The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that “more than 500,000 women and girls in the United States are at risk of or have been subjected to FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting).”
The CDC says that some of these half million women and girls are cut in the United States. Others are sent abroad for mutilation.
Today is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other U.S. agencies are calling on the “global community” for an end to this abuse.
In the United States, FGM/C is a serious crime and officials have prosecuted individuals who performed the procedure.
FGM/C is also a form of child abuse.
Those who engage in this criminal procedure can be convicted and serve prison time. There are also immigration consequences.
Last April, three people in Michigan were charged in connection with the crime. Breitbart News reported that Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife Farida Attar was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Michigan. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was arrested the week before. The arrests represented the first prosecution of FGM/C in the U.S.
The list of Attar’s victims began after two seven-year-old Minnesota girls were brought across state lines to have the mutilating procedure done at Attar’s Burhani Medical Clinic.
As reported by Breitbart News, the:
practice [is] common primarily in Muslim countries, particularly those in Africa. For example, UNICEF estimates that 98% of Somali girls and 87% of Egyptians have endured the procedure.
Last July, a female genital mutilation probe widened to Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York and more arrests and indictments were expected. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward, a prosecutor in the Attar case, told the Detroit News in June that she estimated that there were at least 100 victims of the Muslim mutilation ring over the last 12 years. Breitbart News and the Detroit News reported that the number was underestimated. At least one other person was investigated in New York City for involvement in the conspiracy.
Breitbart News reported that the CDC estimated in 2016 that the number of women and girls in the U.S. who are “at risk of or may have been subjected” to FMG/C was up three-times the amount over the past decades.
Last year, the state of Texas took aim at FGM by passing legislation that provides for the prosecution of individuals who transport girls within or out of the state to undergo the procedure, as reported by Breitbart Texas at the time. The state already has a ban on the procedure.
The issue of FGM/C has been a sensitive and politically-loaded one. Last year, Breitbart News reported that The New York Times used the term in May – an apparent reversal from an editor’s position the week before that the paper would not use the “culturally loaded” term.