RIGHTS > Germany's circumcision ban irks Jews and Muslims

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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Circumcision of male children is a practice in Muslim and Jewish faith. Hürriyet photo

Circumcision of male children is a practice in Muslim and Jewish faith. Hürriyet photo

Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

Following a regional German court’s ruling that circumcision in children causes permanent harm to their physical integrity, Muslim and Jewish communities in Germany have criticized the court’s verdict as “discriminatory.”

The regional Köln (Cologne) High Court, ruled June 26 that the “fundamental right of a boy to bodily integrity outweighs the fundamental rights of the parents.”

Ali Dere, Turkey’s departmental manager for external relations of the Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) in Germany, said this step was the beginning of a new wave of discrimination against Muslims in Germany.

“Instead of punishing the doctor who performed the surgery, the court’s ruling punishes communities. The German state is taking [away] the right of families to decide about their children’s religion. This is an intervention in the individual’s [ability to] build a Muslim identity,” Dere told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The court’s ruling said the religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised “if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised.”

The case was brought against a doctor in Köln who circumcised a Muslim family’s 4-year-old boy at his parents’ request three years ago. According to reports the boy bled heavily after the operation, leading his parents to take him to the hospital. The local prosecutor kicked off an investigation on the grounds of “causing bodily harm.”

However, the regional court found the doctor not guilty, saying he acted within the law, since the boy’s parents had given him permission to perform the circumcision.

“The body of a child is irreparably and permanently changed by circumcision. This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide his religious beliefs later on,” the ruling read.

German judges “ignorant”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s European Union Minister Egemen Bağış criticized the court, saying they were being “ignorant.”

“Comparing injury to circumcision, to say the least of it, is ignorance. This is a divine topic for us, which we will not argue in a courtroom,” Bağış said.

Germany’s top Jewish leader has also spoken out about the ruling. “This was a dramatic attack against the right to religious choice,” he said.

Dieter Grauman, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said “The decision does not outlaw circumcision [but] it is still outrageous and insensitive. Ritual circumcision by a medical doctor is an integral part of the Jewish faith that has been practiced around the world for millennium. This right is respected in every country of the world,” Hürriyet Germany bureau reported.


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Notice on comments

Nature Guy

7/8/2012 5:19:27 PM

Nobody should ever be circumcised...male or female. IF, as an adult, one wishes to become circumcised, then so be it. BUT never a child under the age of 18. Religious-based ideologies for mutilation does NOT make them correct...it's just strange & deviant mutilation of the human body to decrease sexual sensations ultimately.

Erik Johansson

6/29/2012 9:43:18 PM

In my country we are intact, just the way God created us. Something which both we and our women enjoy. Very, very much actually.

Murun Buchstansangur

6/29/2012 5:20:20 PM

@ Chas. You claim that "no state or judge thereof has the moral right to interfere in parental right and 'obligation' to commit one's offspring into the path of his beliefs of deliverance and salvation". I reject this entirely. It's difficult for me to offer rebuttal without mentioning religion.


6/29/2012 3:46:44 PM

@mara mcglothin. Even though I find your posts to be very reasonable, I do feel that this one in particular has gone astray of sane reasoning. Firstly, this is not about where and how circumcision is performed. Secondly, the fact it is not practiced by Jews only does not confirm its legitimacy. Thirdly, the medical risks you mentioned are indeed non-existent and by no means justify paralegal mutilation. The medical professionals who do support this notion, are profiteering from it. Regards

Chas Spencer

6/29/2012 3:20:19 PM

@MURUN B. CORRECTION - MURUN B. Reading your reply, one cant help but come to the conclusion that your issue is with Religeon in General and NOT THE male Cicucsision in particular, no more no less!

Chas Spencer

6/29/2012 2:02:44 PM

MURUN B. Reading your reply, one cant help but come to the conclusion that your issue is with Religeon in General and male Cicucsision in particular, no more no less! @Deniz Iz, Circumcision is a Judeo-Moslem ritual, are you concerned that you by the act of Cicumcision are inevetably being identified with one of the above Faiths?

Murun Buchstansangur

6/29/2012 11:27:13 AM

@Chas. This is a wind-up right? If we follow your 'logic' on this one then we can act with impunity to do most things we wish to as long as we can fall back on the protection of our superstitious code. You have amply defined the very menace that faith can and often does represent.

Brandon Kehrer

6/29/2012 9:26:57 AM

@Murat “It certainly does not cause any damage as in female version” - Really? So amputating a part of the penis that results in an entire sensation lost for life, with the glans of the penis desensitized, a scare, with most erectile and orgasm difficulty's and difficulty in circumscribed is not damaging to you, while at the same time female circumcision with the same effects is damaging? Huh? DoubleThink much?

Brandon Kehrer

6/29/2012 9:26:18 AM

@Murat “Secondly there is solid field data to show that it lowers risk of HIV.” - Again, I am guessing you support female circumcision for the same reason. Seeing that there are study’s that show a lower risk in HIV infection with females who had been circumcised just like with males.

Brandon Kehrer

6/29/2012 9:25:16 AM

@ Murat “It is certainly most hygenic, and dont make me explain.” - Well if that is a valid reason to circumcise boys, then I am guessing your not a hypocrite or a sexist, and also support female circumcision. After all, the female genitalia has a lot more folds of skin for things that are not hygienic to hide between the that of a boys foreskin.
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