
In total, three Michigan residents are facing felony charges related to the alleged female genital mutilation of two seven-year-old girls. All three have ties to the same Farmington Hills mosque.
Nagarwala, who prosecutors say performed the genital mutilations, is married to a director of the Anjuman-e-Najmi mosque. Dr. Fakruddin Attar, who allegedly allowed the procedures to take place in his Livonia clinic, is the mosque’s treasurer. His wife, Farida, allegedly held the girls’ hands during the procedure, which is also known as female genital cutting, female circumscision or khatna.
In May 2016, the Anjuman-e-Najmi mosque published a resolution acknowledging that since 1996, U.S. federal law has banned female-genital mutilation and directing parents and guardians to forgo the practice.
Anjuman-e-Najimi serves the Dawoodi Bohra community, an Indian sect of Shiite Islam that claims more than a million adherents worldwide. The Dawoodi Bohra’s spiritual leader, Syedna Mufaddi Saifuddin, said in 2016 that khatna “needs to be done” on girls.
Last week, a Michigan federal prosecutor said in court that as many as 100 girls may have undergone female genital mutilation, a claim defense attorneys denied.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.