ISSN 2330-717X

Germany Against Circumcision – OpEd


By Anastasiya Pershkina

Germany is not going to ban circumcision of children from Jewish and Muslim communities. It has been stated by Chancellor Angela Merkel. As a matter of fact, her words don’t have the validity of the law, and her promises will not necessarily be kept. The members of Parliament are to decide the fate of this religious ritual.

The infamous discussion of circumcision in Germany began in the end of June, when the land court of the city of Cologne recognized this ritual as unlawful. The reason for this decision was the case of a 4-year-old boy who started bleeding heavily after this ritual and was put in a hospital. German judges decided that the ritual was dangerous for the child’s health. Lawyers from all over Germany started talking about the way this court order could serve as a precedent in resolving similar cases in other regions, and that prohibition of circumcision could be introduced throughout the country in the future.Representatives of the Cologne Court are trying to reassure the public. Chairman of the panel of judges of the Cologne Land Court, Dr. Dirk Esser has declared that such a judgment had been made in one specific case only, and was not necessarily to be repeated.

“Since it is the decision of the land court, and not the decision of the Supreme Court, for example, it cannot influence other courts’ judgment s. And another court can interpret the issue of whether parents’ activities based on religious reasons are lawful from a different standpoint. If another similar case is brought before the court, the judgement may be the same as the Cologne Land Court’s judgement, and it may be the opposite, because religious will of parents has a greater influence, and circumcision does not contradict the law. In this case, the judge decided that the law was violated.”

This situation is an example of difficulties a European country and European culture faces while trying to adopt the policy of multiculturalism, German political analyst Alexander Rahr believes.

“In the past 20 years, Europe is experiencing a massive migration from the South, especially from Muslim countries of North Africa, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon. They are not a minority here anymore, in some areas they represent the majority, and they create their own subculture, which does not merge with the official culture. We need to find compromises. For many Germans it is very difficult. But there are people in Germany, especially among the politicians, who insist that we have no other choice, because it is too late already. Too many non-Germans are living in Germany now, who have their own traditions, their own mentality, and their own view of life.”

It will be very difficult for the Germans to oppose this custom, mainly because it is extremely important for two communities at the same time – Jewish and Muslim. And if they unite, they will have more chances to defend their traditions, – Rooshan Abyasov, the head of the international programs of the Russian Mufties Union, is sure.

“This issue affects not only one religious group, but both the Jewish and Muslim communities. Believers are outraged when the state that declares itself democratic prohibits such rituals, which are of a very positive nature. Jews and Muslims are united on this matter and, first of all, they are going to try and somehow resolve this problem within the legal framework by means of courts and other legal institutions that can protect their rights, and by means of legal mass actions.”

The German authorities should focus on a medical, and not on religious aspect of the problem, says the press-secretary of the Chief Rabbi of Russia Andrei Glotzer.

“I do not see any problem here, because a possibility of a medical inaccuracy or a medical error exists during any surgical operation, regardless of whether it is a circumcision or a removal of appendicitis. I think, itis absurd to prohibit the entire ceremony, which has been successfully existing for thousands of years, due to the fact that some doctor or a circumcision specialist can make a mistake.”

It is worth mentioning that this is not the only conflict between the European culture and different religious communities. Last year a resembling case happened in the United States. The authorities of San Francisco at first decided to hold a referendum on the issue of prohibiting circumcision, and then changed their decision and announced the necessity to respect different religious traditions. But here in France, during the past years they are only imposing bans, one after another: on wearing burqa, on public prayers, and so on.

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VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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