Around 20 organizations representing four million Muslim residents of Germany, announced that the parliament must ensure religious freedom by removing legal doubts about circumcision since the June 26 court ruling, AFP reports.
“We call on the German Bundestag (lower house) and the government to act as quickly as possible to put an end to this legal insecurity and establish legal safeguards allowing the circumcision of boys,” said Gurcan Mert of the Turkish Islamic Union, who said he was representing the other groups as well.
A panel of judges in Cologne found that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents,” and that “The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised.”
The ruling was criticized in no uncertain terms by the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, who also urged Parliament to clarify the legal status of religious circumcision, in a manner that would protect religious freedom.
Ali Kizilkaya, spokesman for the Coordinating Council of Muslims in Germany, said the ruling was a “big blow against integration.”
“Germany is a state based on the rule of law where rights, in particular religious liberties, are very important, and I think that a ban [on circumcision] would not be good for Germany or Germany’s image and concept of rights,” he said.
“I hope this will be corrected quickly,” he concluded.
AFP quoted Ramazan Kuruguz from the conference of regional Islamic organizations, who said that the Muslim groups are in contact with Jewish and Christian leaders, discussing how to pressure politicians to enact a law that clearly sanctions circumcision.
On Sunday Germany’s foreign minister Guido Westerwelle issued a statement saying that “the free exercise of religion is protected in Germany. That includes religious traditions. All our partners in the world should know that.”
According to ABC News, Volker Beck, a senior Green Party lawmaker, was non-committal on whether a “correction” of the Cologne ruling should be sought through the court system or through new legislation. But he, too, reaffirmed the need for clarity that circumcision on religious grounds is justified.
Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, on Sunday released a statement saying, “We would hope that in Germany of all places … Jewish life would be allowed to flourish without restriction.”
Kantor also urged the German government “to exercise its authority and take a clear stand against this ruling and in line with the German constitution which guarantees religious freedom.”
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