German court says parents may not decide on religious circumcision for their sons

The Algemeiner as well as the Jewish Press report that a district court in Cologne, Germany ruled this week in an appeal from a trial court’s decision that parents do not have the right to decide on religious circumcision for their sons. The court said that non-medically necessary circumcision causes “serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body.” The court went on to hold that circumcision “contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs.” It held that the parents’ rights to provide for their children and their religious freedom are not sufficient justifications for imposing the harm caused by circumcision. According to Haaretz, the case grew out of a suit brought by German authorities against a Muslim doctor after his botched circumcision on a 4-year old boy caused the boy to be rushed to an emergency room. While the court held that doctors in the future can only perform circumcision for health-related reasons, it acquitted the doctor involved in this case because it was not clear previously that his conduct was illegal. Criticizing the court’s decision, Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg of the Rabbinical Center of Europe said: “The decision is contrary to human rights charter of the European Union, to which the German legal system is committed, and undermines the basic right to worship in the German Constitution.” [Thanks to Matthew Crawley for the lead.]