Members of the Muslim sect authorities have linked to local cases of female genital mutilation say the Dawoodi Bohra do not support breaking the law.
A statement released by an organization that describes itself as representing the Detroit Dawoodi Bohra community says "any violation of U.S. law is counter to instructions to our community members" and "does not reflect the everyday lives of the Dawoodi Bohras in America."
According to the statement, a congregation in Detroit was last reminded to follow U.S. laws in May of 2016, and a Minneapolis congregation was reminded in March of 2016. The two young girls at the center of what's said to be the first federal FGM prosecution in the U.S. came to a Livonia clinic from Minnesota to have the procedure done.
There are an estimated 1.2 million Dawoodi Bohra around the world, but only 12,000 here in the U.S., according to the statement from the group representing the sect. The local emergency room doctor alleged to have conducted the FGM on two girls has said the procedure she carried out is a religious custom of the group, of which she is a member.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala has said denied through her lawyer that she performed any genital cutting, but rather that the procedure involved the removal of membrane from the two girls' genitals. The gauze was then given to the children's parents for ritual burial.
On Friday, the owner of the clinic where authorities say she performed the procedure was arrested along with his wife. The pair, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and Farida Attar, allegedly helped arrange and carry out the procedures at the Burhani Medical Clinic on Farmington Road in Livonia. A criminal complaint says the Attar's and Nagarwala all belong to the same Farmington Hills mosque where metro Detroit's Dawoodi Bohra community is based.