A ban on circumcision in Germany has shocked the nation’s Jews and Muslims. The right of parents to make decisions for their children is now under the spotlight.
A court ruling in Germany effectively banning circumcision has united Jews and Muslims in anger - and they are backed by the country’s main medical association.
Muslims have warned that the devout will take sons abroad to be circumcised.
Jews have pointed out that attacks on Jewish religious rituals have been an unfortunate part of European history since the Roman times, and say they are dismayed by the latest ban. One Russian rabbi in Berlin to discuss the ban called it “perhaps the most serious attack on Jewish life in Europe since the Holocaust”.
The German government has been stung by the reaction. Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman said that circumcision must be possible in Germany - though he didn’t say whether the law would be changed or clarified by a higher court.
The ruling by the district court of Cologne says circumcision “for the purpose of religious upbringing constitutes a violation of physical integrity”.
The judgement added: “The child’s body is permanently and irreparably changed by the circumcision. This change conflicts with the child’s interest of later being able to make his own decision on his religious affiliation.”