DER SPIEGEL, FT DEUTSCHLAND (Germany)
COLOGNE - A court in Germanys western city of Cologne has banned the circumcision of young people for religious reasons. The court has deemed that the religious practice, part of both Jewish and Muslim traditions, amounted to bodily harm. Judges did allow that boys who declared they wanted to be circumcised could still have the operation.
The ban, which does not apply to circumcisions performed for health reasons, has caused much uproar in Germany. On Wednesday, Jewish and Muslim groups banded together to condemn the ruling, according to the Financial Times Deutschland, with Germanys Central Council of Muslims calling the sentence a "blatant and inadmissible interference" in the rights of parents.
Dieter Grauman, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany has called the ruling an"outrageous and insensitive" act, Spiegel reports.
The ruling, which will only apply to the Cologne region of Germany, comes from the case of a doctor prosecuted for circumcising a four-year-old Muslim boy in November 2010. The operation led to the boy seriously bleeding two days after being circumcised. The doctor was ultimately acquitted on the grounds that he had not broken any law.
In Germany, fewer than 20 percent of boys are circumcised, compared to 56% in the United States in 2005, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.