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Ritual circumcisions have resumed in the Cologne region of Germany, ending a controversy started in a Cologne court in June, when judges decided ritual circumcision constituted “bodily harm” to boys and religious coercion.

Though the court decision only prevented Jewish and Muslim circumcisions in one portion of Germany, religious rights groups decried the decision and feared the legal precedent would lead to the ban of circumcisions throughout the country.

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The groups invoked Germany’s history of religious intolerance and vowed to fight for ritual circumcisions in the courts and through public campaigns.

The Justice Ministry has issued new legislation to reinstate ritual circumcisions, but only provided that families endure a thorough medical elucidation of the risks and processes of circumcision by a professional, and utilize “the most effective pain relief possible” when performing the ceremony.  The legislation is still pending.

Approximately 4 million Muslims and 120,000 Jews live in Germany.

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Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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