Criminal defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz explains why he’s part of the legal defense team of FGM practitioners under federal prosecution in Detroit.
Dershowitz claims he’s advising three defendants accused of mutilating the genitals of two 7-year-old girls in order to help curtail the practice of FGM.
“Alan Dershowitz is advising a Muslim group accused of promoting female genital mutilation to instead adopt a variation of the Jewish circumcision ritual,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.
Dershowitz reportedly argues that certain forms of FGM are a religious right protected under the US Constitution.
Federal prosecutors say that one or more of Dershowitz’s clients may have mutilated the genitals of 100 girls.
The lawyer won’t be representing the defendants in the courtroom. JTA says Dershowitz told the news organization “that he is advising the group as to how its followers can fulfill its religious legal obligations while protecting the rights of young girls and staying within the bounds of US law.”
“Dershowitz stressed that he opposes female genital mutilation, which often involves the removal of parts or all of a girl’s labia or clitoris,” according to JTA.
Dershowitz wants Muslims to perform a Jewish ritual instead of FGM
“Instead, Dershowitz is advising the group to adopt a ritual in which the girl undergoing the rite will receive a pinprick that draws a drop of blood from the clitoral hood. Men who convert to Judaism and have already been circumcised undergo a similar ritual, called ‘hatafat dam brit,’ which is the basis for Dershowitz’s suggestion,” JTA reports.
“I am categorically opposed to female genital mutilation and I agreed to consult with this group in order to help end it,” Dershowitz told JTA. “If that happens, it will be a win-win. It will help protect young girls and it will help protect religious rights.”