The father, Khalid Adem, said he was not guilty. (He comes from a country where the prevalence of FGM is 90 percent.) His now divorced wife Fortunate Adem, an immigrant from South Africa, said that he did indeed physically castrate their child.
Police say Adem circumcised his daughter with scissors in his Duluth apartment, while someone else held the girl's legs.
Authorities said the circumcision occurred sometime in 2001 but the mother didn't discover it until two years later. The mother told police she learned about it while arguing with Adem about female circumcision. The mother told police that she told Adem she didn't want that to happen to their daughter, but Adem implied the circumcision had already occurred. [...]
Opponents claim the procedure, which may involve the removal of the clitoris or all of the external genitalia, is extremely painful, medically unnecessary and unsafe. It is illegal in the United States and has been condemned by the United Nations. [Dad stands trial over daughter's mutilation, Atlanta Journal Constitution 10/23/06]
The fact that the mom didn't notice her daughter had undergone a very painful procedure was odd, to say the least. So the question of guilt was troubling (and intelligently discussed in a Gates of Vienna blog). But the jury found for the prosecution in only four hours, so they were obviously persuaded.
Adem could receive up to 40 years in prison for aggravated battery and cruelty to children. The date of sentencing is unclear.
The more important question is why we citizens must accept criminal cultures as part of diversity in immigration. The government refuses entry to individual human rights abusers, and deports them when discovered, yet admits entire groups which have cultural norms judged criminal by our society.
In 2002, American authorities considered banning Somali refugees who had committed FGM on their children, but the Refugee Industrial Complex nixed that. Among Somalis, FGM is nearly universal (98% prevalence), and parents rushed to have their little girls cut after hearing the practice was illegal in the US.
There are areas of culture clash that can be argued as being a simple difference in opinion. But the torture and life-long damage of innocent children cannot be placed in that category. Immigration is not a right, and particularly should not be available to the world's criminal cultures.