Livonia doctor's defense denies female genital mutilation; calls it religious removal

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As the hearing Monday revealed disturbing new details, the judge denied bond for the local doctor charged with mutilating the genitals of little girls.

Inside a federal courtroom, 44-year-old Dr. Jumana Nargarwala, a mother of four, stood before a judge handcuffed, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and a long hijab draped down her arms and shoulders, appearing emotionless as the prosecution and defense divulged gruesome details of what allegedly went on in her Livonia clinic after hours.


Prosecutors allege that as many as five or six young girls, along with their parents, had appointments with Nargarwala each year, possibly dating back to 2005.

It was there where the FBI says they tracked two 7 year olds in February, as they had sensitive tissue painfully removed by Nargarwala, believing many more families in Michigan and other states have also had the procedure performed but have managed to keep it secret.

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.

Their mosque is located in Farmington Hills.

As all that went on inside the courtroom, protesters of genital mutilation demonstrated outside.

"Hopefully this will help spread the word to other people that this is not OK, and is against the law," Julie Colon said.

Nargarwala is also charged with lying to federal officials, though she did turn over her cell phone and passwords last Monday.

She was arrested at Metro Airport while trying to board a plane to Kenya, where two of her children attend boarding school.

The judge, believing Nargarwala is possibly both a flight risk and a danger to the community, ordered her detained without bond until further notice.