German Lawmakers Move To Protect Circumcision

By JTA

Published July 19, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

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.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Yeshiva University's lawyer wanted to know why the dozens of former schoolboys now suing over a sexual abuse cover-up didn't sue decades ago. Read the judge's striking response here.
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.