German Ruling ‘Milestone’ in Religious Freedom

Jewish groups have praised the decision by the German Parliament to approve a law, by a vote of 434 to 100, with 46 abstentions, to allow religious circumcision.

“The Bundestag action is a welcome affirmation of Germany’s commitment to religious freedom,” said Deidre Berger, director of American Jewish Committee’s Berlin Office.

“Circumcision is critical to Jewish and Muslim religious life,” said Berger. “The German parliament’s action should put to rest reprehensible allegations that Jewish and Muslim religious upbringing violates children’s rights and endangers the welfare of children.”

Wednesday’s vote followed a prolonged public debate prompted by a local German court ruling in Cologne in June, which determined that circumcision is a criminally liable procedure. While having limited jurisdictional validity, the Cologne judgment sparked national and global controversy on the legal and medical consequences of circumcision.