by, Meira Svirsky | Clarion Project
A lawyer involved in the ongoing case against the Michigan doctor charged with performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls alleged in court that the doctor’s mosque had paid for the barbaric and illegal procedures.
Dr. Juama Nargarwala, 44, an emergency room doctor, is accused of performing FGM on two young girls from Minnesota, although prosecutors said in court that she may have cut up to 100 girls over the past 12 years.
Nargarwala is part of a sect of Muslims from India called the Dawoodi Bohra. She was arrested in April trying to board a flight to Kenya after the FBI received a tip in the case and was denied bail. Also charged in the case are two other members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect: Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, accused of letting Nargarwala use his clinic in Livonia to carry out the procedures and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, who is charged with holding the girls’ hands during the painful cutting.
Cynthia Nunez, the attorney who made the allegation and who was assigned by the court to look out for the best interests of Nargarwala’s children, also stated that Nargarwala’s husband is the treasurer of the mosque and could face criminal charges over the allegations that the mosque was paying for cutting.
Other members of the sect and their daughters have been told to keep quiet about the FGM procedures according to the charges against the doctor and her alleged accomplices. So far, the state has discovered that in addition to the two girls from Minnesota, six more girls are known to have been mutilated.
Medical examinations have shown that the girls’ genitals were altered and not just symbolically “scraped” as Naragarwala claimed. Writing in Mother Jones, a victim of FGM from the same sect, describes her horrific memories of the procedure that was carried out on her as a child and how wide-spread the practice is among the Dawoodi Bohra.
The state has been moving to take parental rights away from Naragawala as well as parents who have taken their daughters to be cut. In the case of Nargarwala, the children’s father agreed to move out of the house to avoid having the children put into foster care. The children are currently being taken care of by their grandparents.
Although the state requested the father’s visits to the children be made only with supervision, the judge ruled that for the time being, he is allowed to visit his children freely and without supervision.
by, AFP | The Daily Mail | h/t Glen Roberts @ Trop
Western states should legally permit immigrant communities to surgically “nick” young girls’ vaginas as an alternative to genital mutilation, a pair of US gynaecologists argued in a hotly-challenged paper Tuesday.
Such a “compromise” could allow groups to honour cultural or religious prescripts while saving millions of girls from invasive and disfiguring genital slashing practised in some African and Middle Eastern cultures, the two doctors stated in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
“We are not arguing that any procedure on the female genitalia is desirable,” said Kavita Arora of the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Allan Jacobs of Stony Brook University in New York state.
“Rather, we only argue that certain procedures ought to be tolerated by liberal societies”, which have outlawed such practices but host immigrants for whom it is part of their culture.
Efforts to enforce an outright ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) have often had the opposite effect — driving the practice underground and putting women at even greater risk, said the duo.
But many peers immediately dismissed the idea.
According to Arianne Shahvisi of the University of Sussex ethics department in Britain: “One must not cause irreversible changes to the body of another person without their consent.”
Arora and Jacobs, however, contended that a one-size-fits-all approach ignored that many people believed the procedure to be a means of achieving “moral or ritual purity” for their child.
Vaginal cutting is widely regarded as a libido-reducer, intended in certain cultures to keep a woman chaste.
According to the World Health Organization, about three million girls a year fall victim to genital mutilation.
It can cause urinary difficulties, cysts and infection, infertility and complications in childbirth.
– Like dental work –
Arora and Jacobs have proposed new sub-categories of genital cutting.
Category One would entail procedures with no long-lasting effect on the appearance or function of the genitalia, such as a “small nick” in the skin.
Procedures under Category Two may affect appearance, but not reproductive capacity or sexual enjoyment, they said. This could include removing the “hood” or skin-fold covering the clitoris or trimming the labia (labiaplasty).
The first two categories, they said, should be reclassified as female genital “alteration” (FGA) rather than “mutilation”.
“These procedures are equivalent or less extensive than male circumcision in procedure, scope and effect,” they wrote.
“Indeed, they are equivalent or less extensive than orthodontia, breast implantation or even the elective labiaplasty for which affluent women pay thousands of dollars.”
Unclear is whether this type of procedure would be considered valid by communities who perform FGM.
Categories Three to Five should remain outlawed, said the pair.
These included procedures to remove the clitoris or other parts of the vagina, often to be stitched closed with only a small hole for urine, menstrual blood and intercourse.
Brian Earp of the Bioethics Research Institute in New York said Arora and Jacobs erred in using male circumcision as a benchmark for what is permissible.
“Ultimately, I suggest that children of whatever sex or gender should be free from having healthy parts of their most intimate sexual organs either damaged or removed, before they can understand what is at stake in such an intervention and agree to it themselves,” he wrote in a commentary.
Earlier this month, the United Nations said at least 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to FGM — some 44 million aged 14 and younger.
In the 30 countries where the practice is most widespread, the majority were cut before their fifth birthday, according to the UN.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is Misogyny…with a Knife:
FGM: It’s Islamic Terrorism in a Girl’s Pants
How Many Cases of FGM Are “UN-Reported?”
by, SkyNews – Australia | h/t Tim Blair @ The Telegraph and Glen Roberts @ Trop
A case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is reported in England every 109 minutes, official health figures show.
Some 2421 instances of mutilation were reported from April 2015 to September 2015 – the latest full six months of figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Experts say the figures, released on the eve of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM on Saturday, are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.
Plan UK is a charity that campaigns against the practice and collated the figures.
Its chief executive, Tanya Barron, said: ‘FGM has been a hidden danger threatening girls in the UK and around the world – only now is the full scale becoming clear.’
But she warned there were still many ‘unseen, unheard cases’ that didn’t show up in official statistics.
The statistics, which were published monthly but are now released quarterly, show that between July and September last year 1385 cases were reported.
Of those, 758 cases were in London, 227 were in the Midlands and east of England, 245 were in the North of England and 155 were in the South of England.
Nimco Ali set up the Daughters of Eve charity that works to protect women from FGM. She was cut as a seven-year-old while on holiday in Djibouti.
She said: ‘FGM is a brutal practice, but it is also a very simple one to end. If you stop one woman having FGM done to her then you break that link and prevent it being done to the next generation.
‘We are finally shaking the taboo of FGM, but we have to be vigilant and cannot be complacent.’
She called for discussion of the dangers of mutilation to be incorporated into mandatory sexual and relationship education classes at school.
Human rights organisation Equality Now in 2014 estimated that 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales had been cut.
Spokesman Brendan Wynne said the HSCIC figures were ‘just the tip of the iceberg’.
He said mandatory reporting of cases of FGM by healthcare professionals – which came into force in October – was a crucial step in tackling the practice, but called for more education in schools.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s, which helps run the National FGM Centre, said it had received 41 referrals relating to 56 girls at risk of FGM in the past three months.
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All You Need To Know About FGM | End FGM
Some 60 cases of genital mutilation have been discovered in Norrköping in eastern Sweden since March with all 30 girls in one school class found to have undergone the procedure.
by, The Local Sweden | h/t Blazing CatFur
Of the 30, some 28 of the girls were found to have been subjected to the most severe form of genital mutilation, when the clitoris and labia are completely cut away and the genital area sewn together except for a small opening.
The abuse was discovered by the school health services, according to a report by Norrköpings Tidningar. Additional resources have been provided by the local social services to help the girls.
Female genital mutilation has been illegal in Sweden since 1982 and can be punished with up to four years in prison. If the offence is considered to be aggravated then the penalty can be up to ten years.
Since 1999 it is also an offence under Swedish law if the procedure is performed in a different country.
When school breaks up for the summer holidays the risk of being exposed to the surgery increases for many Swedish girls due to the prospect of visits to their parents’ home countries.
“We’re working to inform parents that they could face prison if they come back and their children have undergone female genital mutilation,” said Petra Blom Andersson, student health coordinator in Norrköping, to the newspaper.
Most girls who undergo the procedure are between the ages of 4-14 years, but the operation is also carried out on infants. Teenagers typically suffer a wide range of complications including period pains and headaches and for some it can be very painful to urinate.
There are no established figures detailing the extent of the female genital mutilation in Sweden, or of how many girls are brought to their parents’ countries of origin to get it done.
Health professionals tell committee that ‘cutters’ are flown into Britain for events at which up to a dozen girls may be mutilated
by, Alan Travis | The Guardian | h/t Blazing CatFur
The cutting of girls at female genital mutilation “parties” is still going on in Britain and not just taking place abroad, healthcare experts have told MPs.
The Commons home affairs select committee has heard that “cutters” – often older women – are flown into Britain for the events, at which as many as a dozen girls may be operated on.
Janet Fyle, of the Royal College of Midwives, said that by the time the authorities could be alerted, the cutter would have left. “By the time the girls are cut, the woman ‘cutter’ is on her flight back to the country she came from. We can’t go after the cutter. We don’t know who she or he is. The parents have to be held responsible,” she said.
Professor Janice Rymer, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, shared Fyle’s belief that FGM was happening in Britain. Asked about its scale, she said: “We have no idea. We have no data but I am sure it is happening in this country.”
The MPs also heard evidence that 75 to 80 women were undergoing FGM reversal operations in Britain each year.
The line of questioning by the MPs in the final evidence session of their inquiry into FGM suggested that their report is likely to recommend that healthcare professionals be placed under a new statutory duty to report cases to the police.
The health experts were asked for their response to a television and poster campaign to raise awareness of FGM, and to a requirement that any girls who faced a risk of mutilation should have it recorded in their paediatric “red book”, which is issued to every child in Britain.
The MPs heard from French legal experts that statutory reporting to the police was required in France and that those responsible for mutilating girls had been jailed for up to eight years.
The first person to be charged under Britain’s FGM laws appeared at the Old Bailey last week. Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, is accused of carrying out the procedure on a woman after she gave birth at Whittington hospital in Archway, north London, on 24 November 2012.
Scotland Yard has launched a campaign to prevent girls being flown abroad to be mutilated, senior officers told the select committee. They blamed the lack of prosecutions over the past 20 years on healthcare professionals for failing to report cases to the police.
However, Professor Nigel Mathers, of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said on Tuesday that police were not putting the blame in the right place.
He said it was not necessary to place a statutory duty on doctors to report cases of FGM because they were already under a statutory obligation to report cases of child abuse, and FGM was a form of this: “The difficulty is in identifying those involved,” he said.
His concerns was supported by Rymer, who said that she agreed with statutory reporting in principle, but that most cases encountered by gynaecologists and obstetricians involved pregnant women in their 20s who had been cut 16 or so years before.
But she was told by the committee chair, Keith Vaz, that he had no sympathy with that position and it was for the director of public prosecutions, not healthcare professionals, to decide whether a prosecution should proceed in such circumstances.