DETROIT (KMSP) - A Detroit emergency room doctor is accused of performing female genital mutilation on two seven-year-old girls from Minnesota.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44, of Northville, Michigan is charged with performing female genital mutilation on minor girls out of a medical office in Livonia.
One victim said they were brought to Michigan from Minnesota by their mothers in February for a “special girls trip,” according to the criminal complaint. She says Nargawala pinched her in her genital area and was told not to talk about the procedure.
The other victim said she got a shot that hurt really bad and she screamed. After the procedure she could barely walk and it hurt all the way down to her ankle.
“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls,” Acting United States Attorney General in Detroit 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.”
Fartun Weli is the founder of Isuroon, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit aimed at helping Somali women with a variety of reproductive health issues, including those stemming from female genital mutilation, or FGM.
“The idea that a parent would take and cut their young daughters is going to be really shocking because we've seen all the reproductive health issues,” Weli told Fox 9.
The World Health Organization points out a list of lifelong health issues related to FGM, which has no medical benefit and involves the removal or partial removal of the clitoris. In some cultures, this is a way of suppressing sexuality in an attempt to reduce sexual pleasure and promiscuity.
Investigators in Michigan have identified other children who may have also had the illegal procedure performed by Nagarwala between 2005 and 2007.
During an interview on Monday, Nargawala said she had no knowledge and no involvement of FGM being performed in her community. Either way, Weli says she'll be watching this case closely.
“My hope this is lesson learned,” Weli said. “We have proof this is actually happening. What can we do about it?”
Henry Ford Health Systems, where Nagarwala works, issued a statement Thursday in response to the charges.
“The alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility,” the statement read. “We would never support or condone anything related to this practice.”
Nagarwala has been placed on administrative leave.
The charges do not indicate whether or not the parents of the two Minnesota victims might be charged as well.
The FBI’s Detroit Field Division has set up a tip line for anyone who has information on the illegal practice of female genital mutilation or Dr. Nagarwala. Anyone with a tip is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5984) or file an e-tip at fbi.gov/fgm.