Last updated at 16:41 BST, Monday, 16 July 2012

German circumcision ruling


16 July 2012

A court in Cologne, Germany has ruled that removing the foreskin of young boys for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm. European Jewish and Muslim groups have joined forces to protest against the decision and defend their right to perform the act on religious grounds.


Stephen Evans

Discreet photo of circumcision

Jewish and Muslim groups in Germany want legal protection for the rite of circumcision


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Muslim and Jewish groups have come together and met members of the European Parliament in the Bundestag to express their strong opposition to the ruling.

A joint statement said, 'we consider this to be an affront to our basic religious and human rights'; adding, 'circumcision is an ancient ritual that is fundamental to our individual faiths and we protest in the strongest possible terms against this court ruling.'

Meanwhile, Germany's doctors have been told not to carry out circumcisions except where medically necessary, for fear of prosecution.

The country's government is clearly uneasy about the ruling, particularly after accusations that it was inappropriate for the country of the Holocaust to outlaw a fundamental ritual of Judaism. The foreign minister said that circumcision was, 'an expression of religious pluralism.' Jewish and Muslim groups are now working together to get the court decision overturned.


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German parliament building in Berlin

strong opposition

intense resistance

an affront

an insult, an indignity


(for males) the surgical removal of the foreskin on the penis


religious act or ceremony


uncomfortable, nervous

the Holocaust

the mass killing of European Jews and others by the Nazis during World War 2


to ban, to make illegal


diversity of ideas and viewpoints



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