It’s Official: No Circumcision in Germany – Jewish Hospital Bans the Brit (JEWISH PRESS) By: Malkah Fleisher 07/04/12)
JEWISH PRESS Articles-Index-Top
The Jewish Hospital in Berlin has suspended all religious
circumcisions of children following a ruling delivered by a German
court on June 24 banning the practice.
The district court in Cologne ruled that circumcising young boys “is
a serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human
body,” and raised an outcry of protest from Jewish and Muslim groups,
both religions performing circumcisions on their children as a symbol
of religious faith.
The ruling was made on a case in which a 4 year-old Muslim boy’s
circumcision by a doctor led to pervasive bleeding and medical
Gerhard Nerlich, a spokesman for the hospital, announced that “we are
suspending circumcisions until the legal situation is clarified”.
The hospital performs approximately 100 religious circumcisions a
year. Two surgeries scheduled to take place were cancelled by the
hospital, with calls placed to the families explaining the reason.
In its ruling, the court found that performing the religious
circumcisions impinged on a child’s “fundamental right to bodily
integrity” and was “against the interests of a child to decide for
himself later on to what religion he wishes to belong”. “Even when
done properly by a doctor with the permission of the parents,
[circumcision] should be considered as bodily harm if it is carried
out on a boy unable to give his own consent”, the court said. It
noted that once a boy reaches the age of consent, he will be
permitted to have a religious circumcision performed on himself.
The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany condemned the
ruling as “an unprecedented and dramatic intrusion on the self-
determination of religious communities”, calling it “outrageous and
Rabbi Shimshon Nadel of Har Nof, Jerusalem, said the ruling was
indicative of Germany’s sentiments toward Jews. “Throughout Jewish
history, there have been many attempts to ban circumcision – this is
nothing new, and unfortunately, anti-Semitism is once again rearing
its ugly head in Germany,” he said. “The circumcision procedure is
something that is safe when performed by a trained mohel [performer
of ritual circumcisions], we’ve been doing it for thousands of years,
so it really comes down to the training of the mohel.”
The World Health Organization estimated that approximately 1/3 of men
around the world are circumcised.
Germany is home to millions of Muslims and over 100,000 Jews.
Chabad of Berlin could not be reached for comment. (© 2012
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY