This is a crucial case. If the FGM doctors really claim religious freedom to justify their savagery, and win, the precedent will have been set that one can break any existing laws if one’s religion demands it. The doors will be opened for jihad activity, wife-beating, and every other criminal action justified by Islam. It is a massive blot on Dershowitz’s career that he would get involved in this and take this stance.
“Cutting Young Girls Isn’t Religious Freedom,” by Kristina Arriaga, Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2017 (thanks to Mark):
Earlier this year, a 7-year-old girl from Minnesota entered an examination room at a clinic just outside of Detroit. Thinking this was a regular visit, she allowed the doctor to remove her pants and underwear and place her on the examination table. Suddenly, while two women in the clinic held her hands, the physician spread her legs and cut her clitoris. Two months later she told investigators the pain ran down to her ankles and she could barely walk.
In April Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who allegedly performed the procedure, was charged with conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation. Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, the owner of the since-closed clinic, was also charged. Investigators suspect Ms. Nagarwala may be involved in 100 other cases, and the trial starts in October. This marks the first time a female genital mutilation case is going to federal court. The lawyers for the Michigan physician will argue the girl “underwent a benign religious procedure.” This is a dangerous hypocrisy with far-reaching consequences.
Female genital mutilation has been illegal in the U.S. since 1996. Yet a 2012 study in the journal Public Health Reports estimates that more than 500,000 girls in the U.S. have undergone the procedure or are at risk. These girls live all over the country, with larger concentrations in California, New York and Minnesota. Most go through this process in secret, and only 25 states have laws that criminalize the procedure. In Maine, the American Civil Liberties Union has opposed a bill to do so on the ground that “the risk of mutilation isn’t worth expanding Maine’s criminal code.”…
The physician’s lawyers announced they will craft a religious-freedom defense. And they may be astute enough to get away with it. The all-star team includes constitutional law scholar and O.J. Simpson lawyer Alan Dershowitz, along with Mayer Morganroth, who represented assisted-suicide champion Dr. Jack Kevorkian for more than 15 years. They are funded by an international Muslim organization called Dawat-e-Hadiyah….
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