2 more charged in Michigan genital mutilation investigation

2 more charged in Michigan genital mutilation investigation

A Detroit-area physician and his wife have been arrested and charged with conspiring to perform female genital mutilation procedures on girls as young as six, the Justice Department announced on Friday.

Fakhruddin Attar, M.D., 53, and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, both of Livonia, Michigan, are charged with conspiring to perform the mutilations on girls between 6-8 out of Fakhruddin Attar's medical clinic in Livonia. Female genital mutilation involves removing external female genitalia partially or in full.

According to a federal complaint filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, Farida Attar assisted Nagarwala in performing some of the procedures.

The Attars, who are in their 50s, were arrested Friday morning and are scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit later in the day.

The defense argued, claiming no female genital mutilation took place, instead, a religious removal of a mucus membrane from the genitals which was wrapped up and given to the parents to bury - a practice they say is performed by a small sect of Indian-based Islam called Dawoodi Bohra. Authorities say Dr. Attar's wife is employed at Burhani Medical Clinic as an office manager. Other minor girls in MI may have undergone procedures as well. The FBI's Detroit Field Division has set up a tip line for anyone who has information pertaining to the illegal practice of FGM or Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Fakhruddin Attar or Farida Attar at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5984). The lawyer said Dr. Nagarwala removed mucous from the 7-year-olds in February, and handed the gauze to the family for burial. She was given a medical exam, where the doctor noted several abnormalities and scar tissue on her genitalia.

A second MI doctor and his wife were just arrested on charges of performing female genital mutilation on minors, according to breaking news from the U.S. Justice Department Friday. During an interview last week, Nargawala said she had no knowledge and no involvement of FGM being performed in her community.

According to the DOJ, the trio are believed to be the first people charged under a federal law which criminalizes female genital mutilation. Investigators talked to seven other young girls in MI, several of whom said that they had undergone procedures at the clinic.