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, Beth Dalbey | Dearborn Patch | h/t Blazing CatFur
DEARBORN, MI – The evangelical Christian group whose members paraded a pig’s head on a stick and chanted that Muslims would “burn in hell” at a large Arab-American celebration in Dearborn four years ago has won the last hurdle in a free speech battle.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday offered no explanation when it declined to hear an appeal of an earlier 6th U.S. Court of Appeals decision upholding the demonstrators’ free speech rights.
The Bible Believers sued Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and two deputies who ejected some of their members from the 2012 Arab International Festival as tensions were brewing over anti-Islam messages and preachings at the largely Muslim gathering. Angry members of the crowd pelted the evangelicals with rocks, water bottles and eggs, prompting police to step in.
Muslims Stoning Christians in Dearborn, Michigan:
The First Amendment case hinged on what’s known as a “heckler’s veto” — that is, the premise that police are justified in silencing a speaker to maintain peace and prevent potential violence.
In October, the 6th Circuit rejected that argument.
In its ruling upholding the First Amendment rights of the protesters, the Cincinnati appeals court decried the speech as loathsome and intolerant, but protected, and said that law enforcement and other public officials have special obligations in situations where the speech has the potential to incite violence.
“Bearing in mind the interspersed surges of ethnic, racial, and religious conflict that from time to time mar our national history, the constitutional lessons to be learned from the circumstances of this case are both timeless and markedly seasonable,” Judge Eric Clay wrote
In a rare move, the full court agreed to hear the appeal and set aside 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel in August 2014 that ruled deputies didn’t violate the evangelists’ free speech rights.
by, Niraj Warikoo | Lansing State Journal | h/t Trop
A Muslim leader convicted of raping three young girls in Detroit is to be sentenced Wednesday in a case that features a constitutional debate over whether women who wear an Islamic face veil should be allowed to testify with it on.
The case deals with two potentially conflicting freedoms protected under the U.S. Constitution — freedom of religion and the right of accusers to confront witnesses in court.
Mohammad Masroor, 51, was found guilty by a Wayne County jury on May 2 of 15 counts of criminal sexual conduct in 2000 against three female relatives, ages 10, 12, and 13 at the time of the assaults. His attorney maintains the imam didn’t get a fair trial because some of his witnesses testified wearing a niqab, an Islamic face veil that covers up a woman’s entire head except for a narrow slit that shows only her eyes.
Prosecutors said Masroor used his influence as a religious leader to take advantage of the girls while he was tutoring them in Islamic studies. Eight victims testified in the case, all of them relatives; he was acquitted last year in Canada of sexually assaulting five other relatives while he was imam of a mosque in Toronto.
“He would use his religious knowledge to manipulate these victims,” said Rahal Khalil, assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County, who handled the Detroit case. “He was put on a pedestal … as a respected imam.”
Masroor exploited the conservative religious views of the girls to keep on abusing them, Khalil said.
“He would say things to the victims like: ‘If it ever came out you weren’t a virgin … they would stone you or kill you. … Nobody in the world would believe you because of who I am.’”
Masroor escalated the attacks on his victims gradually over time, starting with “just touching them … to kissing on the cheeks, kissing on the lips; groping the breasts turned into fondling the private areas, and then full penetration,” Khalil said.
Masroor was seen as a trusted leader in the community because of his knowledge of Islam and its holy book, the Quran.
Born in Bangladesh to a noted imam, he memorized the Quran by the age of 9, became an imam at 24, and immigrated to the United States on a religious workers visa. In Detroit, he taught at a non-profit religious school in his brother’s home, where he targeted his victims, according to prosecutors.
Masroor’s attorney, Mitch Foster, said he was disappointed in the verdict.
Masroor “appears to be a good man, a very devout religious man who’s always maintained his innocence, and I have no reason to conclude otherwise,” Foster said. “He seems very sincere, and he testified in his own defense and denied all wrongdoing.”
He said he may file an appeal citing the judge’s niqab ruling.
Masroor, his family, and the community he was from were highly conservative Sunni Muslims who believe a woman should be covered entirely except for her eyes when in the presence of men not related to them. A small percentage of Muslim women wear the niqab; locally, some women in parts of Hamtramck and the south end of Dearborn wear them.
Masroor was able to get the girls alone in part because their mother — who was not related by blood to Masroor — could not be in his presence unless fully covered.
Before the trial started in April, Foster had asked the court to require any female testifying against Masroor not to wear the niqab. Foster cited the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says in part that the accused have the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”
If females wear a niqab, the accused are “denied the right to fully cross-examine and confront the witnesses,” Foster said he argued.
In 2009, the Michigan Supreme Court voted 5-2 to amend a state rule and begin permitting judges to decide whether women could wear niqab when testifying. Their ruling came out of a 2006 case in Hamtramck where a Muslim woman from Detroit, Ginnah Muhammad, refused to removed her niqab when a Hamtramack judge asked her to in order to testify.
It involved a small-claims case she had brought over a disputed repair bill with a car rental company. Muhammad filed a lawsuit, saying her constitutional rights were violated, but the Michigan Supreme Court said judges have the right to require women to show their face when testifying.
Masroor faces a maximum sentence of life in prison at his Wednesday sentencing.
Here is an expose’ on Muhammad Masroor, courtesy of: Your Daily Muslim (YDM):
Muslim Pedophile Imam Mohammad Masroor. (Just like Muhammad)
Previously acquitted of raping 5 children in Canada in 2011
by, Ali Harb | The Arab American News | h/t Halal Pork Shop
DETROIT, Michigan: A Muslim imam was found guilty of 15 counts of criminal sexual conduct by a jury on Friday, May 2. Mohammad Masroor was convicted for sexually abusing his nieces as children, when they lived in Detroit from 2000 to 2003.
He will be sentenced on May 21 and could face up to life in prison.
A circuit court judge has allowed the three victims to testify while wearing the niqab, the Islamic face covering that conceals everything except the eyes.
Masroor’s attorney filed a motion to require the victims to reveal their faces while standing in front of the judge, in order to satisfy the defendant’s right to confront his accusers. Judge Michael Hathaway denied the motion.
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” But the prosecution argued that Masroor’s rights were not violated by the wearing of the niqab, because he is still afforded a face-to-face engagement with the accusers.
“Each witness will be present in the courtroom, cross-examined on the witness stand and fully exposed for all intents and purposes, except for a small fraction of her face,” stated Assistant Prosecutor Khalil Rahal in his argument to the judge. “The jurors and the defendant will see the victims’ eyes, which have long been recognized as ‘the window to the soul.'”
Rahal argued that the defense motion was meant to put pressure on the victims. “[The] defendant seeks to intimidate the victims in this case, who accuse him of sexually abusing them, by requiring them to violate their First Amendment rights to freely express their Muslim faith by making them remove their burkas and expose their faces to all in attendance,” he said
Masroor, 50, a Muslim scholar from Bangladesh, has lived in different cities in Asia, Europe and North America.
According to Canada’s Toronto Sun, he was acquitted of similar charges in that city on March 27. He was serving as an assistant imam at the Baitul Mukarram Islamic Society when he was arrested and charged with sexually-related offenses involving five children in 2011.
Masroor was arrested and extradited to the United States in relation to the current charges a day after his acquittal, states the newspaper.
Masroor’s trial in Detroit began on Tuesday, April 29. According to the prosecution, the defendant moved to Detroit from New York at the beginning of 2000. He resided at his brother’s house, where the sexual assaults began.
The oldest victim was 13 years old at the time. The molestation escalated to rape shortly after his arrival, she said during testimony. She was being home-schooled during that time.
According to the prosecution, the victim later requested to go to school outside the home to avoid contact with her uncle during the day. But after a “small family meeting,” Masroor convinced her father to start home-schooling her two younger sisters instead of sending her to school, Rahal said. The suspect then became the three girls’ tutor.
The defendant abused the oldest victim while teaching her. During the day, her father would be at work, while her mother would stay upstairs to avoid contact with her brother-in-law due to the conservative nature of the household.
“[The victim] felt like what she was doing was wrong, but she didn’t know enough. All she knew is that it was her uncle. All she knew is that he was an imam,” Rahal told the jury on Tuesday.
The victim described the abuse as “uncomfortable and painful.” She said her uncle would manipulate her, threaten to attack her sisters and use his authority to intimidate her into hiding the abuse.
She added that her uncle told her that nobody would believe her and that her parents would kill her if they found out she is not a virgin.
Masroor’s sexual misconduct with the oldest victim continued even after he moved out of his brother’s house to join his wife and children in nearby Hamtramck. The abuse went on for three years until both families moved to Florida.
After moving to Florida, the oldest victim discovered that her sisters were abused as well.
All three victims reported the defendant to the authorities in 2011 after his own wife accused him of sexually abusing their biological children.
Masroor’s nieces were living in two states at the time they reported the abuse. Two of the sisters testified without their niqabs, but one of them opted to keep it on when she was questioned in court by Rahal and Masroor’s defense attorney Mitchell Forster.
The Arab American News could not reach Forster for comment. In his opening argument, Foster described the three accusers’ reporting of Masroor in 2011 as a “coordinated attack,” as the accusations were conveyed to the authorities within days of each other.
Foster urged the jury to look for signs in the victims’ testimonies that would show that they are not being truthful. He said inconsistencies, exaggerations and forgetting important events could be signs of untruthfulness.
Sanaz Nazami, a vibrant 27-year-old native of Tehran, Iran, who could speak three languages, wanted to pursue an advanced degree in engineering. (AP Photo/Courtesy Sara Nezami)
by, Associated Press (AP) | FNC
A nurse in a Michigan hospital kissed the patient’s forehead. More than 6,000 miles away, Sanaz Nezami’s family in Iran watched on a laptop computer and wept.
Nezami, a vibrant 27-year-old woman who could speak three languages, wanted to pursue an advanced degree in engineering at Michigan Technological University. Instead, she was brain dead just a few weeks after unpacking her bags, the victim of a fatal beating by her new husband, according to police.
Technology allowed family in Iran to watch her final hours. The family’s faith in the hospital staff led to consent for an extraordinary donation: Nezami’s heart, lungs and other life-saving organs were transplanted to seven people in the U.S., a remarkable gift that occurs in less than 1 percent of all cases.
“We wanted God to perform a miracle and bring Sanaz back to life,” her sister, Sara Nezami, said in a phone interview from Tehran. “But this is a miracle. Sanaz gave her life in order to give life.”
A nurse who took care of Sanaz Nezami said the experience was “eye-opening” for hospital staff.
“The family was willing to trust us to know she wasn’t coming back,” Kim Grutt said.
In August, Nezami married Nima Nassiri in Turkey and lived with him temporarily in the Los Angeles area, where he was born and raised. Her sister said the two met over the Internet.
Nezami, a native of Tehran, had a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s in French translation. She wanted a doctorate degree in environmental engineering.
The newlyweds drove from California and found a rental home in November in Michigan. Nezami stayed in touch with family through e-mail, text message and video.
On Dec. 7, she asked her sister to proofread some English-to-Persian translation she was doing on the side.
“I was shocked,” Sara Nezami said. “Sanaz was a very precise girl, but she omitted some lines. I asked, ‘Are you OK?’ She told me there was no problem.”
The next day Sanaz Nezami was rushed to a hospital with severe head injuries and was transferred to Marquette General Hospital. Police believe she was assaulted by her husband, who has been charged with second-degree murder. His attorney, David Gemignani, declined to comment.
“Her brain was so swollen and so damaged, there was no longer any blood flow,” explained Gail Brandly, who supervises nurses at the hospital.
No one knew anything about Nezami, so Brandly ran her name through Google. Suddenly, the stranger who couldn’t speak for herself came alive through a resume posted online.
Nezami was fluent in French, English and Persian. She volunteered to cook for charities. As a teen, she wrote for youth newspapers and magazines and won first place in a 2001 literature competition with an essay on “friendships and the differences between us.”
After about 24 hours, the hospital reached relatives in Iran. Immediate travel to the U.S. was impractical due to visa requirements, so a laptop was set up so the family could see Nezami on life support and talk to nurses and doctors over Yahoo Messenger.
“It isn’t something we’ve done in the past. It’s not every day we’re dealing with family members so far-flung,” said Dave Edwards, spokesman for the hospital.
At one point, Grutt was asked to stroke Nezami’s head and kiss her forehead.
“They wanted us to do things for Sanaz that they would have done,” Grutt said. “They said, ‘Let her know we love her. We’re here.’ I felt completely comfortable.”
Nezami died on Dec. 9, but her critical organs — heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas and small intestine — could be used by others. With the family’s consent, they were removed and transplanted to seven people. No other details were released.
“The family was very clear. They want Americans to know Sanaz loved America,” said Wendy Mardak of UW-Organ and Tissue Donation, a regional organ donation agency.
Nezami was buried Dec. 18 in a local cemetery. As a light snow fell, the hospital’s chaplain, the Rev. Leon Jarvis, read Muslim prayers over the casket while about 20 people, mostly nurses and others who cared for her, watched.
Jarvis, an Episcopal priest, said he pledged to Nezami’s father that “as long as I draw breath and live in this city, your daughter will never be alone.”
“I’ve never seen anyone so quickly adopted by so many,” Jarvis said. “Considering our season right now, this was an incredible gift by Sanaz, but also a gift from the community as well. It’s realizing the goodness of humanity and what people can do in a real cynical time.”