Another effect of multiculturalism was revealed Thursday in Detroit, where a physician, Jumana Nagarwala, is charged with performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls in the United States. For the first time, federal prosecutors acknowledged that there is nothing singular about Dr. Nagarwala: They revealed Thursday that Nagarwala is, according to the Detroit Free Press, “part of a secret network of physicians in a tight-knit Indian community who were cutting 7-year-old girls across the country for years as part of a religious obligation and cultural tradition that had mothers and daughters traveling all over for the procedure.”
Jumana Nagarwala is a member of a small Muslim sect originating in India, the Dawoodi Bohras. The feds said Thursday that other female doctors in California and Illinois who belonged to the sect were also performing FGM on preteen girls, and that Nagarwala herself had at one point gone to Washington, D.C., to subject five underage girls to the barbaric and grisly procedure. These doctors, according to Justice Department attorney Amy Markopoulos, “were in demand. This was not a discrete, one-time occasion. … It was not arbitrary…travel is often necessary to perform the procedure.” This is apparently true because the number of doctors willing to perform FGM is far outstripped by the number of parents who want it for their daughters.
The Free Press notes that Nagarwala is “charged with performing FGM on nine minor girls from Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota, including some who cried, screamed and bled during the procedure and one who was given Valium ground in liquid Tylenol to keep her calm, court records show.” Nagarwala is accused of doing this dirty job after hours in another doctor’s clinic in Livonia, Michigan.
The prosecution has faced numerous hurdles. “Since the case emerged in 2017,” says the Free Press, “the bulk of the charges have been dropped and the federal FGM law was declared unconstitutional in 2018. The case was set to go to trial in April 2019 on a single obstruction charge, but COVID-19 hit and the prosecution came to a halt. This year, to the chagrin of the defense, prosecutors sought new charges.” One of them is based on the claim that “Nagarwala and her three cohorts lied to the FBI about FGM that was going on in their community, and instructed others in their religious community to do the same if the FBI came asking questions.”
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman was the one who declared the FGM ban unconstitutional in 2018, and he may strike against the new case as well. An anti-FGM activist, Mariya Taher, finds this appalling: “Oh my God, this is crazy. Unfortunately, this is going to embolden those who believe that this must be continued … they’ll feel that this is permission, that it’s OK to do this.” She says of FGM: “This is a violation of one person’s human rights. It’s a form of gender violence. This is cultural violence.”
Yes it is, and it has been enabled by the Left’s embrace of cultural relativism, and by something else as well: the Left’s general unwillingness to challenge any aspect of the Islamic faith. We are constantly told the opposite by propagandists in the West, but the reality is that FGM is justified in Islamic law. It is practiced by some non-Muslims, but only in majority-Muslim areas where the influence of Islamic culture, mores, and law is all-pervasive. “It is a religious thing. Do you want to change religion?” said one Egyptian in response to a campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation. “You only listen to what the West is saying.”
One Islamic legal manual explains “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’])” (Umdat al-Salik e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64).
Why is it obligatory? Because Muhammad is held to have said so. One Islamic tradition quotes him as saying: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honor for women” (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75). Another quotes Muhammad’s child bride Aisha: “When the circumcised meets the circumcised, then indeed Ghusl [ritual purification] is required. Myself and Allah’s Messenger did that, so we performed Ghusl” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 108). If Muhammad had the genitals of his favorite wife, Aisha, mutilated, that is a strong endorsement of the practice from the man who is an “excellent example” (Qur’an 33:21) for Muslims.
Why does it matter whether or not FGM is Islamic? Because the practice will never be eradicated if its root causes are not confronted. As long as those Muslims continue to believe that Allah and Muhammad want it done, that will override all other considerations for some in the United States and everywhere else. If this secret network isn’t dismantled now, it will only grow, and more young girls will suffer. But does Biden’s America have the cultural confidence necessary to confront and eradicate this practice?