German court’s circumcision ban for young boys meets wave of criticism
Germany’s foreign minister has added his voice to a chorus of criticism of a court decision to ban the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, arguing that such traditions must be permitted in a tolerant society.
“Germany is an open-minded, tolerant country where religious freedom is firmly established and religious traditions like circumcision are considered an expression of religious pluralism,” Guido Westerwelle told the daily Bild in an interview published in its Friday edition (here in German).
A court in Cologne ruled on Tuesday that involuntary religious circumcision should be illegal as it could inflict serious bodily harm on people who had not consented to it.
The ruling, which applies only to the area around the western city of Cologne but sparked fears among Muslims and Jews in particular that other German states could copy the ban, said boys can consciously decide to be circumcised later in life.
According to the court ruling, “the fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighs the fundamental rights of the parents”.
Westerwelle said the ruling caused “irritation” around the world after being reported in the international media.