For the second time in over a week, federal authorities have charged a Detroit-area doctor with female genital mutilation, or FGM.
This time, officials have arrested and charged 53-year-old Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, for allegedly conspiring with Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who was charged last week with performing genital cutting on young girls at a medical clinic in Livonia, Michigan.
Fakhruddin Attar owns the suburban clinic where federal prosecutors believe two Minnesota girls had their genitals mutilated in February by Nagarwala, according to the criminal complaint, which the Justice Department unsealed Friday.
Nagarwala’s case was the United States’ first federal prosecution of genital cutting. She was arrested April 12 and ordered to jail pending the outcome of her trial. Authorities said the doctor told one victim she was going to “get the germs out” when describing what she was doing.
A Minnesota doctor examining a girl who said Nagarwala, 44, had operated on her found the girl’s “genitals were not normal and observed scar tissue and healing lacerations.”
According to the complaint, Attar and his wife, worked with Nagarwala to bring girls “approximately six to eight years old” to the clinic after it was closed to perform FGM.
Nagarwala has denied the accusations, saying she knows FGM is illegal and has never performed the procedure on anyone. Rather than any actual cutting, the doctor said she removed a membrane from the girls’ genital area using what she described as a “scraper” and gave it to the parents to bury in the ground as part of a “religious practice.”
During a hearing on the matter, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Mazjoub said, “I think there’s clear and convincing evidence that your client poses a danger to the community.”
Dr. Fakhruddin Attar admitted to authorities that Nagarwala did use the clinic after hours to treat children ages 6-9 for genital-related problems. He said she saw patients for those issues only “when the clinic is closed on Friday evenings or Saturdays.”
Nagarwala never billed for the procedures nor did she document them, the complaint revealed.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco called the doctor’s alleged procedures “horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims.”
“The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse,” he said.