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The first ever prosecution of Female Genital Mutilation

Since this is a first, I thought a separate discussion would be appropriate to follow this case through to its conclusion.  (a collected articles forum is here)

Better late than never -- finally the Crown Prosecution Services is acting to defend the integrity of little girls from this barbaric and Islamically-inspired and condoned practice.

A friend who works in a London hospital told me years ago that is common to hear the screams of the little girls as they are brought into the accident and emergency rooms.

Last year, Antony, A contributor on this site wrote:

Will Joan Smith bring about FGM prosecutions ? - this group should have their feet held to the fire until they do ! - or exposed as a talking shop of pc obfuscators if they don't !

If Joan Smith had a hand in making this happen then we can move her feet a bit back from the fire.

Thousands are victims to this crime in the UK.  Prosecutions should come fast and furious.  But I notice the charge in this first ever prosecution is against a doctor and another man.  But where are the parents or relatives?  Was the other man the father?

Families, Mosques and whole communities need to be held to account for practicing, teaching, covering up and condoning this crime.

Kinana

-- 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10713683/Doctor-become...

 

pub. 21 March 2014

 

The first ever prosecutions under the Female Genital Mutilation Act have been announced by the Crown Prosecution Service.

 

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, from the Whittington Hospital in North London and another man Hasan Mohamed, 40, are to be charged in connection with an incident following a birth at the hospital in 2012.

 

The first ever prosecutions under the Female Genital Mutilation Act have been announced by the Crown Prosecution Service.

 

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, from the Whittington Hospital in North London and another man Hasan Mohamed, 40, are to be charged in connection with an incident following a birth at the hospital in 2012.

It is alleged that the doctor carried out the procedure after being encouraged and aided by Mr Mohamed.

 

Announcing the prosecution, Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “The CPS was asked to consider evidence in relation to this allegation of female genital mutilation (FGM) by the Metropolitan Police Service.

 

“It was alleged that following a patient giving birth in November 2012, a doctor at the Whittington Hospital, in London, repaired FGM that had previously been performed on the patient, allegedly carrying out FGM himself.

 

“Having carefully considered all the available evidence, I have determined there is sufficient evidence and it would be in the public interest to prosecute Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena for an offence contrary the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

“I have also determined that Hasan Mohamed should face one charge of intentionally encouraging an offence of FGM and a second charge of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring Dr Dharmasena to commit an offence.”

She added: “Dr Dharmasena and Hasan Mohamed will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 April.”

Prosecutors said they had also looked at four other cases – one of which was new and three that were reconsidered after decisions to take no further action – and found there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

One of the old cases involved a man calling an FGM helpline, intended for victims, to ask for the procedure to be carried out on his two daughters.

The new case involved two parents accused of taking their daughter abroad to have FGM.

The CPS would not give details of the other two cases.

FGM has been a criminal offence since 1985, and in 2003 the maximum sentence was increased from five to 14 years in jail.

One report indicated last year that as many as 100,000 women in Britain have undergone the illegal operation, with medics in this country offering to carry out the procedure on girls as young as 10.

John Cameron, NSPCC Head of Child Protection Operations, said:

“This is great news for the fight against FGM. The fact that we hadn’t previously had a prosecution in the UK for this child abuse despite it being a crime for almost 30 years is unacceptable.

“Today’s announcement by the Crown Prosecution Service sends out a strong message that they are taking FGM seriously.

“FGM is a public health issue that needs increased collaboration from professionals across heath, education and the police. We urge anyone who is worried about a child or wants support or advice to call our FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550.”

Commander Mak Chishty from the Association of Chief Police Officers said: “Across the country, police are working extensively to investigate and build strong cases against those suspected of inflicting or aiding or abetting female genital mutilation (FGM).

“Today’s charging decision demonstrates how much gravity the police, prosecutors and government places on ending FGM.

“Female genital mutilation is a barbaric crime that has no place in modern day Britain. The police are committed to working closely with health services, schools, colleges, social services and third sector organisations which have an understanding of this form of abuse and can help us reach those who may be at risk.

“Prosecutions of those who continue this horrific and outdated practice should signal a warning to those who’ve committed or are considering inflicting female genital mutilation as well as anyone who assists them or stays quiet when they know this abuse been committed; we are pursuing offenders and working to bring them to justice so that we can protect victims – some of them painfully young - and stamp out this appalling crime.”

 

Tags: Kinana

Views: 192

Replies to This Discussion

The first prosecution for female genital mutilation is a watershed moment

However, several gaps in the implementation of policy continue to exist

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-first-prosecution-f...

Top gynacologist claims FGM prosecution is political ; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/fgm-top-gynaecologisthit...

--

24 March 2014

A leading gynaecologist has launched a devastating attack on the decision to bring the first prosecution against a doctor for female genital mutilation (FGM) in Britain.

Dr Erskine accused the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Alison Saunders, of putting politics before the welfare of women by announcing the historic prosecution days before she is due to appear in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee at its hearing on FGM on Tuesday.

The DPP had been under intense pressure to explain why there have been no prosecutions in Britain despite 140 referrals to police in the last four years. “I cannot help suspecting she needs something to say,” Dr Erskine told The Independent.

Ms Saunders announced last week that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided there was sufficient evidence to press ahead with the case against Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, a registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Whittington Hospital, London, for allegedly carrying out FGM on a patient. Hasan Mohamed, who is believed to be a relative of the patient, has been charged with aiding and abetting the doctor.

FGM is normally carried out on young girls, but the charges in this case relate to an adult woman who had just given birth. The woman had previously undergone FGM and it was alleged that in repairing her vagina following the birth, Dr Dharmasena carried out FGM himself, the CPS said in a statement.

READ MORE: THE FIRST PROSECUTION IS A WATERSHED MOMENT
THOUSANDS TREATED FOR EFFECTS OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

Campaigners have already hailed the first case as a breakthrough in their battle to drive out the practice, which is estimated to affect 140 million women worldwide.

But Dr Erskine’s criticisms, coming from a senior gynaecologist with wide experience of FGM, will alarm the CPS – which urgently needs a successful prosecution.

Dr Erskine said other obstetricians were outraged over the decision to prosecute and warned it would distract attention from the real problem of FGM – the removal of the outer genitals – as opposed to the repair of the vaginal opening after a woman who had previously undergone FGM gave birth. “I am really cross about this. We have a very high prevalence of women with FGM at the Homerton and we are used to dealing with it. FGM is horrendous and barbaric and no one is trying to pretend it is not.

“We heard about the prosecution on Friday and everyone is up in arms. It will put off midwives and doctors involved in caring for women with FGM and it distracts from where our main focus should be which is on driving out the real practice of FGM which is barbaric. I cannot help suspecting this has something to do with the DPP being up before the Home Affairs Select Committee and she needs something to say.”

FGM is carried out in varying degrees, normally before puberty. The most extreme “Type III” involves cutting the clitoris and labia minora (inner lips of the vagina) and sewing together the labia majora (outer lips) to leave a small hole through which urine and menstrual blood can pass.

Dr Erskine said: “The size of the opening varies. I have seen women with just a pinhole. It is usually big enough to have sex but not big enough for a baby to come out.”

At Homerton Hospital, women who have undergone this FGM are offered the opportunity to have the opening extended in preparation for the birth before the baby arrives in a process called defibulation. However, in some cases this is not done until after labour has started. After birth, stitching can be necessary to stem the bleeding, Dr Erskine claims.

“There is a world of difference between slicing off a woman’s clitoris and labia minora and putting some stitches in if a woman is still bleeding [after giving birth]. What do you do? You have to stop any bleeding and that inevitably involves some suturing [stitching]. It would be completely misleading to call this FGM. The end result might look like FGM but it is not. This is conflating FGM with how to treat women post-labour.”

FGM is widely practised in parts of Africa and the Middle East but the scale of the problem in Britain is hard to assess. The Metropolitan Police has reported receiving 140 “references” to FGM in the four years from 2009-13, and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children launched a helpline last year after claiming 70 women and girls a month were seeking treatment for FGM.

Dr Erskine said: “I have yet to see anyone born in the UK who has had FGM. I know it happens, but it is rare. All the women I have seen with FGM were born outside the UK and were cut before they arrived here.”

The mistaken beliefs around FGM included that it was more hygienic, that a woman was guaranteed to be a virgin when she married, that it preserved fertility and that it made women more attractive. “Mothers inflict it on their daughters because they believe they won’t get a husband without it ,” she said.

“This is where we should be putting our efforts – helping women to understand why it is wrong. Not on some poor doctor who may or may not have put some stitches in the wrong place.”

A CPS spokesperson said: “The decisions to charge Dr Dharmasena and Hasan Mohamed were made in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors following careful consideration of all the available evidence”

thanks to Antony 

FGM in Guardian ;

FGM charges against doctor criticised

Guardian, 28 March 2014

FGM charge obscures real issue

Guardian, 28 March 2014

First FGM prosecutions appear in court ; http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/apr/15/fgm-first-suspects-c...


FGM: first suspects to be charged appear in court
Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena and Hasan Mohamed face charges brought under Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003)
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Alexandra Topping
The Guardian, Tuesday 15 April 2014 14.46 BST
Doctor Dhanuson Dharmasena
Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, one of two suspects charged with carrying out FGM on a woman after she had given birth. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Two men have appeared in court for the first female genital mutilation (FGM) prosecution in the UK. Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, from Whittington hospital, north London, and Hasan Mohamed, 40, who is not a medical professional, face the first charges brought under the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003) in the landmark case.

Dharmasena is accused of carrying out the procedure on a woman after she had given birth in November 2012. It is alleged that he repaired the FGM that had previously been carried out on the patient, after being encouraged and helped by Mohamed.

Lawyers defending both men told Westminster magistrates court that the pair would plead not guilty. Dharmasena, wearing a grey suit, spoke only to confirm his name and address. Mohamed, wearing a grey hooded top and a scarf around his neck, gave his name. His address was not read out in court. Both men were granted unconditional bail and are next due to appear at Southwark crown court on 2 May.

Carrying out FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985, but there has yet to be a prosecution. In a pre-trial statement, the director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders said: "It was alleged that following a patient giving birth in November 2012, a doctor at the Whittington hospital in London, repaired FGM that had previously been performed on the patient, allegedly carrying out FGM himself."

FGM has come under the spotlight in recent months after activists stepped up their campaign against it. Earlier this month education secretary Michael Gove wrote to all headteachers after a Guardian-backed petition, which called for education to be put at the heart of tackling the practice, attracted more than 230,000 signatures. Gove sent a letter to all headteachers in England alerting them to guidelines designed to keep children safe, which includes guidance on FGM.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said Gove would keep up pressure on schools by flagging up the dangers of FGM again in his annual "back to school" letter in September.

The Guardian-backed campaign, led by 17-year-old Bristol schoolgirl Fahma Mohamed, was supported by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, as well as signatories from around the globe.

FGM is believed to affect up to 140 million women worldwide and an estimated 66,000 women in the UK, with up to 24,000 girls under 15 believed to be at risk.

Interesting this Guardian report.

'FGM has come under the spotlight in recent months after activists stepped up their campaign against it.'  Talk about NOT giving credit where credit is due!  The EDL brought this barbarity to national attention since 2010.  

I am glad the Guardian campaign is happening but I do wonder how open they will be about WHY it has taken so long to bring a prosecution; why they refuse to mention the link to Islamic doctrine; why they fail to mention that this barabarity happens mostly if not exclusively in Muslim communities in the UK; and how it happened that a young Muslim school girl is leading the campaign?  Could the later three points be connected? 

if i am wrong about this point: 'this barabarity happens mostly if not exclusively in Muslim communities in the UK'; I would be happy to be corrected.

As if on cue!  This article concludes with:

'So why no prosecutions? If we’re still tiptoeing around this crime for reasons of cultural sensitivity it needs to stop. Moral relativism has long been thrown out as a sensible argument. One person taking a knife to a young girl's genitals is a crime. A million people doing it doesn’t make it culture.'

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/marthagilltech/100013251/fg...

However I would ask the Telegraph WHY the comments section is closed?  Are they afraid of the answers readers will suggest?  Furthermore, the author does not suggest what 'culture' could be responsible for this barbarity and where that culture comes from and what belief system shapes and moulds that culture.

Apparently the jury has been sworn in today. Trial in Southwark, London.  So watch this space.

FGM prosecution ; http://www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/crime-court/whittington_doct...

Whittington doctor ‘performed female genital mutilation’ on young mum, court hears

13:11 20 January 2015 Court reporter Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena
Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena
A doctor stitched up a woman’s genitals in a “dangerous” and archaic practice at the Whittington, a court heard.

Comment
In the first trial of it’s kind in the UK, Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, is accused of carrying out an illegal Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) procedure at the hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway.

A second man, 41, denies encouraging and abetting the offence.

The woman, 24 at the time, first underwent FGM aged six in Somalia, a jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court was told.

The highly dangerous procedure left her at risk of infection, haemorrhage and even death.

The mother of two, who cannot be named and was only referred to as AB in court, went to the Whittington in November 2012 in labour with her first child. During the birth, her FGM stitches were torn. Dharmasena, the junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology, sewed her back up in a procedure that amounted to FGM, the court heard.

Kate Bex, prosecuting, told jurors: “Female genital mutilation is often abbreviated to FGM, it is also known as female circumcision. It may be that it is not a law that you have heard much about, or that you are unsure exactly what FGM means.

“You may be expecting to hear that the offence took place in a back-street clinic, by an unqualified and uncaring person, on a young child.

“This trial is quite different, but nonetheless involves FGM.”

She said that after the birth and the other defendants “insistence, or with his encouragement” Dharmasena “stitched” her back up.

She added: “What Dr Dharmasena did, by stitching back together the labia, was against the policy of his employer, the Whittington Hospital.

Dharmasena, of Ilford, Essex, denies carrying out FGM. The second defendant denies one count of abetting Dharmasena and one count of encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence. He denies both counts. Carrying out female genital mutilation carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. The trial continues.

FGM doctor claims ignorance ; http://freethinker.co.uk/2015/01/22/fgm-doctor-did-not-know-it-was-...

FGM: Doctor did not know it was illegal
A UK doctor accused of carrying out female genital mutilation did not know that FGM was illegal and had to look it up on his phone when he was told, a court has heard.
According to this report, Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, above, is accused of carrying out the illegal procedure at the Whittington hospital in north London, in the first prosecution of its kind in the UK.
His patient – 24 at the time – first suffered FGM aged six in Somalia, Southwark crown court heard. When she went into emergency labour with her first child in November 2012, the baby could not be delivered and she had to be cut open.
Immediately after the birth, junior registrar Dharmasena broke the law by stitching the young mother back up – redoing the FGM, it is alleged.
Today, midwife Aimma Ali said she became “concerned” that the woman, named only as AB in court, had been stitched back up. She told the court that she spoke with Dharmasena privately and told him it was illegal.
Kate Bex, prosecuting, asked:
When you told Dr Dharmasena stitching back up was illegal, how did he react?
The midwife replied:
It seemed like he didn’t know.
Bex went on:
What did he do?
Ali said:
He started to look up FGM on his phone.
The midwife said she was so concerned she delayed the woman’s transfer to a ward while she clarified exactly what had happened.
Dharmasena denies one count of FGM.
Linked to this case is a second man, Hasan Mohamed, 41, who is facing one count of abetting Dharmasena in committing the offence.
Mohamed faces an alternative count of encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence. He denies both counts.
Writing for the Gatestone Institute last year, Irfan Al-Alawi said:
Britain has taken an important step in enforcing, after more than 10 years, its regulation against FGM, an atrocious practice that is often alleged to be Islamic.
Even some radical clerics who defend the custom, such as the Qatar-based hate preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, admit that support for FGM is based on unreliable, ‘weak’ precedents in Islamic law.
Al-Qaradawi argues that the brutal imposition of FGM is acceptable if desired by parents. But he notes, ‘women in Islamic nations lived for centuries without circumcision being a concern, as it did not exist’.
Although FGM is associated often with Islam, it is found commonly in non-Muslim areas of Africa and among immigrants to the West from that region. Muslims should take the initiative in opposing FGM; campaigns against this violation of women’s rights are underway already in several Muslim lands.

Doctor accused of FGM tells court he was stemming bleeding
Dhanuson Dharmasena is accused of restoring previous female genital mutilation through the way he sutured incisions after a woman had given birth
Sandra Laville
Wednesday 28 January 2015 18.27 GMT

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/28/fgm-accused-doctor-d...

A doctor accused of carrying out female genital mutilation on a young mother told a jury he performed a surgical procedure after her childbirth in order to stem bleeding and was acting in her best interests.

Giving evidence in his own defence, Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, told Southwark crown court that at no time was he told by anyone in the immediate aftermath of the delivery that what he had done was illegal.

The doctor is the first person to be prosecuted in England and Wales with carrying out FGM since it was outlawed in 1985.

The case against him centres on a single stitch measuring 1.5cm to 2cm, which he used to repair an incision he had made during the birth of the woman’s first baby.

The crown alleges his actions were a criminal act as they amounted to reinstitution of the FGM which had been carried out on the woman when she was six years old in Somalia.

The doctor, who qualified in 2005 and began specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology in 2008, had joined the Whittington hospital in London some six weeks before the incident in November 2012.

He said he had not had training in FGM during his undergraduate medical degree, or his postgraduate studies. He admitted he had not read the hospital’s policy on FGM, or guidelines on the subject from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Dharmasena said he had not met AB, the woman at the centre of the case, before she arrived in labour on a Saturday morning in November 2012. Called to the labour room, he said due to the distress of the baby, he realised he would have to carry out an instrumental delivery, either with forceps or a suction cap.

As a result of the woman’s FGM, he said he had to make an incision in order to catheterise her and carry out the delivery.

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After the birth, he repaired the cut. Dharmasena told the court: “I decided to put in a suture to stop the bleeding.”

Using a plastic model designed to help the training of young doctors, he showed jurors the figure of eight stitch he had sewn and the exhibit was then handed to judge and jury to examine.

Explaining the brief procedure, which took around 30 seconds, Dharmasena said: “I didn’t contemplate any other suture technique. This figure of eight suture, the purpose of it is to stop bleeding. In one movement you close off and stop bleeding in the area.”

Asked what he would have done if the cut was not bleeding, he said: “I would have left it alone.”

Under the 2003 FGM Act a doctor is exempted from prosecution for a criminal offence if he carries out a procedure for medical reasons during or after labour. Immediately after the delivery of AB’s baby, Dharmasena was called to carry out an emergency caesarean, and as he was in the theatre he began to doubt the procedure he had carried out on AB.

To reassure himself he asked the consultant on duty for her advice.

“The conversation went along the lines of her saying the technique wasn’t correct,” he said. “I explained what had happened in the delivery room, I asked her whether this was the correct surgical technique, and she advised me regarding the correct surgical technique.”

After this conversation he looked up the Royal College’s guidelines on his mobile phone.

Asked by his lawyer whether the more senior doctor had suggested what he had done was unlawful or illegal, he replied: “No.”

Zoe Johnson QC for the doctor told the jury: “This case is not about sending a message to society that every right thinking man and woman condemns the practice of FGM. I am sure you would agree all reasonable people would consider it an abomination and an abuse of a woman’s human rights.”

She asked the jury to focus on the facts of the case. “At all times he [Dharmasena] acted in what he thought was AB’s best interest. Dr Dharmasena’s defence is that the incision and the repair, which he has acknowledged and accepted from the outset, were necessary for AB’s physical health and that the incision and repair were connected with childbirth.”

The doctor told court he was born in Sri Lanka and had moved to the UK in 1986 at the age of four. He was a Hindu, he said, and nothing in his religion or culture supported the practice of FGM. “I regard FGM as an abhorrent practice with no justification in our society,” he told the jury. The doctor appears in court alongside another man, Hasan Mohammed, who is charged with aiding and abetting the offence. Both men deny the charges.

The case continues.

Doctor found not guilty of performing FGM

Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, was accused of carrying out the illegal procedure when stitching the woman after she gave birth at the Whittington Hospital, north London, in 2012.

A second man, Hasan Mohamed, 41, of Holloway, north London, has been cleared of aiding and abetting him.

The trial marked the first prosecution of its kind in the UK.

A jury acquitted Dr Dharmasena after less than half an hour of deliberations.

Whittington Hospital in north LondonDr Dhanuson Dharmasena faced the 'nightmarish scenario' of finding the woman circumcised, the court heard

Defence barrister Zoe Johnson QC said he had "been hung out to dry" and forced to pay the "ultimate price" for hospital failings.

It had been alleged that the stitching Dr Dharmasena performed on the woman effectively redid the FGM carried out on her as a six-year-old in Somalia.

Dr Dharmasena, of Ilford, north-east London, told Southwark Crown Court he "regarded FGM as an abhorrent practice".

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena arrives at Southwark Crown CourtDr Dhanuson Dharmasena's lawyer said labelling him a criminal would not stop FGM in the UK

After the verdict, he said: "I am extremely relieved with the court's verdict and I am grateful to the jury for their careful consideration of the facts."

He said he looked forward to putting the matter behind him.

He now faces an investigation by the General Medical Council, which suspended him in March. Since then, he has been working in a lab carrying out research.

Source: Crown Prosecution Service

The two-week trial heard the mother was taken to the Whittington Hospital in north London on 24 November 2012.

But hospital trust failings meant she had not been placed on the FGM pathway as she should have been.

Instead Dr Dharmasena, then a junior registrar, faced the "nightmarish scenario" of discovering she was circumcised as she went into emergency labour.

He had never treated a woman with FGM before or received any training in it.

'Enormous step forward'

Ms Johnson said: "Female genital mutilation is not going to be stopped in this country by labelling Dr Dharmasena a criminal and a mutilator of women."

Her words were echoed by Edmund Vickers, representing Mr Mohamed.

He said: "The irony may not be lost on you that the purpose of the Female Genital Mutilation Act is to protect victims of female genital mutilation.

"And yet this first prosecution has brought a victim of female genital mutilation into the full glare of a public trial."

Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions said it was right the case was put before a court.

She said: "On three separate occasions, the judge dismissed applications by the defence to stop the case, thereby agreeing that the evidence should be considered by a jury."

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists welcomed the verdict.

A spokeswoman said the case highlighted "complex issues" and "the resource implications for NHS services, including early identification and referral, better record-keeping and information-sharing between healthcare professionals".

Mary Wandia from anti-FGM charity Equality Now, called the trial "an enormous step forward and a watershed moment for women and girls affected by FGM".

She said: "It not only communicates that FGM is against the law, but that the law will be fully implemented."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-31138218

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Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

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