Category Archives: Islam

MUTILATING LITTLE GIRLS IN MICHIGAN’S LITTLE PALESTINE

A female genital mutilation horror in the Midwest.

by Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Livonia, Michigan is known as Little Palestine. The Detroit suburb is famous for its anti-Israel meetings. You could go hear Mustafa Barghouthi, Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah without taking a long drive.

It’s also known for its shady doctors.

Dr. Murtaza Hussain was busted for letting unlicensed employees diagnose patients and write prescriptions. Dr. Waseem Alam and Dr. Hatem Ataya pleaded guilty in the nation’s largest Medicare fraud case totaling $712 million in false billings centering on Shahid Tahir, Muhammad Tariq and Manavar Javed’s Livonia medical firms. But what was going on at one Livonia clinic was far worse than the theft of millions. Anyone passing by at the right time could hear the screams of little girls.

We think of horrors like female genital mutilation as a terrible thing that happens over “there.” But as the implacable tide of Muslim immigration swept across Europe, “there” became the United Kingdom.

England recorded 5,700 cases of FGM in less than a year. France has jailed 100 people for FGM. An estimated 50,000 women in Germany have undergone FGM with a 30 percent boost due to the rise of Islamic migration in the last several years. In Sweden, it’s 38,000. And now, as American towns and cities are reshaped by Muslim migration, “there” is now right here. The terrible practice is in America.

Sweden was the first Western country to outlaw FGM. But despite the prevalence of FGM in Sweden, there have only been a handful of convictions. The United States banned FGM in 1997. A Federal report in 2012 warned that 513,000 women and girls in the United States were at risk for FGM.

Now after twenty years of the law’s existence, a Muslim doctor has become the first to be charged.

Operating out of a Livonia clinic, Jumana Fakhruddin Nagarwala abused unknown numbers of little girls. The end came when law enforcement traced calls to her from a Minnesota number.  Then they followed the trail to a hotel in Farmington Hills; a Michigan city at the center of an Islamic Center controversy.

It was Friday evening; the holy day of the Islamic week when Muslims are told to “leave off business” and “hasten to the remembrance of Allah.” That is what the two women leading two little girls to be mutilated thought that they were doing. Muslims believe that on Friday, angels stand outside the doors of mosques to record who shows up for prayer. But it was the hotel surveillance cameras that watched and recorded as the two little girls arrived, unaware of the horror that was about to happen to them.

The 7-year-old girl had been told that she was going to Detroit for a “special” girls’ trip. Instead her special trip turned into a nightmare. After the Muslim doctor allegedly mutilated her, she warned the child not to talk about what was done to her.

Then it was back to Minnesota.

The other little girl drew a picture of the room. And she drew an X on the examining room table to show where her blood had spilled. With pain radiating all the way down her body, the Muslim doctor who had abused her told her that she was fine.

And her parents told her not to tell.

It was early February. The temperature on that terrible day in Livonia fell as low as 12 degrees. By the next day, she was back in Minnesota, likely the “Little Mogadishu” in Minneapolis, where temperatures had cratered to 9 degrees.  The abused little girl could hardly walk. And in her pain and anguish, she left behind one of her gloves. The glove had her name on it. When the house of horrors in Livonia was finally raided, that solitary child’s glove was still there like a gruesome trophy.

The investigation turned back home to Michigan. Authorities found plenty of girls who had been abused by Jumana. And now she’s under arrest.

But the culture of silence still continues.

The criminal complaint is as circuitous as the entire culture of FGM. It relies heavily on euphemisms. The perpetrators and the girls at risk are referred to only as “members of a particular religious and cultural community”. What is this community? It must thereafter remain nameless.

Jumana is a “member of the community”. The family that delivered their little girls to Jumana is “part of the community in Minnesota”. What community? As the little girls from that nameless community in Minnesota were told, don’t talk about it. Don’t mention the community.

The full name of the perpetrator, Jumana Fakhruddin Nagarwala, is rarely used. Fakhruddin is far less ambiguous than the rest of her name. It comes from the Arabic and means “Pride in religion.”

That nameless religion practiced by the nameless community.

It isn’t the Swedes or Norwegians of Minnesota who mutilate their daughters. In Minnesota, it’s largely a Somali problem. Back home in Somalia, 98% of little girls have been mutilated. And the Somali Muslims who have migrated here in great numbers do their best to keep up the gruesome practice in America. The Hennepin County Medical Center, a hospital located in a place named after a Franciscan priest, has a special report on dealing with FGM that emphasizes cultural sensitivity.

It defines the “big hurdle” as, “Muslim (Somali) Culture: Value Acquiescence to Allah as supreme authority” and “American Culture: Value the supremacy of the individual”.

That’s certainly one way of defining it.

Just as Sweden was the first European country to ban FGM to little avail, Minnesota became the first state to ban FGM, also to little avail. As the Somali Muslims keep pouring in, 44,293 women and girls in the state face the threat of being mutilated. Some of the Somali settlers send their daughters back home to be abused. Others take a shorter trip to Michigan.

Which “community” is it that encompasses an Indian Muslim like Jumana and the likely Somali victims while operating in Little Palestine? It isn’t an ethnic community or even a religious one. It’s Islam.

But the official word is that FGM is a practice that occurs in “certain Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities”. It is certainly unique to list a practice in reverse order of probability.

Stories on FGM occasionally quote some local cleric insisting that the practice has no foundation in Islam. That would come as news to the Hadith which quotes Mohammed as saying, “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.”

This is the honor of Islam for which women are murdered and mutilated. And to preserve the honor of Islam, we are told to remain silent about it. It’s not only the abusers and the abused girls who maintain the culture of silence. It’s the authorities and the media that carefully step around the obvious.  Just as with Islamic terrorism, a refusal to name the problem makes it impossible to solve.

Jumana Fakhruddin Nagarwala made her court appearance wearing “a light-colored, matching dress and khimar, or veil that covered her head, neck and shoulders.”

The term is meaningless to the average American. As it’s meant to be.

The Khimar is a heavier Muslim head covering. The Koranic version that mentions it also casually references castrated male slaves. The drives behind the Khimar and FGM are not far apart. Both stigmatize women and enforce Islamic traditions of repression with brutal violence.

Islam’s honor originates from the repression of the “Other”. That includes non-Muslims and Muslim women. The girls brutalized on Jumana’s exam table were abused as part of an ancient tradition. Jumana took pride in her abuses because, as her name signifies, she takes pride in her religion.

If we truly want to end such abuses, we must take as much pride in our principles and values as monsters like Jumana do in her theirs.

 

#Iran: He’s Back! Ahmadinejad to run for president in May

AMIR VAHDAT and JON GAMBRELL
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday stunned the country by unexpectedly filing to run in the May presidential election, contradicting a recommendation from the supreme leader to stay out of the race.

Ahmadinejad’s decision could upend an election many believed would be won by moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who negotiated the nuclear deal with world powers. Though Rouhani has yet to formally register, many viewed him as a shoe-in following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recommendation in September for Ahmadinejad to stand down and conservatives’ inability to coalesce around a single candidate.

Ahmadinejad’s firebrand style could prove appealing for hard-liners seeking a tough-talking candidate who can stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump. His candidacy also could expose the fissures inside Iranian politics that linger since his contested 2009 re-election, which brought massive unrest.

Associated Press journalists watched as stunned election officials processed Ahmadinejad’s paperwork on Wednesday. Asked about Ahmadinejad’s decision, one Tehran-based analyst offered a blunt assessment.

“It was an organized mutiny against Iran’s ruling system,” said Soroush Farhadian, who backs reformists.

Ahmadinejad previously served two four-year terms from 2005 to 2013. Under Iranian law, he became eligible to run again after four years out of office, but he remains a polarizing figure, even among fellow hard-liners.

Two of his former vice presidents have been jailed for corruption since he left office. Iran’s economy suffered under heavy international sanctions during his administration because of Western suspicions that Tehran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009 sparked massive protests and a sweeping crackdown in which thousands of people were detained and dozens were killed.

Internationally, Ahmadinejad is more known for repeatedly questioning the scale of the Holocaust, predicting Israel’s demise and expanding Iran’s contested nuclear program.

The memory of the 2009 unrest likely sparked Khamenei’s comments in September. At that time, he recommended an unnamed candidate not seek office as it would bring about a “polarized situation” that would be “harmful for the county.”

Ahmadinejad described comments by the supreme leader suggesting he not run as “just advice” in a news conference shortly after submitting his registration.

“His advice does not prevent me from running,” he said. “There is extensive pressure on me from dear people of different walks of life as their small servant to come to the election.”

There was no immediate reaction from the supreme leader’s office.

Ahmadinejad said his decision to run was intended to help former Vice President Hamid Baghaei, a close confidant. Baghaei, who was imprisoned for seven months after he left office, registered alongside Ahmadinejad on Wednesday. So did Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, another of the former president’s close allies.

More than 120 prospective candidates submitted their names as candidates on the first day of registration Tuesday, including six women and seven clerics. Registration remains open until Saturday.

Under Iran’s electoral system, all applicants must be vetted by the Guardian Council, a clerical body that will announce a final list of candidates by April 27. The council normally does not approve dissidents or women for the formal candidate list.

The May 19 election is seen by many in Iran as a referendum on the 2015 nuclear agreement and other efforts to improve the country’s sanctions-hobbled economy. Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Since the deal, Iran has signed multi-billion-dollar contracts with airplane manufacturers Boeing Co. and Airbus. The benefits have yet to trickle down to the average Iranian, however, fueling some discontent.

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Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Adam Schreck in Dubai contributed to this report.

Bahrain says Trump better understands Iran and the region

Bahrain’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that US President Donald Trump understood the region and the threats posed by their common adversary Iran better than Barack Obama.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters at his office in the capital Manama, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said the staunch US Gulf ally was confident the new administration would soon clarify its stances on foreign policy.

The Sunni-ruled kingdom accuses Iran, a Shia theocracy across the Gulf, of radicalizing and arming some members of its Shia Muslim majority population, and Gulf monarchies say Obama did not do enough to tackle perceived meddling by Iran in Bahrain and in wars raging throughout the region.

Tehran denies any meddling in the island kingdom.

Trump has pledged to deal forcefully with the Islamic Republic and criticized a landmark international deal to curb its nuclear program inked under Obama in 2015 as a concession to a state the United States considers a sponsor of terrorism.

“We see … a much clearer understanding from the White House of the threats we are facing here in the region and especially the ones that are coming from the Islamic Republic,” Sheikh Khaled said.

“The last few years, there was a policy that we think it was better for them to correct, and we advised them it should be corrected.”

Sheikh Khaled last month met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has spoken by telephone with senior US officials, including Trump after his election in November.

Sitting astride one of the world’s key oil shipping lanes, Bahrain is a key ally of Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Neither country were among the ban Trump is seeking to impose on travelers from Iran and five other Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East and Africa.

Some critics of the Trump administration fear it is prioritizing the fight against militancy and Iran over promoting human rights among American allies, but the foreign minister said the US shift acknowledged the region’s harsh realities.

“CLARITY IS COMING”

Sheikh Khaled said his country welcomed a decision by the White House to pursue a $5 billion sale to Bahrain of 19 Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft and related equipment which was held up last year by concerns about human rights.

He said Trump’s style may have distracted some from the merits of his views, but all administrations had growing pains.

“They’ll get in order … every new administration will always start in a way that will seem unclear, but clarity is coming,” he said, speaking in his green and wood-panelled office adorned with pictures of past and present Bahraini monarchs.

“Maybe when you see the difference in the personality of the president, maybe that’s kind of giving an overwhelming picture of the situation. Things are working in America.”

Since 2011 Arab Spring protests led by Bahrain’s Shi’ites were crushed with the help from some Gulf Arab states, Bahrain says Iran has stepped up a campaign to undermine security there and bring about the downfall of the ruling al-Khalifa family, of which Sheikh Khaled is a member.

“It’s a whole project we are facing and it will not stop until this regime changes its course from the way it is now – hegemonic, theocratic, theo-fascist – to a regime that would answer the aspirations of its own people.”

“Until that moment we will have to defend ourselves.”

Human rights organizations have criticized an escalating government crackdown since the main Shi’ite opposition bloc was shuttered last year, several prominent activist were arrested and the top Shi’ite spiritual leader had his citizenship revoked on corruption charges.

Bahrain says it has acted to reform its security services and that it genuinely seeks dialogue with the opposition in a way that is rare in the mostly closed and authoritarian region.

“We feel like we are being pressured and punished for no reason, just for sticking our neck out and addressing issues that every country has,” Sheikh Khaled said.