A German court has ruled that circumcising young boys, even for religious purposes, amounts to grievous bodily harm, a decision that the Jewish community has said trampled on parents’ religious rights.
Yahoo News reports that the regional court of Cologne, Germany made the ruling on Tuesday, adding that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents.” The judgement is expected to set a legal precedent. The court added that:
“The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised.”
Reuters reports that the Central Council of Jews in Germany’s President Dieter Graumann stated:
“Circumcision for young boys is a solid component of the Jewish religion and has been practiced worldwide for millennia. This religious right is respected in every country around the world.”
The Central Council of Muslims in Germany has also released a statement, saying that:
“Freedom of religion is highly valued in our constitution and cannot be the play-thing of a one-dimensional case law which, furthermore, consolidates existing prejudices and stereotypes.”
The New York Times reports that Holm Putzke, a criminal law expert at the University of Passau, has stated that the ruling is not binding for other courts, but could be a welcome signal for them to rule the same way. Putzke stated:
“After the knee-jerk outrage has faded away, hopefully a discussion will begin about how much religiously motivated violence against children a society is ready to tolerate.”
Do you think religious circumcision is a parental right, or is the German court correct to make parents wait until the child can decide for himself?