(WJBK) - It's a practice you might think only happens in developing countries but not here. Now we're learning a local doctor may have been performing female genital mutilation.
Her colleagues were stunned to find out the charges the Northville woman is facing. Sadly some people who believe in the barbaric cultural practice think they are helping the children and we're told it's usually women who assist in the oppression of these girls.
A family friend fended off questions from Dr. Jumana Nagarwala's Northville home on Thursday. She did not want to talk about the doctor and told our crews that we were trespassing.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is in federal custody after the Henry Ford emergency room doctor has been charged with performing female genital mutilation on young girls out of a medical clinic in Livonia.
"Really shocking (and) disgusting. Someone entrusted with health care, someone entrusted with the welfare preyed on the most vulnerable of society and that is young girls," said Fatina Abdrabboh.
Abdrabboh, the director of the American Muslim and Minority Advocacy League says Nagarwala may be of Islamic faith, but she claims this degrading and discriminatory procedure does not have roots in the Muslim religion. It's a cultural tradition that is widely used in some countries in the Middle East and Africa, but the most prevalent in Somalia, as a way to preserve chastity.
"We are happy to see the federal prosecution of this case the way would with any abuse or mistreatment of children," Abdrabboh said.
According to the federal complaint, Nagarwala's phone revealed calls to a family in Minnesota - which has a large Somalian population that practices FGM.
Investigators interviewed two 7-year-old girls who traveled here with their mothers, who told them it was for a "special girl's trip."
They were taken to the Livonia medical office where they described the horrific procedure, where Nagarwala is accused of removing their external female organs leaving them in severe pain.
Nagarwala is accused of practicing FGM on several girls in Michigan. The doctor told investigators she knows FGM is illegal and denied ever performing the procedure.
The family friend told FOX that the family will have something to say "when the time is right".
Colleagues say they are in shock over what has been alleged saying they have known her to be kind and considerate and a very good doctor.
Nargarwala has four children of her own.