Feds say 2 Minnesota girls may be among 100 victims of genital mutilation doctor

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is accused of carrying out FGM on eight victims, but there may be many more.

A doctor and his wife accused of carrying out genital cutting on several young girls including two from Minnesota may have carried out the procedure on as many as 100 victims.

The Detroit Free Press reports the revelation was made in a court hearing on Wednesday, as federal prosecutors tried to argue that two people accused of helping Dr. Jumana Nagarwala carry out the procedures should stay in jail as they await trial.

"The Minnesota victims were not the first victims," the court heard, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward saying she believes there may have been as many as 100 genital mutilations carried out over a 12-year period at a clinic owned by Dr. Fahkruddin Attar in Livonia, Michigan.

She also said this was a "conservative estimate" based on an admission by Dr. Attar that Nagarwala – an ER doctor – would use his clinic up to six times a year for this reason. Dr. Attar's wife, Farida, would hold children's hands during the procedure, it's alleged.

According to the Detroit News, the Attars were released from custody ahead of the Oct. 10 trial, but have been placed on house arrest, with the judge barring them from using computers or accessing the internet.

After the hearing, the Attars' attorney Mary Chartier accused prosecutors of continuing to "overstate so many aspects of this case," in reference to the "100 victims" claim.

This is believed to be the first time charges have been brought under the federal law that criminalizes Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Thursday.

The two Minnesota girls, who were about 7 years old at the time, allegedly underwent the FGM at the clinic back in February.

Nagarwala is part of a cultural community that believes in FGM, the criminal complaint alleged. The procedure, which can involve cutting and removing all or part of the clitoral skin, is often used to suppress female sexuality in an attempt to reduce sexual pleasure and promiscuity.

Female genital mutilation

The World Health Organization says genital mutilation and cutting, which has no known health benefits, is a violation of human rights of girls and women, noting more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut.

The practice is most common in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, but it also happens in the United States.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in 2012 said 513,000 women and girls in the U.S. were at risk of FGM – that’s more than three times higher than an estimate based on 1990 data.

And of those in America, girls and women in Minnesota are some of the most at risk of being subject to FGM. A 2016 report by the Population Reference Bureau says 44,293 girls and women in the state are potentially at risk – the third highest of all states – including 37,417 girls and women in the Twin Cities alone.

The bureau says Minnesota has a “disproportionate” number of people at risk of FGM because of the state’s large Somali immigrant population.

For more information on FGM and efforts to end the practice globally, click here.

Next Up

Andrelton Simmons / Minnesota Twins

Twins sign Andrelton Simmons to one-year deal

The former Angels shortstop is a four-time Gold Glove winner.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.


Charges: ER doctor performed female genital mutilation on young MN girls

The FBI is asking anyone who has information about the illegal practice of FGM to contact them.

Genital mutilation case involving MN girls prompts tougher laws in Michigan

Female genital mutilation is often used to suppress female sexuality.

Charges: 2 people helped ER doctor arrange female genital mutilation procedures

The charges say two Minnesota girls were brought to Michigan to have it done.

Judge dismisses charges in female genital mutilation case involving MN girls

He ruled the federal law banning FGM was unconstitutional.

This bill would hold parents responsible if they allow female genital mutilation on their daughter

It would classify FGM as child abuse, and parents who consent to the procedure could go to prison.

Sexual assault victims don't need to pay for exams – but many still don't get one

About 1,400 people each year were treated in Minnesota hospitals for sexual violence from 2010 to 2014.

Aaron Cecil Patton

Police say there may be more victims of Target flasher

Ramsey County investigators say it has evidence of additional victims.