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Judges Pave Way For Circumcision Ban in Germany

The Times of Israel reports:

Parents having their sons circumcised can be brought before a judge for causing bodily injury, even if they did so for religious reasons, a regional court in Germany ruled recently.

The landmark decision will likely draw the condemnation of Jewish and Muslim communities, although official representatives have refrained from commenting so far, saying they first want to study the reasons given for the judgment.

Following the judgment by the District Court of Cologne, neither the rights of parents nor the constitutional freedom of religion can justify interventions such as circumcision, according to Financial Times Deutschland, which first reported the story.

“As opposed to many politicians, the court was not deterred by fears of being criticized for anti-Semitism or hostility toward religion,” University of Passau jurist Holm Putzke told the paper. “This decision could not only influence future jurisdiction, it could also lead the relevant religions to change their attitude with respect to the fundamental nature of
children’s rights.”

The case that prompted the ruling took place in Cologne, when a 4-year-old boy, circumcised by a Muslim doctor, began bleeding two days after the surgery and needed to be brought into the emergency room.

The state prosecutor’s office learned of the case and sued, leading the district court to rule that the circumcision was a “severe and irreversible interference into physical integrity.”

Here is the story in The Local, a German paper in English.

Certainly, a botched and incompetently performed male circumcision should not be immune from prosecution. I think that such procedures should be performed by doctors and not by religious figures, in any event.

However, circumcision is a relatively minor operation, with huge significance for both Muslims and Jews. The World Health Organisation also says:

There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three randomized controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe. WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence.

For this reason, circumcision is being heavily promoted in countries where HIV is a significant problem, including Zimbabwe.

By contrast, opposition to circumcision has very deep theological roots in the Christian tradition, specifically in opposition to Jewish practice.

I think that we’re likely to see the flight of Jews from a number of European countries over the next decade: for Israel, the USA and Canada. Cases such as these, the growth of far Right parties in some European states, and the obsession with Jews and Israel by Left parties in others, the battles over kosher meat, the boycotts, the Islamist politics and the occasional attendant massacres of Jews…

It isn’t that there’s no solidarity. There is. It is just that, at some point, a kid leaving university or a young couple will think: we have a choice.

And they’ll make it.

UPDATE

Also from the Times of Israel:

A Norwegian political party said it will seek to outlaw circumcision in Norway.

“Circumcision on religious grounds should be a criminal offense,” Jenny Klinge, a spokesperson for Norway’s Centre Party, said in an interview earlier this month with the newspaper Dagbladet.

A spokesman for the ruling Labor Party told Dagbladet that his party has yet to formulate a stand on the issue. The Centre Party has four government portfolios.

There are 700 Jews left in Norway. The country has already outlawed Jewish ritual slaughter.

Gene adds: Uh oh.

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