The Legal Examiner Affiliate Network The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner search feed instagram google-plus avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close
Skip to main content
| Grewal Law, PLLC

The facts are not in dispute, but religious beliefs seem to be.  A Michigan doctor, Jumana Nagarwala, has been charged with the crime of female genital mutilation.  In some Middle Eastern and African countries, genital mutilation is considered a rite of passage, to make girls “clean” and “pure,” and ready for marriage.  The doctor’s lawyer, Shannon Smith, has told the media her client “is being persecuted for her religious beliefs.”  She has even taken to social media outlets like Facebook to ask people the following:

Shannon Smith Facebook


Excellent questions and a great way to educate people and herself to competently represent her client.

Henry Ford Hospital immediately fired Dr. Nagarwala based on the mere charges of performing the female circumcision.  There has been no finding of the doctor being “guilty” of the charges.

Here in East Lansing, at Michigan State University, doctors, coaches, and trainers are being accused of failing on multiple occasions as “mandatory reporters” to report up the institutional chain of command and to an outside authority, like Child Protective Services. According to Michigan law, mandatory reporters are a specific class of people, including doctors, teachers, social workers, and others, who must report even a suggestion of sexual assault of a child under the age of 18.  Yet no action has been taken by MSU.

Now lawmakers are rushing to introduce legislation to make the arguable religious based procedure a felony crime, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.  The Federal government is considering making failure to report suspected child abuse a felony.  This makes me reflect on one of the most universally observed commandments in Judaism, the Brit Milah (literally the Covenant of Circumcision) and commonly referred to as a “bris.”  G-d commanded the Jewish people (Leviticus 12:2) “On the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” It is my belief that the act of circumcision of a young Jewish male, marking the completion of the body, is a human act.  This teaches us that our spiritual, emotional, moral, and ethical perfection requires human efforts.  G-d cannot do it for us.

You be the judge.


  1. Gravatar for Mark

    Genesis 17 also says to circumcise male slaves, but no-one defends slavery any more.

    Just as most Jewish people consider it their religious right to cut boys, some Muslims consider it their religious right or duty to cut girls. It's hard to end one practice without ending the other.

    Not all Jewish people believe in infant circumcision. Brit Shalom is an alternative naming ceremony to celebrate the birth of baby boys (and girls) to Jewish families. These are just some of the sites run by Jewish people opposed to infant circumcision:

    See also (footage of a bris with commentary from the subject) (Jewish man unhappy about being circumcised)

    Many of the earliest intactivists, including George Wald, Suzanne Arms, Edward Wallerstein and Paul Fleiss, were Jewish.

    "It is with the greatest hesitation, since I have no right and know so little, that I should like to suggest to my fellow Jews that perhaps the time has come to redeem the foreskin itself, rather than sacrifice it. Surely some substitute might be found for this rite, perhaps even involving a token drawing of blood from an older child, that would be preferable to this assault upon and mutilation of a newborn infant."

    "For it is a barbarous thing to meet a newly born infant with the knife, with a deliberate mutilation. And the part that is removed is not negligible; it has clear and valuable functions to perform. Not circumcising a boy will not only spare him a brutal violence as he enters life; it will promise him a richer existence. And that not only because the possession of a foreskin will increase his genital sensitivity and make possible more satisfactory and pleasurable sexual activity, but also because of the consideration with which this essay began: that the foreskin is the female element in the male." George Wald (1906-1997), Jewish American scientist and 1962 Nobel Laureate (physiology/medicine)

  2. Gravatar for Hawthorn Mineart
    Hawthorn Mineart

    "Circumcising" men is removing foreskin. This thing that this doctor did is amputation of the clitoris. It's removing an entire bodily organ, despite her lies about "scraping." It's far different than male circumcision, and it's intended to keep young women from ever having an orgasm. It's barbaric, and misogynist and had nothing whatsoever to do with religion. It's about hating and controlling women.

  3. Gravatar for Hawthorn Mineart
    Hawthorn Mineart

    The male equivalent to clitoral amputation of women would be removing the entire penis at the stem. They are literally the same organ, made of the same material with a different set of chemical directions handed to them in the womb.

  4. Gravatar for Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.
    Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.

    Cutting male and female genitals are similar. 1) They are unnecessary, extremely painful, and traumatic. 2) They can have adverse sexual and psychological effects. 3) They are generally done by force on children. 4) They are generally supported by local medical doctors. 5) Pertinent biological facts are not generally known where procedures are practiced.* 6) They are defended with reasons such as tradition, religion, aesthetics, cleanliness, and health. These reasons are used to mask underlying reasons. 7) The rationale has currently or historically been connected to controlling sexual pleasure. 8) They are often believed to have no effect on normal sexual functioning. 9) They are generally accepted and supported by those who have been subjected to them. 10) Those who are cut have a compulsion to repeat their trauma on their children, a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. 11) The choice may be motivated by underlying psychosexual reasons. 12) Critical public discussion is generally taboo where the procedures are practiced. 13) They can result in serious complications that can lead to death. 14) The adverse effects are hidden by repression and denial. 15) Dozens of potentially harmful physiological, emotional, behavioral, sexual, and social effects on individuals and societies have never been studied. 16) On a qualitative level, cutting the genitals of male and female children are the same. The harm starts with the first cut, any cut. 17) The decision is generally controlled by men though women may be supportive. 18) They violate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 19) They often exist together.** 20) To stop one, we must stop both. Then we may better develop toward our individual and social potential. May courage overcome conformity.

    *For example, most US doctors do not know the functions of the foreskin.

    **For example, a form of American female genital cutting is episiotomy, an obstetrical ritual that may precede hospital childbirth. It is unnecessary like other unnecessary and harmful surgeries on women.

  5. Gravatar for Ron Low
    Ron Low

    Forced or coerced non-therapeutic genital cutting is always unethical, whether the victim is male, female, or intersex.

    Religion is never an excuse to harm another person. The Supreme Court has held thus.

  6. Gravatar for Ron Low
    Ron Low

    The abuse done to the girls in the present Michigan case is MUCH LESS SEVERE than any male circumcision, according to the AAP.

    Informed adults can decide for themselves about cosmetic genital surgery.

  7. Gravatar for Anthony Losquadro
    Anthony Losquadro

    Some anti-FGM groups attempt to portray this issue as an abuse directed solely at females. They show further insensitivity by claiming FGM is a paternalistic practice. FGM groups are loath to associate the issue with male genital cutting as it will upset their narrative, but the issues are identical.

    FGM is often perpetuated by mothers, grandmothers, or the victim herself.

    No medical association in the world recommends MGM or FGM, and many discourage or condemn all genital cutting.

    FGM & MGM are done to minors, both can result in serious complications.

    FGM & MGM seem to have no effect on childbirth rates. FGM is practiced by Muslims, and this group has high birthrates.

    Both are done because proponents claims it looks better or is more hygienic.

    Both claim it is done to appeal to future partners.

    Proponents of both invoke claims of parental choice or religious freedom.

    Only when all activists opposed to FGM embrace the idea that all forms of forced genital cutting on children are wrong will they come closer to their goal of eliminating these horrible barbaric practices.

  8. Gravatar for jhon murdock
    jhon murdock

    The Bible is crystal clear on circumcision:

    "Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you." – Gal 5:2

    "And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples." – Gal 6:13

    "For there are many who rebel against right teaching; they engage in useless talk and deceive people. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced. By their wrong teaching, they have already turned whole families away from the truth. Such teachers only want your money" – Titus 1:10-11

    "Watch out for those wicked men – dangerous dogs, I call them – who say you must be circumcised. Beware of the evil doers. Beware of the mutilation. For it isn’t the cutting of our bodies that makes us children of God; it is worshiping him with our spirits." – Phil 3:2-3

    "And I testify again to every male who receives circumcision, that he is in debt to keep the whole Law. You who do so have been severed from have fallen from grace." - Gal 5:3

    "As God has called each man, in this manner let him walk. And thus I command in all the churches. Was any man called in the circumcision [Old Covenant]? Let him not try to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in the uncircumcision [New Covenant in Christ]? Let him not be circumcised! Circumcision is nothing. And uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called." - 1 Cor. 7:17

    "And some men came and were teaching the brethren, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.' But Paul and Barnabas together had great dissension and disputing with these men. . . Then Peter stood up and said to them '...Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" - Acts 15:1-2, 7, 10

    "But if I still proclaim circumcision. . . then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished." - Gal 5:11

    "I wish that those who are pushing you to do so would mutilate themselves!" - Gal 5:12

  9. Gravatar for Juan

    Why is it ok to mutilate a baby boy?

    It is the ultimate violation of human rights.

  10. Gravatar for Edward von Roy
    Edward von Roy

    “Be a hero, don’t circumcise your daughter or son.”

    My real concern is that the US and Europe will soon legalize some “mild” forms of the Classification of female genital mutilation (FGM).

    Every form of FGM should be banned everywhere.

    „Female genital mutilation comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons (WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, 1997).“

    Classification of female genital mutilation

    There’s no such thing as ‚mild‘ FGM.

    Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) =

    zero tolerance even to the less invasive forms of FGM

    Any ritual circumcision or other ritual injury of the genital of a girl or a boy below the age of eighteen years should be banned on a global level.

Comments are closed.