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Second Michigan Doctor, His Wife Charged in Female Genital Mutilation Procedures

Authorities have charged a second doctor, along with his wife, with assisting a physician who was arrested in Michigan last week for performing female genital mutilation procedures on several young girls.

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, were arrested on charges of “conspiring to perform female genital mutilations on minor girls out of Fakhruddin Attar’s medical clinic," authorities said Friday.

The couple allegedly “arranged and assisted” the procedures performed by Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who was the first individual to be charged with violating federal law that bans the practice where part or all of the genitalia is removed.

Image:
FBI agents leave the office of Dr. Fakhruddin Attar at the Burhani Clinic in Livonia, Michigan on April 21. Clarence Tabb Jr. / The Detroit News via AP

Attar, who owned the Burhani Medical Center in Livonia, Michigan, lent his medical office to Nagarwala to perform the procedure on girls, aged 6 to 9, while Farida Attar held their hands “to comfort them,” the complaint alleges.

Federal officials launched an investigation after being tipped off that Nagarwala performed the procedure on two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota who were brought by their families to Michigan for the procedure, according to the complaint.

Phone records and surveillance tapes linked the families of the girls to Nagarwala as well as both Fakhruddin and Farida Attar.

The Minnesota girls told authorities they came to Detroit on a “special girl’s trip” to see a doctor for a procedure that would “get the germs out,” the complaint said.

A medical examination on the girls showed abnormal genitalia, and one of the girls said "her parents told her that the procedure is a secret and she is not supposed to talk about it," the complaint alleges.

Related: Michigan Doctor Charged With Performing Female Genital Mutilations

Further investigation found other children in Michigan underwent the illegal procedure at Attar’s office from 2005 to 2017, according to the complaint. Some of the parents of those children have admitted to having the procedure done at the Michigan office.

During a phone call intercepted by authorities, Farida Attar allegedly told one of the parents who came to the office for the procedure to “completely deny the allegation, and to say that nothing has happened,” if asked by investigators, according to the complaint.

Fakhruddin Attar did admit to authorities that Nagarwala used his clinic after hours “five or six times a year” to treat children for genital problems, “including genital rashes,” the complaint stated.

He also admitted that Nagarwala never “charged patients” when she saw them at his office.

During a hearing on Monday, Nagarwala’s lawyer told a judge that she did not cut but actually “removed the membrane from the girls vaginal parts and gave it the girls' parents, who would then bury it following a custom practiced by a small sect of Indian Muslims known as the Dawoodi Bohra,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

Related: Hospital Shut Down After Egyptian Girl Dies During Circumcision

Federal investigators have said the families of the Minnesota girls also belong to the sect.

"The allegations against the defendant in this investigation are made even more deplorable, given the defendant's position as a trusted medical professional in the community," said Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis in a statement last week.

The couple is scheduled to appear in front of a federal judge on Friday.