A federal judge dismissed charges Tuesday against two Detroit based doctors and six others accused of involvement in female circumcision
Nine minor girls from from Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota underwent female genital mutilation at the Detroit clinic
US District Judge Bernard Friedman also declared a US law banning female genital mutilation unconstitutional
Judge Friedman dismissed mutilation and conspiracy charges against Dr. Jumana Nagarwala who performed the surgeries and Dr Fakhruddin Attar, proprietor of the clinic
The same charges were dismissed against Attar’s wife, Farida, and Tahera Shafiq and four women who tricked their daughters into going to the clinic
The defendants are all apart of the Muslim sect, the India-based Dawoodi Bohra
Michigan was the 26th state to officially ban the practice of female circumcision, but only after the arrest of Jumana Nagarwala in 2017
A US District Judge dismissed mutilation and conspiracy charges Tuesday against Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, [photo], who performed surgeries on minor girls
In a landmark decision, a federal judge dismissed charges Tuesday against two doctors and six others accused of the controversial practice of female circumcision, also known pejoratively as female genital mutilation, on young girls at a Detroit medical clinic.
In handing down the decision, US District Judge Bernard Friedman also declared a US law banning the practice of female circumcision, as unconstitutional.
Judge Friedman dismissed mutilation and conspiracy charges against Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who performed the surgery on nine girls from Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota. Similar charges against the proprietor of the clinic Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, who allowed his clinic in Livonia, Michigan, to be used for the procedure, were also dismissed.
Charges were also dismissed against Attar’s wife, Farida, and Tahera Shafiq, who assisted in the procedure, as well as four mothers who allegedly tricked their daughters into going to the suburban clinic to undergo the practice for religious purposes.
Nagarwala also admitted she performed a religious custom on girls from her Muslim sect, the India-based Dawoodi Bohra. The co-defendants all belong to the sect, as well.
She still faces conspiracy to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and obstruction charges. Her co-defendants still face obstruction charges.
Friedman argued in his 28-page opinion that Congress ‘overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit female genital mutilation.’
He wrote: ‘FGM is a “local criminal activity” which, in keeping with long-standing tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress.
Michigan was the 26th US state to officially ban the practice, also known as female circumcision or cutting.
The state law was passed a few months after Nagarwala’s April 2017 arrest.
‘The Commerce Clause does not permit Congress to regulate a crime of this nature,’ Friedman said.
A spokeswoman said Tuesday that the US attorney’s office is currently reviewing Friedman’s opinion.
Molly Blythe, a lawyer for Nagarwala, said her team was thrilled about the ruling.
‘We are very excited about today’s ruling, although the victory is bittersweet given we fully anticipated our client to be vindicated at trial on those charges,’ Blythe said.