German Lawmakers Move To Protect Circumcision

By JTA

Published July 19, 2012.
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Germany’s parliament called on the government to step in to protect the right to religious-based circumcision of boys, as long as it is done by a medically qualified practitioner who avoids inflicting pain.

An overwhelming majority of German lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution Thursday urging the administration of Chancellor Angela Merkel to submit a law this fall ensuring that the ritual practiced by both Jews and Muslims not be criminalized. Responsible doctors should not fear the law, they said.

The resolution, drafted by members of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democratic Party and the Free Democratic Party, followed weeks of debate over a May ruling from a Cologne district court that criminalized non-medical circumcisions of male children in that region of Germany.

The lawmakers said that “Jewish and Islamic religious life must continue to be possible in Germany,” and insisted that those performing the operation be medically trained.

A full parliamentary debate on the issue generally follows the government’s presentation of a proposed law, according to Reuters.

Germany’s socialist Left Party, which did not sign the resolution, said that only a symbolic “circumcision” should be allowed on minors, to be completed in adulthood upon request, Reuters reported. Green Party representatives said it would be difficult for Germany to justify banning a procedure that is practiced around the world.

A Social Democratic lawmaker vowed that even if religious-based circumcision of boys is expressly protected, so-called female circumcision would never be legal in Germany.

An overwhelming majority of German lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution Thursday urging the administration of Chancellor Angela Merkel to submit a law this fall ensuring that the ritual practiced by both Jews and Muslims not be criminalized. Responsible doctors should not fear the law, they said.

The resolution, drafted by members of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democratic Party and the Free Democratic Party, followed weeks of debate over a May ruling from a Cologne district court that criminalized non-medical circumcisions of male children in that region of Germany.

The lawmakers said that “Jewish and Islamic religious life must continue to be possible in Germany,” and insisted that those performing the operation be medically trained.

A full parliamentary debate on the issue generally follows the government’s presentation of a proposed law, according to Reuters.

Germany’s socialist Left Party, which did not sign the resolution, said that only a symbolic “circumcision” should be allowed on minors, to be completed in adulthood upon request, Reuters reported. Green Party representatives said it would be difficult for Germany to justify banning a procedure that is practiced around the world.

A Social Democratic lawmaker vowed that even if religious-based circumcision of boys is expressly protected, so-called female circumcision would never be legal in Germany.


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