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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘German’

German state of Berlin Declares Circumcision, Not Brit Milah, Legal

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Berlin became the first of Germany’s 16 states to declare circumcision legal, following a Cologne court ruling in June that non-medical circumcisions on children amounted to a criminal offense, according to the German news agency DPA. National legislation is pending to legalize circumcision.

But, the state of Berlin has authorized only doctors, and not mohels, to perform circumcisions; the national legislation could authorize mohels. The state also required that parents be informed of the procedure’s medical risks before consenting, and that doctors do everything possible during the procedure to reduce pain and limit bleeding.

June’s court ruling has led many doctors to stop performing circumcisions in order to avoid being prosecuted. Two rabbis have had complaints brought against them based on the ruling, though one complaint was dropped last week.

JTA

In Germany, Turkish Muslims Hope for Muslim Majority

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Nearly half of all Turks living in Germany say they hope there will be more Muslims than Christians in Germany in the future, according to a new survey of Turkish-German mores and attitudes.7

The study also shows that Islam is becoming an increasingly important component of the value structure of Turks in Germany, especially among the younger generation of Turkish-Germans, who hold religious views more radical than their elders’ views are.

The findings have filled many Germans with a sense of foreboding and are certain to contribute to the ongoing debate (herehere and here) about Muslim integration (or, rather, lack of it) in Germany.

The 103-page study, “German-Turkish Life and Values” (abridged version in German here), was jointly produced by the Berlin-based INFO polling institute and the Antalya, Turkey-based Liljeberg research firm, and was released to the public on August 17, as a follow-up to similar studies conducted in 2009 and 2010. It aims to determine just how satisfied the estimated 2.7 million Turks living in Germany are with their life there.

Of those Turks surveyed, 27% were born in Germany (77% of 15- to 29-year-olds were born in Germany) and 39% have lived in Germany for at least 30 years. Only 15% of Turks, however, consider Germany to be their home — compared to 21% in 2009, and 18% in 2010.

The survey also shows that labor migration is no longer the main reason why Turks immigrate to Germany; only one in five respondents said they had gone to Germany to look for work. Rather, the most important reason Turks gave for immigrating to Germany was to marry a partner who lived there. More than half of the Turkish women interviewed said they moved to Germany for that reason.

In the area of language, the survey shows a major generational gap. Overall, only 37% of Turkish-origin men and 27% of Turkish-origin women speak better German than Turkish. Nevertheless, in the 15 to 29 age category, 75% of those surveyed speak better German than Turkish. Meanwhile, those in the 30 to 49 age category, 71% of those surveyed speak better Turkish than German.

While 91% of Turks surveyed believe that Turkish-origin children need to learn German from an early age, 90% also say that children absolutely must learn Turkish. A growing number of Turks (53%) believe that German teachers of Turkish-origin children need to understand the Turkish language to be able to help children having difficulty with the German language.

In the area of hypothetical voting patterns, the vast majority (80%) of Turks surveyed say they would vote for leftwing or far-leftwing parties if they were able to vote in Germany. 50% said they would vote for the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), 26% would vote for the leftwing Green party and 5% would vote for the far-left Die Linke. Only 13% would vote for the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU).

Almost all Turks surveyed (95%) said it is absolutely necessary for them to preserve their Turkish identity; in a sign indicating that efforts at integration have a long way to go, 62% said they would rather be around Turks than around Germans (in the 2010 survey, it was 40%). Only 39% of Turks said that Germans were trustworthy.

At the same time, 87% of those surveyed said they believe that German society should make a great effort to be considerate of the customs and traditions of Turkish immigrants.

Of those Turks surveyed, 72% believe that Islam is the only true religion (in the 2010 survey, it was 69%); 18% say Jews are inferior people and 10% say Christians are inferior.

Arguably the most sobering finding of the study is that 46% of Turks say they hope that Germany will one day have more Muslims than Christians (in the 2010 survey, it was 33%). More than half of Turks (55%) believe that Germany should build more mosques.

More than 90% of Turks surveyed consider themselves to be religious; only 9% label themselves as “not religious” (37% say they are highly religious). The survey shows high levels of religiosity (91%) among the younger generation of Turks (ages 15 to 29) living in Germany.

Soeren Kern

Rabbi Lau: I Didn’t See Such German Sensitivity to Jewish Blood During the Holocaust

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Rabbi Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and Holocaust Survivor, attacked the Germans today with harsh words. Rabbi Lau said, “We don’t need their permission to live as Jews,” and added that, “I didn’t see such German sensitivity to Jewish blood during the Shoah.”

“It’s amazing, German spokesmen are sensitive to the cries of a baby and a drop of spilled blood like I did not see in my childhood. Then, Jewish children’s blood was worthless and trampled on by the boots of the Gestapo, while tens of millions of Germans collaberated or stood by and watched.”

Rabbi Lau continued to say that Jews don’t have anything to look for in Germany, but that we must fight this anti-Semitic law.

Rabbi Lau also attacked the idea, proposed by Rabbi Metzger, that German doctors would teach or certify Jewish Mohels on how to perform Brit Mila, he added that Rabbi David Goldberg, who was just arrested, has performed over 3000 successful circumcisions.

Jewish Press Staff

Israel’s Chief Rabbi in Germany to Help Resolve Circumcision Crisis

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

After a rabbi in Bavaria, Germany, has been slapped with criminal charges of committing bodily harm, in the first known case to arise from an anti-circumcision ruling in May, Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has arrived in Germany for talks aimed at resolving the controversy over the legality of religious circumcision.

The charge against Rabbi David Goldberg, who is a mohel, or ritual circumciser, means that the May decision in the state of Hesse has been applied in Bavaria, confirming the fears of Jewish leaders here that the local ruling would have a wider impact.

Rabbi Goldberg, 64, a Jerusalem native living in Hof Saale in Bavaria, told JTA he had not yet received a notice from the court. He said he would decide what to do after he had seen it. The criminal charge was reported by the main Jewish newspaper of Germany, the Juedische Allgemeine Zeitung.

The rabbi also said he did not know what act the charges could refer to, since he has not performed any circumcisions recently in Germany. “Only abroad: in Budapest, in the Czech Republic, in Italy,” he said.

Still, Rabbi Goldberg said no secular ruling would stop him from performing brit milah in Germany as well. If a family in Germany came to him with a request to perform a circumcision, Goldberg said he would ask the Central Council of Jews in Germany what to do. “A few weeks ago, they said, ‘You can continue,'” he said.

German lawmakers and Israeli, Jewish and Muslim dignitaries have urged the German government to draft a law this fall explicitly permitting circumcision.

In June, a Cologne court concluded that circumcision amounts to bodily harm — a ruling that doesn’t amount to a ban but worried Jewish and Muslim groups.

Chief Rabbi Metzger said on Tuesday that Jews are commanded by God to circumcise their male children on their 8th day.

He said that after his meetings at the Justice Ministry a compromise is emerging, whereby mohels would receive additional medical training.

Goldberg said regional journalists had informed him of the criminal charges against him, saying it had been filed by a doctor in the state of Hessen who had gathered 600 signatures in an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel that supported the anti-circumcision ruling.

Merkel and the German parliament have said that they intend to push for legislation to ensure that Jews and Muslims have the right to carry out the religious ritual.

The original ruling in May related to a Muslim family in Cologne whose son suffered complications after his circumcision. The court found that non-medical circumcision of a minor is a criminal act. Although the ruling was local, it has alarmed traditional Jews and Muslims across the country. Virtually all Jewish denominations have joined in condemning the ruling.

Meanwhile, JTA reported that anecdotal evidence shows that Jewish ritual circumcisions continue to be performed in Germany despite the ruling’s chilling effect. Although several hospitals have declared moratoriums on the practice for now, brit milah is being performed in private homes and in synagogues.

The head of the Conference of European Rabbis, Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, told JTA: “This latest development in Hof, Germany, is yet another grave affront to religious freedom and underlines the urgent need for the German government to expedite the process of ensuring that the fundamental rights of minority communities are protected.”

Jacob Edelist

Germany: ‘Islamists Want to Bring Jihad to Europe’

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

German Intelligence Chief Gerhard Schindler has issued a warning saying that Europe is at great risk of terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists.

In a wide-ranging interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, Schindler said the German foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), is particularly concerned about the threat posed by homegrown terrorists, individuals who are either born or raised in Europe and who travel to war zones like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia or Yemen to obtain training in terrorist methods.

Schindler said: “A particular threat stems from Al Qaeda structures in Yemen. They want to bring Jihad to Europe. Among other tactics, this involves the ‘lone wolf’ model, which involves individuals who are citizens of the targeted country and who go abroad for training. We know that this is strategy is currently high on Al Qaeda’s agenda, and we are accordingly attentive.”

Schindler’s comments came just days after Spanish authorities arrested three suspected al Qaeda terrorists who were allegedly plotting an airborne attack on a shopping mall near Gibraltar, the British overseas territory on the southernmost tip of Spain.

Schindler’s warning also comes amid the backdrop of a high-security court trial of four suspected Al Qaeda members which began in the German city of Düsseldorf on July 25. German public prosecutors say the defendants — three home grown Islamists born in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and one Moroccan national — were planning to stage a “sensational terror attack” in Germany.

Also known as the “Düsseldorfer Cell,” the defendants are also accused of plotting to assassinate the former commander of German Special Forces (KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte) as well as to attack the US Army base in the Bavarian town of Grafenwöhr.

German authorities began monitoring the group in early 2010, when the American Central Intelligence Agency alerted German police to the fact that the Moroccan, Abdeladim el-Kebir, 31, had entered Germany after having been trained at an Al Qaeda camp in Waziristan along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2010.

German public prosecutors say El-Kebir, also known as Abi al-Barra, was the ringleader of the Düsseldorfer Cell and, following orders from an unidentified senior Al-Qaeda operative, in November 2010 began working on a plot to blow up public buildings, train stations and airports in Germany. After several months of surveillance by German police, El-Kebir was arrested in April 2011.

Before his arrest, El-Kebir also recruited three accomplices he knew from his student days in the German city of Bochum: a 32-year-old German-Moroccan named Jamil Seddiki, a 21-year-old German-Iranian named Amid Chaabi, and a 28-year-old German named citizen Halil Simsek. The three were arrested in Germany in December 2011.

Prosecutors say that Seddiki was in charge of producing explosives while Chaabi and Simsek were responsible for communications with the al Qaeda leadership.

During testimony in court, it emerged that all four defendants led inconspicuous lives. Simsek, for example, who was born in the German city of Gelsenkirchen, earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Bochum. He had wanted to become a German police officer but his application was rejected for medical reasons. Chaabi, who was born in Bochum, was studying Information Technology at the University of Hagen when he was arrested. Seddiki, a high school graduate, was working as an electrician.

Prosecutors have compiled 260 ring-binders containing evidence gathered by investigators; the prosecutor’s arraignment runs to 500 pages. The main accusation against the men is that they set up a terrorist cell and prepared to commit murder.

Federal Prosecutor Michael Bruns told the court that the defendants “planned to carry out a spectacular and startling attack” in Germany and that the defendants “wanted to spread fear and horror.”

The trial is expected to run for 30 days; a verdict is expected in November. If the four accused men are found guilty, they face up to ten years in prison.

(In November 2011, a federal court in Brooklyn, New York indicted el-Kebir on charges of conspiring to provide Al-Qaeda with explosives and training. If extradited and convicted, el-Kebir faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.)

Underscoring German officialdom’s anxiety over home grown Islamic terrorism, the German state of Lower Saxony recently published a practical guide to extremist Islam to help citizens identify tell-tale signs of Muslims who are becoming radicalized.

Soeren Kern

Hungarian Lawyer Seeks Indictment against Nazi Hunter Efraim Zuroff

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

A Hungarian lawyer has urged authorities to charge Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff with making “false statements” against an alleged war criminal.

Attorney Futo Barnabas said Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, should be indicted for leveling false allegations against Laszlo Csatary, whom police arrested last month. Zuroff gave testimonies to Budapest prosecutors that Csatary had organized deportations of Hungarian Jews from Kosice in 1941 and 1944.

Prosecutors dismissed the 1941 charges last week as “unsubstantiated” but are still investigating those pertaining to 1944.

Citing the dismissal, Barnabas told the conservative newspaper Magyar Nemzet that “there are valid grounds to charge Zuroff with deliberately making a false accusation.” The offense, which is meant to discourage libelous complaints, carries a five-year prison sentence, according to Barnabas.

Contacted by JTA, Barnabas said in German that he would only agree to be interviewed in Hungarian.

A spokeswoman for the Budapest prosecutor’s office, Bettina Bagoly, is quoted as telling the Hungarian paper that she was not aware of any pending investigation against Zuroff.

In 1944, Csatary was a police officer in Kassa, now Kosice in Slovakia. He is accused of organizing transports of at least 15,000 Jews to the Ukraine.

Csatary fled to Canada in 1949 after a Czechoslovakian court sentenced him in absentia to death for war crimes. He returned to Budapest 15 years ago, after Ottawa annulled his Canadian citizenship.

Based on Zuroff’s research, The Sun newspaper of London reported on Csatary’s whereabouts in July. Budapest’s chief prosecutor said on July 17 that the research “contains no new evidence.” Csatary was nonetheless placed under house arrest the next day.

Last year, a Budapest court acquitted Zuroff of libel charges. Sandor Kepiro, then a suspected war criminal, sued Zuroff for voicing the suspicions. Kepiro was acquitted last year.

JTA

20 Bipartisan Congressmen Voice ‘Deep Concern’ over German Circumcision Ban

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

A bipartisan group of 20 Congressmen sent a letter to the German government expressing “deep concern” over a recent German court decision to effectively ban circumcision on young boys.

Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), authored the letter, which was addressed to Peter Ammon, the German ambassador to the United States.

The District Court of Cologne court recently ruled that the right of a child to be protected from bodily harm took precedence over the interests of the parents or religious freedom. Accordingly, the court said, the circumcision of a minor for non-medical reasons could be considered a criminal act.

The letter by the congressmen called the June 26 court decision “an affront to religious freedom.”

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, which represents about 1,000 congregations, praised the letter. Circumcision, it wrote in a press release, is “a fundamental ritual and sacred rite of passage for both the Jewish and Muslim communities. Throughout history, the prohibition of Brit Milah has been tantamount to rejection of the Jewish community’s existence.”

The letter to the ambassador also “applauded the strong opposition voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle” and called on them to pass legislation that would safeguard religious freedom.

“Europe has experienced a troubling uptick in measures that violate religious freedom by undermining core religious tenets, such as the Dutch initiative to ban ritual slaughter and this new effort in Germany to outlaw ritual circumcision,” Waxman said in a press release. “We must ensure that Germany follows through on its commitment to resolve this controversy.”

Berman added in the release, “A not so veiled assault on tenets central to religious expression is underway in Europe’s courts and legislatures. We must let it be known to our friends in a clear and unequivocal voice that such measures are harmful assaults on religious freedom and should not continue.”

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/20-bipartisan-congressmen-voice-deep-concern-over-german-circumcision-ban/2012/08/11/

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