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May 23, 2017

Detroit Female Genital Mutilators Planning to Claim Their Practice is a Right Supported by Religious Freedom

Can't wait to hear all the feminists not talking about this case.

Defense lawyers plan to argue that religious freedom is at the core of the case in which two physicians and one of their wives are charged with subjecting young girls to genital cutting. All three are members of the Dawoodi Bohra, a small Indian-Muslim sect that has a mosque in Farmington Hills.

The defense maintains that the doctors weren't engaged in any actual cutting -- just a scraping of the genitalia -- and that the three defendants are being persecuted for practicing their religion by a culture and society that doesn't understand their beliefs and is misinterpreting what they did.

First Amendment scholars across the country -- liberal and conservative alike-- are closely following the case, noting that the fate of the accused will largely rest with scientific evidence.

The key question for jurors to answer will be: Were children harmed physically? If they were, experts say, the religious freedom defense doesn't stand a chance.

But if the defense can show that it was just a nick and caused no harm, some experts believe, the defendants could be acquitted on religious grounds.

Religious freedom has been found to be a defense for fairly small-bore deviations from legal behavior. But the Supreme Court has ruled against Christian Scientists, for example, who left an eleven-year-old boy's diabetes untreated, in accordance with some religious doctrine that God will heal the sick without need of doctors. (That case wasn't criminal -- the boy's father sued the couple with custody over the boy for $1.5 million in damages. The Supreme Court found that religious liberty could not be interposed as a valid defense.)

When the issue is physical harm to another, religious liberty is usually no defense. The Supreme Court didn't even uphold a Santaria sect's claim of religious freedom to slaughter animals ritually -- and those were just animals of course. (No offense to animals -- some of my best friends are animals.)

In the old days, this wouldn't have worked. But the nation seems to have its controls set for the heart of the sun, so we'll see.


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posted by Ace at 02:02 PM

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