Middle East

Jews, Muslims unite to condemn German circumcision ruling

A boy cries as he is circumcised by a doctor during a mass circumcision in Medan, located in Indonesia's North Sumatra province July 4, 2012. About 116 boys participated in a free mass circumcision provided by a local foundation during the school holidays. (REUTERS/Ronni Bintang)

BERLIN: Jewish and Muslim groups have issued a joint call for German lawmakers to protect the right to circumcise boys after a court ruling against the rite sent shockwaves through their communities.

Several Jewish and Islamic organisations said in a statement released Wednesday that they had met with legal and medical experts and European Parliament deputies in Brussels this week to discuss the court's decision.

"We consider this to be an affront (to) our basic religious and human rights," the joint appeal said.

"Circumcision is an ancient ritual that is fundamental to our individual faiths and we protest in the strongest possible terms this court ruling.

"To that end we will vigorously defend our right to maintain our mutual tradition and call on the German parliament and all political parties to intervene in overruling this decision as a matter of urgency."

The unusual joint statement was signed by leaders of groups including the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, the European Jewish Parliament, the European Jewish Association, Germany's Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs and the Islamic Centre Brussels.

They met with MEPs from Germany, Finland, Belgium, Italy and Poland, according to the statement released by the Turkish-Islamic Union.

The June 26 ruling by the regional court in Cologne that circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounted to grievous bodily harm has caused international uproar.

Jewish and Muslim groups had each demanded that the German parliament establish clear legal protections for the rite, calling the issue a matter of religious freedom.





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