A growing epidemic of Female Genital Mutation (FGM) is cropping up in Detroit.
South East Michigan is heavily populated by Muslims.
Recently, two Detroit-area doctors were arrested for mutilating young girls.
But what exactly is FGM and why is it so prevalent within Muslim communities?
Victims of this horrifying mutilation of women speak out, calling it “DEMONIC.”
From Detroit Free Press
It was the summer of 1990.
Mariya Taher was 7 years old, vacationing in India with her family, when one day her mother took her to a run-down apartment building without explaining why.
She remembers climbing some stairs, opening a door and seeing older women in a room. There was laughter, and the place seemed cheerful.
But then came the betrayal.
The child ended up on the floor. Her dress was lifted up.
“I remember something sharp down there and then I remember crying,” Taher, now 34, recalls. “I remember my mom comforting me afterward and holding me in her lap.”
A decade later, Taher would better understand what happened to her on that summer day in Mumbai. She had survived the taboo ritual of female genital mutilation, a decades-old religious tradition that millions of women worldwide continue to be subjected to, including a half million in the U.S., where a historic criminal case involving the practice is unfolding in Detroit.
n a first-of-its kind federal prosecution, authorities have charged three people for their alleged roles in the genital cuttings of two 7-year-old Minnesota girls at a Livonia clinic in February. Authorities say the girls came to Michigan with their mothers, thinking it was a special girls trip, but ended up having their genitals cut instead.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44, of Northville, who was arrested April 12, is accused of cutting the girls and, if convicted, could get life in prison.
Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, of Livonia and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, were arrested Friday. He is accused of letting Nagarwala use his clinic to perform the procedure, while his wife is accused of holding the girls’ hands to comfort them during the cuttings.
All three defendants belong to a small, Indian-Muslim community known as the Dawoodi Bohra, whose members say genital cutting is a deeply entrenched social and cultural norm, with some women viewing it as normal as having a period. Celebration parties are held after the cuttings, and the women and girls are supposed to keep it a secret. One of the key reasons for the procedure, victims say, is to curb a woman’s sexuality.
Taher, who lives in Cambridge, Mass., grew up in the Bohra community in the U.S. and is closely following the Michigan case along with several other cutting victims who spoke to the Free Press last week about their painful pasts and the stigma of growing up feeling different, betrayed, ashamed. Like the victims in the Michigan case, they were told to tell no one about the cutting, that it was a special secret.
But the now-grown women are done being quiet.
After years of suffering in silence, fearful of getting shunned by their families and communities if they denounced genital mutilation, they are speaking out and demanding change. They want the cutters punished, along with religious leaders and parents who continue to support a practice that is illegal in the U.S. and has been condemned by the World Health Organization.
Read more here.