German Jews, Muslims Outraged Over Circumcision Ruling (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 06/28/12)
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Jewish and Muslim leaders in Germany were united on Wednesday in
their condemnation of a German court´s decision to, in effect, outlaw
the circumcision of boys.
The British Guardian reported that representatives of the two
religious communities called the ruling insensitive and
discriminatory, saying it was an attack on centuries of religious
On Tuesday, a court in Cologne ruled that non-medical circumcision,
practiced by most Jews and Muslims, causes bodily harm and therefore
is a crime.
The practice is a "serious and irreversible interference in the
integrity of the human body,” the Cologne district court decided.
The ruling involved the case of a Muslim doctor who performed a
circumcision on a four-year-old boy, who later suffered bleeding and
was taken to a hospital emergency room. The decision is likely to be
appealed to the Federal Constitutional Court.
Religious leaders said on Wednesday that the court had stepped into a
minefield with its decision, which undermined their religious
authority and contravened Germany´s constitution.
Dieter Graumann, president of Germany´s Central Council of Jews,
called the ruling “an egregious and insensitive measure” and said it
amounted to “an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in religious
communities´ right of determination.”
Ali Demir, chairman of the Religious Community of Islam in Germany,
was quoted by The Guardian as having said, “I find the ruling
adversarial to the cause of integration and discriminatory against
all the parties concerned.”
He predicted that a ban in Germany would lead to a rise
in “circumcision tourism in neighboring countries in Europe.”
The court weighed up three articles from the basic law: the rights of
parents, the freedom of religious practice and the right of the child
to physical integrity, before coming to the conclusion that
circumcision was not in the interests of the child.
It rejected the defense that circumcision is considered hygienic in
many cultures, one of the main reasons it is carried out in the U.S.,
Britain and in Germany.
Meanwhile in Norway on Tuesday, Center Party official justice policy
spokeswoman Jenny Klinge said she wants circumcision to be declared
illegal, a move that would jeopardize the future of the 700-member
She told the Dagbladet newspaper that circumcision of girls already
is prohibited and that the law should be extended to males.
Circumcision is perhaps the most widely-observed religious practice
among Jews. Jewish history is marked with those who have risked their
lives – and many who have lost them – for upholding the mitzvah that
was first performed by the forefather Abraham.
The Guardian reported that the decision was being hotly debated on
Wednesday. It quoted one respondent to an online survey of the
readers of the Berlin daily Taz, who wrote, “As a circumcised Jew, I
can only add the following: did the state prosecutors in Cologne …
have nothing better to do than … interfere in our thousands of years
of Jewish religious law? No way, and that´s why we need to act
decisively against this horrendous decision by the Cologne regional
court.” (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 06/28/12)
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