DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A fourth individual is being implicated in a female genital mutilation (FGM) investigation in the Metro-Detroit area.
Federal investigators revealed on June 14 that Tajera Shafiq, a 48-year-old mother, is being implicated along with three others in a female genital mutilation case where, investigators say, nearly 100 underage Muslim girls may have been forced to undergo FGM at a Livonia, Michigan, medical clinic.
Investigators say there are cell phone records indicating Shafiq was present at Burhani Medical Clinic on February 3, the night two girls underwent an FMG procedure by Dr. Jumana Nagarwala. The owner of the clinic, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida, have also been charged with conspiracy in the case.
Shafiq, Nagarwala and the Attars are all members of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, a Shiite Islamic sect from India. Some of Nagarwala's FGM victims, however, had been driven in from Minnesota, where there is another Dawoodi Bohra community.
Until recently, Nagarwala was an emergency room physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. The criminal complaint charges her for FGM — a federal crime, transporting a minor across state lines for criminal sexual activity and lying to a federal investigator. The document justifies the charge of criminal sexual activity, noting, "One purpose of FGM is to curb the sexuality of girls and women by making sex painful." It continues, "As a result, there is probable cause to believe that the intent is to abuse, humiliate, harass or degrade."
The Attars are charged with conspiracy since Dr. Attar owns the Burhani Medical Clinic in Livonia, Michigan, where Nagarwala performed the procedures and allowed her to conduct them there outside of business hours. His wife assisted Nagarwala with the procedures, sometimes holding the hands of the girls in an attempt to comfort them while they were being cut.
A complaint lays out the case of two girls, who in February 2017, were transported to Attar's office from Minnesota. They were from a Muslim family and were transported to Michigan with their mothers for a "special girls' trip." After the procedures, which the girls say was exceptionally painful, they were told by their parents to keep secret what happened.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that other investigations confirm Nagarwala had mutilated the genitals of other Muslim girls brought in by their parents.
Female genital mutilation has been imported into the United States by Muslims. Despite the fact it was declared illegal in 1996, a 2012 report indicated, "The increase in the number of women and girls younger than 18 years of age at risk for FGM was more than four times that of previous estimates."
Nagarwala commented she did not perform FGM, but that it was merely a religious procedure.