Absurd, Outrageous Religious Liberty Argument Used to Justify Female Genital Mutilation

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Absurd, Outrageous Religious Liberty Argument Used to Justify Female Genital Mutilation

Doctor Freed Last Week on $4.5 Million Bond, While Two Mothers of 7-Year-Old Girls Indicted on Charges

 

WASHINGTON, D.C—A doctor charged with mutilating the genitals of young girls in Michigan is out on bond, after a judge released her from pre-trial detention last week.

The $4.5 million bond was met by 17 of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala’s family, friends and members of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim sect community, who put up properties in other states toward her release and home detention. Detroit media reported the bond is believed to be the largest ever set in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan.

Elizabeth Yore, international child rights advocate and leader of the #EndFGMToday initiative, attended the hearing last week and has been following the case closely, all while educating others about the serious implications of this important FGM trial.

Incredible as it may seem, the defense and some others are claiming that maiming little girls can be justified on religious liberty grounds.

“Under the laws of the United States, no one is entitled to abuse a child in the name of religious freedom, including parents and religious leaders,” Yore said. “To be sure, some—like Warren Jeffs, Tony Alamo, Jim Jones and David Koresh—have tried to do so. But such arguments have been consistently repudiated by the courts, and the one trying the case of the alleged Dawoodi Bohra sect’s mutilation and trafficking ring must do the same with respect to the rights these Muslims assert to disfigure their daughters. 

“This is horrific child abuse,” Yore continued, “and the U.S. government is right to enforce the law prohibiting anyone who inflicts it on little girls—whether a doctor, a parent or a mosque. And that is why every state should have on its books statutes prohibiting such reprehensible behavior and should prosecute violators to the fullest extent of the law.”

Yore noted that federal prosecutors sent a strong message by also indicting two Minnesota mothers who are accused of taking their 7-year-old daughters to Michigan to have their genitals mutilated, according to a CBS Detroit affiliate. The despicable actions of these mothers also point to another scourge in America—trafficking.

“There is no parental free pass for child abuse,” Yore said. “These mothers in this Shia sect allegedly trafficked their little girls across state lines and conspired with a mutilator to ensure the permanent disfiguring of their daughters’ genitalia. The lifetime of horrifying physical and psychological suffering they have thus inflicted is truly criminal.”

Dr. Nagarwala is charged with conspiracy, genital mutilation, transporting minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, lying to a federal agent and obstructing an official proceeding. If convicted, she could face up to life in prison.

The facts of the Michigan case thus far, Yore added, provide grim reminders of the FGM-induced physical and emotional scars that are faced, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control, by as many as 513,000 girls and women right here in America.

Learn more at www.EndFGMToday.com and on social media at #EndFGMToday about FGM and efforts underway in the U.S. to stop it.

 

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