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German Court Bans Religious Circumcision



COLOGNE - A court in Germany's 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 Germany's 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.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Israel's Choice Right Now: Halt "Collective Punishment" Or Lose U.S. Support

As fighting has resumed and intensified in the southern area of the Palestinian territory, more and more criticism builds from around the world. How much longer can Israel fight this war for if it loses the support of even its most steadfast allies?

Photograph of Palestinians carry an injured man following the Israeli bombing on Khan Yunis. They are surrounded by people and photographers.

December 1, 2023, Khan Yunis, Gaza: Palestinians carry an injured man following the Israeli bombing on Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza

Saher Alghorra/ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — Can Israel wage its war in Gaza without caring about the opinion of its allies?

Since fighting resumed in the Palestinian territory on Friday, serious disagreements have emerged with the United States and, to a lesser extent, with France. It is the disagreements with the U.S. that carry significant consequences: Washington plays a vital role in this conflict by supplying weapons and deploying a considerable military apparatus to deter the regional expansion of the confrontation.

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This weekend, both Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris expressed serious reservations about how Israel is conducting its operations. The issue at hand is the massive aerial strikes on densely populated areas, resulting in a considerable number of civilian casualties.

These criticisms came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel last week on the eve of the resumption of hostilities, urging Benjamin Netanyahu to change to a strategy that better protects civilians. Israel chose not to heed this advice, resulting in the current diplomatic tensions.

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