A federal judge has ruled against a federal ban on female genital mutilation despite calling the practice “despicable” in a stunning ruling Tuesday.
Female genital mutilation is a religious practice carried out in many majority Muslim countries, although the Koran does not specifically command the operation. However it is condoned by Muhammed, and some scholars say ordered, in a Hadith, a separate part of Islamic scripture.
District Judge Bernard Friedman said that “as despicable as this practice may be,” Congress had overstepped its constitutional power in banning the operation, and said regulation should be left up to the states instead.
“As laudable as the prohibition of a particular type of abuse of girls may be, it does not logically further the goal of protecting children on a nondiscriminatory basis,” Friedman wrote in his decision.
He also dismissed federal charges of conspiring to commit and committing female genital mutilation against a doctor and others from Detroit, Michigan, who were accused of inflicting the practice on seven children.
The case was the first test of the federal ban on female genital mutilation.
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