Metro Detroit doctor, wife charged in FGM case to be held without bond

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, Farida Attar charged in female genital mutilation case

DETROIT – A Livonia doctor and his wife charged in connection with a female genital mutilation case will stay in jail after a federal judge denied them bond Wednesday in court.

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar, are accused of helping Dr. Jumana Nagarwala perform FGM procedures on young girls. They're charged with female genital mutilation and conspiracy.

The defense made multiple attempts to try to make it appear the Attars had nothing to do with the so-called "cuttings." The Attars claimed it was Nagarwala who did the medical procedures and performed the "closely held and time-honored religious practice."

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Fakhruddin Attar walked into court wearing his orange Sanilac County Jail jump suit with his Kufi, while his wife wore an orange-and-white striped Livingston County Jail jump suit and a head scarf.

The magistrate entered not-guilty pleas for both of them before a detention hearing began.

Federal officials made their case by acknowledging they set up a full-scale surveillance on the doctors and the Burhani Medical Clinic in Livonia after receiving a tip about FGM. They even installed a live camera on a telephone pole outside the clinic.

Officials said for the past 12 years, Fakhruddin Attar allowed his clinics to host FGM procedures done by Nagarwala and assisted by his wife. They said they phoned and texted each other, telling each other to deny any FGM and plotting strategy.

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Federal officials said one of the children picked Farida Attar and Nagarwala out of a picture lineup. One of the girls admitted she screamed in pain during the procedure and was told to be quiet about her so-called "girls' weekend."

The defense showed the surveillance pictures are too grainy to truly show who is in the pictures. They argued Fakhruddin Attar wasn't at the clinic the night two 7-year-old Minnesota girls were there and that he never participated in any of the procedures.

They said he believed the procedures were not FGM because the religious standards changed in 2005. The defense said what was going on in the clinic was really a religious ceremony that only involved women.

The hearing lasted longer than two hours, with the defense citing what it believes is religious discrimination and a federal government overreach.

The judge told the defense to take that up with the trial judge and ordered the Attars to be held without bond, just as Nagarwala was last week.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.