(WJBK) - A Livonia doctor accused of performing female genital mutilation has been fired from her job with the Henry Ford Health System, a hospital spokesperson tells FOX 2.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is one of three people indicted this week in an alleged scheme to perform the procedure on two girls from Minnesota. Nargawala was arrested at Detroit Metro Airport on April 12. She worked as an emergency room doctor at Henry Ford Hospital.
About a week later, a second doctor and his wife were also arrested in connection with the alleged scheme. Authorities say Dr. Attar owned Burhani Medical Clinic in Livonia, which is where Nargawala is accused of performing FGM. Authorities say Dr. Attar's wife is employed at Burhani Medical Clinic as an office manager. Authorities believe the husband and wife arranged and assisted in the FGM procedures performed by Nagarwala.
Their indictment is the first of its kind it United States history.
Dr. Attar's attorney maintains her client had no idea what was going on at his clinic after business hours, and was certainly "never in the examination room," as federal authorities claim.
"The feds say a lot of things and they're going to have to make their case in court," Dr. Attar's attorney, Mary Chartier, said outside of court. "I believe they are being prosecuted because of their religious beliefs and I do not make that allegation lightly."
Members of a particular religious and cultural community are known to practice FGM on young girls as part of their beliefs and cultural practice to suppress sexuality. Nagarwala's defense team has also denied the accusations against her, calling it 'religious removal.'
The defense argued, claiming no female genital mutilation took place, instead, a religious removal of a mucus membrane from the genitals which was wrapped up and given to the parents to bury -- a practice they say is performed by a small sect of Indian-based Islam called Dawoodi Bohra.
All three of the accused are members of the Dawoodi Bohra community. It's a Muslim group with origins out of western India that in recent years has also been linked to another mutilation case in Australia.
Dr. Attar and his wife are due in court on May 3. Nagarwala is due in federal court Thursday afternoon. FOX 2 will be there and will bring you the latest developments tonight on FOX 2 News beginning at 5 p.m.