PreviousNext

Circumcision ban in Germany 'worst attack on Jews since Holocaust'

By // News | Circumcision ban in Germany 'worst attack on Jews since Holocaust'
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
  • Circumcision has been practised for 4,000 years by the Jewish community and cannot be changed, says rabbi

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 04:13 EST, 13 July 2012 | UPDATED: 04:13 EST, 13 July 2012

A German court's ban on circumcising baby boys has provoked a rare show of unity between Jews, Muslims and Christians who see it as a threat to religious freedom.

Doctors have also warned it could increase health risks by forcing the practice underground.

President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Pinchas Goldschmidt, has furiously condemned the decision by a German court to ban circumcision

President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Pinchas Goldschmidt (right), has furiously condemned the decision by a German court to ban circumcision

European rabbis meeting in Berlin yesterday promised to defy the ruling by a court in the city of Cologne last month. They plan further talks with Muslim and Christian leaders in Stuttgart next week to see how they can fight the ban together.

'We urge the Jewish community in Germany and circumcisers to continue to perform circumcisions and not to wait for a change in the law,' said the chief rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt.

Goldschmidt said outlawing circumcision was the 'worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust.' He demanded that Angela Merkel's government intervened to guarantee their religious rights.

He added that the the ban is a new example of creeping prejudice in European law against non-Christians, after a Swiss ban on minarets, French and Belgian bans on Islamic veils in public, and an attempted Dutch ban on halal meat.

The Cologne court took action after police were alerted by a doctor who treated a Muslim boy for bleeding after he underwent circumcision. It emphasised it did not ban circumcision, but wanted families to wait until their sons were older. So far the ban applies only to the area of the Cologne court's jurisdiction.

In a country that is sensitive to charges of intolerance and discrimination, especially against Jews because of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis during World War Two, many politicians including the foreign minister have criticised the ruling.

Germany is home to about 120,000 Jews and 4 million Muslims. Many of the latter are originally from Turkey, which also condemned last month's court ruling.

The rabbis have lobbied members of the German and European parliaments to push for legislation that would stop the ban from being copied by other parts of Germany and Europe. This could be done via a law to exempt religious minorities, similar to that which permits the religious preparation of kosher and halal meat.

Jewish and Muslim religious leaders met European Parliament officials in Brussels this week to complain about what they called 'an affront to our basic religious and human rights'.

The father of a baby boy reads a prayer before giving the Mohel the blade for a circumcision

The father of a baby boy reads a prayer before giving the Mohel the blade for a circumcision

Germany's opposition Greens promised to help seek legislation that would entrench religious freedoms for Jews and Muslims.

'After the summer break we want to discuss with experts and relevant groups whether there is a way to tackle this problem in a legal way and to guarantee the legal rights of Jews and Muslims,' said senior Green lawmaker Renate Kuenast.

Jews usually circumcise male infants eight days after birth, while the time for Muslim circumcision varies according to family, religion and country.

'Circumcision represents the basis for belonging to the Jewish community. It has been practised for 4,000 years and cannot be changed,' Goldschmidt said.

The 40 rabbis attending the Berlin conference decided to gather Jewish circumcisers in Germany into one association to further guarantee safety standards in the operation.

'Jewish families having babies now don't know how to behave because they are afraid. Circumcisers continuously call us to ask whether they can perform circumcisions or not. Things cannot continue like this,' said German rabbi Avichai Apel.

The head of the German Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, said the ban meant there was 'an increased risk of this task being performed by lay people which, because of poor hygiene conditions, could lead to serious complications'.

But Montgomery said he sadly had to advise his colleagues to refrain from performing the operation until the legal situation had been clarified, 'otherwise they could face prosecution'.

The World Health Organisation cites research showing that male circumcision can reduce the risk of AIDS, and 44 members of parliament in Zimbabwe underwent circumcision in June to promote awareness of HIV/AIDS.

Germany's ambassador to Israel has assured lawmakers there that Berlin will try to resolve the problem quickly, while the justice minister has advised the Jewish and Muslim communities to seek redress via Germany's Constitutional Court.

'I see that within a democracy there are different bodies taking part in the lawmaking process but from our point of view, the deadline is not tomorrow but yesterday,' responded Rabbi Goldschmidt.

He warned that many of Germany's Jewish community, which has grown from just 3,000 in 1945 following the Holocaust, could end up emigrating if Germany cannot ensure full religious freedom.

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Cheating map of UK reveals Maidenhead to be Britain's most adulterous town

One of the richest towns in Britain also has the highest number of people having extramarital affairs, according to new research. Wealthy Maidenhead tops a new ... Full story

Trainee teacher hangs himself after split from the girlfriend he couldn’t live without

A trainee teacher hanged himself on New Year’s Eve after a split from his girlfriend, an inquest heard today. Keiran Walsh, 22, split from his partner ... Full story

White Dee, Benefits Street's most infamous and shameless resident

Late on a dark and rainy night, it is all go-go-go down at White Dee’s house in Birmingham. There is a pan of fish stew ... Full story

DJ Chris Moyles claimed to be a second-hand CAR DEALER to save £1 million in celebrity tax avoidance scheme

DJ Chris Moyles claimed to be a second-hand car dealer while presenting Radio 1’s Breakfast Show in a bid to save up to £1million in ... Full story

Kym Marsh fling with personal trainer, Matt Baker

Her marriage to Jamie Lomas ended in October and now Kym Marsh has sparked romance rumours after spending Valentine's weekend in Paris with her personal ... Full story

Nicole Scherzinger shows off a bit too much

NICOLE Scherzinger and fellow leading ladies at this year's Brits spent hours getting ready for the big night.But once the after-parties kicked in, their extensive ... Full story

Mother arrested after11-month-old daughter mauled to death by dog

A mother has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after her “beautiful and adorable” 11-month-old daughter was mauled to death by a dog.Ava Jayne Marie ... Full story

London Tube strike cancelled after last minute talks

A planned 48-hour strike by London Underground workers in a row over ticket office closures has been called off after a last-minute deal was agreed.Members ... Full story

First woman bishop in the Church of England could be appointed ‘by Christmas’

The first woman bishop in the Church of England could be appointed before the end of this year, the Church’s most senior official has disclosed.William ... Full story

Bank of England must move away from its rigid unemployment target or risk losing credibility

The Bank of England must "get back to basics" and move away from its rigid unemployment target or risk losing credibility, former Bank policymakers have ... Full story

Hollywood child star Shirley Temple dies at age 85

Shirley Temple, the American actress, singer and dancer, has died at her home in California from natural causes.Temple, who began her film career in 1932 ... Full story

Comment on: Circumcision ban in Germany 'worst attack on Jews since Holocaust'

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Paul Weller wins damages from Mail Online for 'plastering' site with images of his children

Paul Weller has won £10,000 in damages from the Mail Online, after images of his children were “plastered” across the site. The Jam frontman sued ...

Giant rats: More pictures of huge rodents emerge

More 'giant rats' appear to have been spotted, after pictures of sizeable rodents discovered in or near the homes of people across England have emerged. ...

Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp standing with 'hand on the door handle' when she was shot dead

Reeva Steenkamp was standing with her hand "on the door handle" before Oscar Pistorius shot her dead through a locked toilet door, his murder trial ...

Human bones belonging to small child discovered under driveway in Purley, south London

A skeleton has been found by builders underneath a driveway in Purley, south London. The discovery was made by landscape gardeners who were working in the ...

Female Genital Mutilation: Teachers told to 'check holiday plans' of children at risk of FGM

Teachers and schools should check on the holiday arrangements of pupils from communities which practice female genital mutilation (FGM), a conference was told. Delegates at the ...

Peaches Geldof dead: Australia’s Next Top Model judging role lined up for star following suicide of model mentor Charlotte Dawson

Peaches Geldof was in secret talks with the producers of talent show Australia’s Next Top Model for a high-profile judging role, following the tragic death ...

Floating wind turbines could provide cheap energy in far-flung corners of the world

A new sort of inflatable wind turbine that floats thousands of feet above the ground could be a powerful source of sustainable, low cost energy ...

Debate: Society is too relaxed about marijuana

Young people who smoke marijuana may be at risk of “major” changes to the area of the brain that regulates motivation, a new study claims. Our ...

Benefits Street producer confirms new series Immigration Street in the pipeline

The production company behind controversial documentary Benefits Street has said it is developing a new series about immigrants in Britain. Love Productions has confirmed it is ...