This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, April 14, 2017

Reports of Female Genital Mutilation in the U.S.!

Today brought the awful news that a female physician in Detroit has been charged with performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls here in the U.S. I first saw the news on BBC, but then later it showed up in the U.S. news media:
Prosecutors said Jumana Nagarwala had been performing the practice on girls aged between six and eight for 12 years. She was investigated after the authorities received a tip-off. If found guilty, she faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. FGM was made illegal in the US in 1996.
In a voluntary interview with investigators earlier this week Dr Nagarwala denied being involved in any such procedure, local media reported. But prosecutors said she had performed "horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims". Some travelled to her practise from outside the state of Michigan and were told not to talk about the procedure, they added. Dr Nagarwala appeared in a federal court in Detroit and was remanded in custody.
Dr. Nagarwala is of Indian origin, but is Muslim, not Hindu (and remember that the Pew Research projections suggest that India may have have the second largest Muslim population in the world in the future, despite continuing to be a minority group in India). Detroit has one of America's largest Arab (and thus Muslim) populations and FGM is practiced almost entirely among Muslims, so the fact that this physician was in Detroit is perhaps no surprise. What is a surprise is that anyone living in this country (or anywhere, for that matter) would think that FGM should be performed on their daughter. Here I am reminded of the research in France showing that if immigrants want to be accepted and not discriminated against in their host society, it is wise to adjust to the local norms.

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