German court "effectively bans" male circumcision


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jakem1

Jewish and Muslim leaders were united on Wednesday in their condemnation of a German court's decision to in effect outlaw the circumcision of boys after a judge deemed that the religious practice amounted to bodily harm.

Representatives of the two religious communities called the ruling insensitive and discriminatory, saying it was an attack on centuries of religious tradition.

A judge at a Cologne court said that the circumcision of minors went against a child's interests because it led to a physical alteration of the body, and because people other than the child were determining its religious affiliation.

Religious leaders said the court had stepped into a minefield with its decision, which undermined their religious authority and contravened Germany's constitution.

Ali Demir, chairman of the Religious Community of Islam in Germany, said: "I find the ruling adversarial to the cause of integration and discriminatory against all the parties concerned."

Dieter Graumann, president of Germany's Central Council of Jews, called it "an egregious and insensitive measure" which amounted to "an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in religious communities' right of determination".

The ruling followed a lengthy legal battle, sparked when a Muslim couple decided to have their son circumcised, specifically for religious reasons, by a Muslim doctor in Cologne. The doctor, identified only as Dr K, carried out the circumcision on the four-year old boy in November 2010, before giving the wound four stitches. The same evening, he visited the family at home to check up on the boy. When the boy began bleeding again two days later, his parents took him to the casualty department of Cologne's University hospital. The hospital contacted the police, who then launched an investigation. The doctor was charged with bodily harm, and the case was taken to court.

While the court acquitted Dr. K on the grounds that he had not broken any law, it concluded that circumcision of minors for religious reasons should be outlawed, and that neither parental consent nor religious freedom justified the procedure. It ruled that in future doctors who carried out circumcisions should be punished.

The court weighed up three articles from the basic law: the rights of parents, the freedom of religious practice and the right of the child to physical integrity, before coming to the conclusion that the procedure was not in the interests of the child.

It rejected the defence that circumcision is considered hygienic in many cultures, one of the main reasons it is carried out in the US, Britain and in Germany.

After much deliberation, it concluded that a circumcision, "even when done properly by a doctor with the permission of the parents, should be considered as bodily harm if it is carried out on a boy unable to give his own consent".

It ruled the child's body would be "permanently and irreparably changed", and that this alteration went "against the interests of a child to decide for himself later on to what religion he wishes to belong".

The doctor was acquitted, the court said, because he had acted "subjectively and with a clear conscience" and because carrying out the procedure had not been punishable at the time.

Holm Putzke, a professor of penology ? the study of the punishment of crime ? from the University of Passau, told the German news agency DPA that the ruling would set a legal precedent and would act as a warning. "The ruling is not binding for other courts, but it will have the effect of a warning signal." He added while Dr K had been let off, from now on no doctor would be able to claim that he or she did not know it was forbidden.

He said unlike politicians who have long faced pressure to deal with the issue, "the court did not allow itself to be scared off by charges of antisemitism or religious intolerance".

Demir predicted a ban in Germany would lead to a rise in "circumcision tourism in neighbouring countries in Europe".

Condemnation also came from elsewhere in Europe, with Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg of the Brussels-based Rabbinical Centre of Europe calling the ruling "fatal to freedom of religion". He told the Jerusalem daily Haaretz that it "contravened the EU's convention on human rights, to which Germany is subservient and harms the basic freedom of religion enshrined in the German constitution".

Women's rights groups and social policy makers also condemned the decision, but for the reason that it would have the effect of putting male and female circumcision on the same footing, when they were "in no way comparable", said Katrin Altpeter, social minister in the state of Baden-W?rttemberg. Female circumcision she said, was a far more drastic act. It is already outlawed in Germany.

In Austria, the lay initiative Religion is a Private Matter, welcomed the Cologne decision, calling it "an important and long overdue change of direction". Its chairman, Heinz Oberhummer, said: "Bodily harm is bodily harm and children cannot be excluded from benefitting from basic rights, and certainly not for religious reasons," he said.

The World Health Organisation estimates that every third man is circumcised. Around 70% of them are Muslims, around 1% Jews.

From Twitter and Facebook to the online discussion forums of German newspapers, the decision was being hotly debated on Wednesday. An online survey of the readers of the leftwing Berlin daily Taz found two-thirds of respondents in favour of the decision.

One respondent wrote: "The issue is quite clear: the religious freedom of the parents ends precisely there where the physical harm of others begins, regardless of whether it's that of your own child or that of an unknown heathen."

But another wrote: "As a circumcised Jew, I can only add the following: did the state prosecutors in Cologne ? have nothing better to do than ? interfere in our thousands of years of Jewish religious law? No way, and that's why we need to act decisively against this horrendous decision by the Cologne regional court."

Putzke, who is a leading voice in the discussion about circumcision and the law, welcomed the decision: "After the knee-jerk indignation has subsided, hopefully a discussion will kick off about how much religiously motivated violence against children a society is ready to tolerate."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/27/circumcision-ruling-germany-muslim-jewish

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ILikeTobacco

How long till its illegal to have your daughters get ear piercings.... Sigh, society moving backwards as always.

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MightyJordan
German court rules that procedure is bodily harm and contravenes right to choose religion in later life

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Well done, Germany. (Y) Let's hope other countries follow suit now.

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neufuse

How long till its illegal to have your daughters get ear piercings.... Sigh, society moving backwards as always.

little different, this is cutting a part of the body off as opposed to just puncturing the body to hold something on it..

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ahhell

How long till its illegal to have your daughters get ear piercings.... Sigh, society moving backwards as always.

WAT?

Since when is piercing ears the same thing as cutting someone's wang?

How can you think that continuing circumcision is progress? :s Unless there's a medical reason, it's barbaric.

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ColourSkape

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OrsonWellesClap.gif

Well done, Germany. (Y) Let's hope other countries follow suit now.

+1 (Y)
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MightyJordan

How long till its illegal to have your daughters get ear piercings.... Sigh, society moving backwards as always.

...what? :blink: Your daughter chooses to get an ear piercing; male circumsion is chosen by the parents with no real care for the baby. It was proven a long time ago that male circumsion doesn't provide any real health benefits, so there is no point in having it done anymore (and religion is not a valid point for genitally mutilating a newborn baby).

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James7

This is interesting. Do you think they'll do it in England? Is this the direction society is headed?

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theyarecomingforyou

Circumcision for religious reasons is barbaric and shouldn't be tolerated in a progressive society. If an informed adult wants to have it done then that's one thing; inflicting it upon children is completely unacceptable. I honestly hope that other countries follow suit.

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Buttus

How long till its illegal to have your daughters get ear piercings.... Sigh, society moving backwards as always.

that's different, the girl WANTS to get her ears pierced... if you're piercing a baby's ears, that should be stopped too

plus, there's no reason to be circumcised anymore

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McKay

Perhaps change it so that the boy can choose to have it when he reaches a certain age.

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nominak

Perhaps change it so that the boy can choose to have it when he reaches a certain age.

He can. When he's 18. Maybe not in Germany, but I'm sure they could go elsewhere if they so choose.

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Glassed Silver

This is great news! :woot:

Side note: title is misleading.

Glassed Silver:mac

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Rippleman

Sounds like some are not circumcised and jealous :) circumcision nowadays have nothing to do religion and not having is done is completely disgusting. Totally happy that my parents decided it for me.

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scratch42069

Sounds like some are not circumcised and jealous :) circumcision nowadays have nothing to do religion and not having is done is completely disgusting. Totally happy that my parents decided it for me.

Exactly. The foreskin can trap all sorts of nasty bacteria and can increase the risk of contracting an STD.

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nominak

Sounds like some are not circumcised and jealous :) circumcision nowadays have nothing to do religion and not having is done is completely disgusting. Totally happy that my parents decided it for me.

Why would I be jealous of having less sensitivity?

How is it disgusting. I'll wait.

Exactly. The foreskin can trap all sorts of nasty bacteria and can increase the risk of contracting an STD.

Yeah, if you never wash your dick. I dunno about you, but it takes no time to pull it back and lather up. Unless you know some really dirty people.

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ahhell

Exactly. The foreskin can trap all sorts of nasty bacteria and can increase the risk of contracting an STD.

It's called soap. Look it up. :|

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Dashel

Well done Germany. Stop this barbarism. If we want to do it for aesthetic reasons later, that's fine. (Which is really the main reason many in the US do it to begin with - which is funny cause NO woman is ever going to find it 'sexy' either way)

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zeta_immersion

so happy about this ... while I would not make it illegal, I would make it more strict for medical reasons because this can go a step forward by arguing why not make abortion illegal (just saying)

abortion and circumcision should be legal, but not based on religious beliefs

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Glassed Silver

Sounds like some are not circumcised and jealous :) circumcision nowadays have nothing to do religion and not having is done is completely disgusting. Totally happy that my parents decided it for me.

Because you couldn't decide that for yourself later on?

Disgusting if not done? If you know how to wash yourself there is no major advantage.

so happy about this ... while I would not make it illegal, I would make it more strict for medical reasons [...]

Pretty sure that if it makes medical sense it's still legal.

Glassed Silver:mac

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scratch42069

No need to enlighten me on the use of soap, I'm not the one with a dirty penis nor am I saying any of you do either.

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ylcard

WAT?

Since when is piercing ears the same thing as cutting someone's wang?

How can you think that continuing circumcision is progress? :s Unless there's a medical reason, it's barbaric.

WAT?

Sine when is circumcision cutting someone's wang?

In case that sarcasm just flew by, circumcision is NOT "cutting someone's wang".

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ahhell

WAT?

Sine when is circumcision cutting someone's wang?

In case that sarcasm just flew by, circumcision is NOT "cutting someone's wang".

Uh.... :huh:

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James7

Sounds like some are not circumcised and jealous :) circumcision nowadays have nothing to do religion and not having is done is completely disgusting. Totally happy that my parents decided it for me.

I guess different people have different views about the aesthetics of the situation.

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