A Major Arrest for Practicing Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the US

If you thought for one moment that the practice of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) in the United States was only a figment of your imagination, you need to reconsider that thought.  There are so many people here in the U.S. who are in denial or they are only being tightlipped about it happening in their communities that they do not want to admit the facts.

The turn of events in Michigan last Wednesday should open the eyes and ears of everyone in the U.S. that the campaign against FGM/C in this country is not an imagination, but a reality.  Federal agents on Wednesday arrested a Michigan doctor for allegedly practicing FGM/C on little girls.  An employee of the Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan, 44-year old Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was charged with violation of 18 U.S.C. 116 (female genital mutilation); 18 U.S.C. 2423 (transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and conspiracy; 18 U.S.C. 1001 (making a false statement to a federal agent.  According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Dr. Nagarwala allegedly performed female genital mutilation on minor girls at a medical office in Livonia, Michigan, even though she does not work at that medical office.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala – FGM

Originally from India, Dr. Nagarwala is said to be a member of a religious and cultural community that practices FGM/C on girls and women, which curbs their sexuality and causes sexual intercourse to be excruciatingly painful.  In the U.S., FGM/C is considered child abuse, and it should be treated as any other form of child abuse.  One activist told Global Woman Newsletter, “If I place a child on a table and touched his or her genitals inappropriately, I would be arrested for child molestation.  Therefore anyone who performs FGM on a girl child must be arrested and treated in like manner.”

Female genital mutilation and cutting is the intentional removal of either all or part of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.  It is a federal crime in the United States for anyone who knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not yet attained the age of 18 years.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit states that they had both telephone and video recording under surveillance.  Those surveillance records revealed that there were visits to Dr. Nagarwala in February by two Minnesota girls and their parents.  According to the report, the familiar deception was used to encourage the girls to make the trip.  The girls were told that they were going on a special trip only for girls.  They were also sworn to secrecy once the girls arrived at the clinic.  It is not unusual for parents to use various deceptive methods to get their daughters excited and interested in going with them.  Swearing the girls to secrecy is an old cultural practice by parents and excisors.  The girls were given the impression that they were visiting the doctor due to abdominal pain.  However, instead of treating the girls for stomach ache, the doctor cut off their genitals.  According to the report, other children who were allegedly cut and mutilated by Dr. Nagarwala in the past have been identified by the FBI.  Her crimes are said to have been practiced since as early as 2005.

While Minnesota has a state law against the practice of FGM/C, Michigan does not.  However parents and excisors must be mindful that there is a federal law in place, which will be enforced; regardless of whether or not the state in which they practice it is without state laws.  Communities tend to place pressure on reluctant parents to have their daughters cut.  Parents should remember that they could risk being stripped of their immigration status if they violate the law against FGM/C in the U.S.

The Detroit Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has set up a hotline for anyone who has information about the illegal practice of FGM/C; whether it involves the Nagarwala case or another case, please contact them at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5984). You may also send information online to https://tips.fbi.gov/digitalmedia/FGM?poli.

PRB Map of US for FGM

If you have any comments or questions about this article, please contact Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation at info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org.

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation’s 2017 Calendar


  • Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) – April 18th through 21st
  • 11th Annual Dr. Julianne Malveaux Women’s History Luncheon/Awards – April 23rd
  • Support/Focus Group Meeting – Will return in May
  • Walk To End FGM registration begins – May
  • Vacances San Excision (Summer without Cutting) Camp – August
  • Walk To End FGM on October 21st
  • Giving Tuesday – November 28th

We will update this calendar as the year progresses.  Please mark your calendars, as we work toward a prosperous 2017.

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Weekly Word-Scramble

Do you enjoy playing with words?  This is a fun way to see how well you can unscramble the following words.  We will reveal the unscrambled words in next week’s edition of the newsletter.  If you enjoyed this, write and give us your feedback to info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org.

Can you unscramble the following five words?

This Week’s Scrambled Words







Last Week’s Scrambled Words                               Last Week’s Unscrambled Words

RRASIE NOLEE                                                                  SIERRA LEONE

TARYSANI KINSNAP                                                        SANITARY NAPKINS

SHIPORTENM                                                                    MENTORSHIP

SHOPWORK                                                                        WORKSHOP

LETITO CESILART                                                            TOILET ARTICLES



We give you five scrambled words each week.  We hope you enjoy playing.

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The Global Woman Center Has Support Group Sessions

Support Group next session returns in May.  We invite you to join us at 3920 Alton Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016 at 12:00pm.  Our Counselor on site is Willa Jones, and Amie Jallah is now in charge of the support group.  For one-on-one meetings, contact us for appointments at info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org or call 703-818-3787.

Important Contacts in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area to Keep Handy

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation               703-818-3787

National Child Abuse Hotline                              800-422-4453

Fairfax County Office for Women                       703-324-5730

Virginia Crime Victim Assistance                        888-887-3418

Montgomery County Abused Persons Program   240-777-4673 (24 hours)

Prince Georges County Sexual Assault                301-618-3154

Prince Georges County Child Advocacy Center  301-909-2089

Baltimore City Child Abuse Center                     410-396-6147

Frederick County Child Advocacy Center           301-600-1758

Howard County Listening Place                           410-313-2630

Washington County Child Advocacy Center       240-420-4308

District of Columbia Metropolitan Police            202-727-9099

Alexandria Victim/Witness Program                    703-746-4100

Arlington County Victim/Witness Program         703-228-7273

Loudon County Victim Witness Program             703-777-0417

Prince William County Victim/Witness               703-392-7083

Attention: The U.S. government opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. The U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, gender-based violence, and, when done to children, a form of child abuse. It is against the law to perform FGM/C in the United States on a girl under the age of 18 or to send or attempt to send her outside the United States so FGM/C can be performed. People who violate this law can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. Additionally, anyone who performs FGM/C on a woman 18 years old or older without her consent may be charged with a crime under other laws.  If someone performed FGM/C on you, you have not violated any U.S. laws and are not at fault, call 1-800-994-9662.