Wednesday, June 27, 2012

German Jews Angry at Anti-Circumcision Law

JTA (via the Forward) has an article answering some of the questions I was asking in the previous post. Apparently the Cologne court is a district court, and its decision is not binding on any of the other 55 district courts. "The ruling could be appealed to a higher court, and is not binding unless there is a decision by the High Court of Justice or High Constitutional Court."

Does that mean, however, that its ruling is binding for its district, meaning that Jews or Muslims in Cologne could not circumcise their male children? There is still a Jewish community in Cologne of several thousand people, with a very active synagogue.
But the ruling suggests that those performing circumcisions in the future would be committing a criminal offense, since the court holds the right of the child sacrosanct. Berlin attorney Nathan Gelbart worries about the notion that “the parents have to accept that only the child can decide about his religion when he grows up, and that circumcision is a pre-decision” being forced on the child.
Holm Putzke, who was quoted in the previous article, is a professor of criminal law at the University of Passau, "has argued for several years for a ban on involuntary circumcision, [and] told JTA he hoped the ruling would spark discussion in Germany about 'what should be given more weight - religious freedom or the right of children not to have their genitals mutilated.'”

Perhaps Putzke should study his own country's history more carefully to see how anti-semites even before the Third Reich denounced circumcision and Jewish ritual slaughter as barbaric.
In late 1999, Germany’s top court ruled in favor of religious freedom, protecting the right to Islamic ritual slaughter and, by association, kosher slaughter. The ruling came after an Islamic butcher challenged a 1995 German law banning the slaughter of animals without stunning them first – something that is against the laws of kosher and hallal.
If the case comes to the high court, let's hope that it rules the same way in favor of permitting Jews or Muslims to circumcise their sons.

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