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!
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • 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.