As in the case of Dr. Nagarwala last week, the 16-page criminal complaint issued against Dr. Attar and his wife in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Friday refers to "a particular religious and cultural community" without specifying that community.
Attar told authorities that he opens his medical clinic after hours five or six times a year, on Friday evenings or Saturdays, so that Nagarwala can see girls between the ages of 6 and 9 for "problems with their genitals", including treatment of genital rashes.
Her lawyer Shannon Smith said Nagarwala told her that the procedure was part of a religious practice that is tied to a Muslim group Dawoodi Bohra that the doctor belongs to.
"Dr. Attar is not aware of any crimes that were committed at his clinic", said Mary Chartier, an attorney for Dr. Attar. His wife's lawyer declined to comment. The Detroit News later identified the community as Dawoodi Bohra, a small Shi'ite Muslim community with origins in South Asia.
Nagarwala never billed for the procedures nor did she document them, the complaint revealed.
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According to Web MD, Attar's background is in internal medicine. It involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, often performed without anesthesia. In some cultures, this is a way of suppressing sexuality in an attempt to reduce sexual pleasure and promiscuity. The Attars have been charged with conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation and aiding and abetting. The World Health Organization considers the procedure a violation of human rights of girls and women. The others denied any knowledge of the practice, but according to wiretapped conversations between Nagarwala and Mrs. Attar, Nagarwala advised parents to deny knowing about FGM should they be asked by federal law enforcement authorities.
The second girl said she screamed in pain after the procedure, and that afterward "she could barely walk, and that she felt pain all the way down to her ankle".
A complaint against the Attars said the couple arranged and assisted in the mutilation, allowing their clinic to be used by Nagarwala.
"The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law", Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in the DOJ statement. She faces up to life in prison.
Reuters reported that a 2014 study estimated that as many as 200,000 women and girls in England and Wales have either undergone FGM, or have been at risk of being victimized.
At a December summit on FGM in Washington, "a woman stood up and said, 'I'm white, I'm Christian, I'm from the Midwest, and this happened to me, ' " Quast said.