German Court Rules Against Circumcisions of Minors

In a move that one rabbi called “fatal to the freedom of religion,” a German court has ruled that boys cannot be circumcised because the practice inflicts bodily harm on children who are not able to give their own consent for the procedure.  The Guardian newspaper has more:

A judge at a Cologne court said that the circumcision of minors went against a child’s interests because it led to a physical alteration of the body, and because people other than the child were determining its religious affiliation.

Religious leaders said the court had stepped into a minefield with its decision, which undermined their religious authority and contravened Germany’s constitution.

Ali Demir, chairman of the Religious Community of Islam in Germany, said: “I find the ruling adversarial to the cause of integration and discriminatory against all the parties concerned.”

Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, called it “an egregious and insensitive measure” which amounted to “an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in religious communities’ right of determination.”

The ruling followed a lengthy legal battle, sparked when a Muslim couple decided to have their son circumcised, specifically for religious reasons, by a Muslim doctor in Cologne. The doctor, identified only as Dr K, carried out the circumcision on the four-year old boy in November 2010, before giving the wound four stitches. The same evening, he visited the family at home to check up on the boy. When the boy began bleeding again two days later, his parents took him to the casualty department of Cologne’s University hospital. The hospital contacted the police, who then launched an investigation. The doctor was charged with bodily harm, and the case was taken to court.

While the court acquitted Dr. K on the grounds that he had not broken any law, it concluded that circumcision of minors for religious reasons should be outlawed, and that neither parental consent nor religious freedom justified the procedure. It ruled that in future doctors who carried out circumcisions should be punished.

The court weighed up three articles from the basic law: the rights of parents, the freedom of religious practice and the right of the child to physical integrity, before coming to the conclusion that the procedure was not in the interests of the child.

It rejected the defence that circumcision is considered hygienic in many cultures, one of the main reasons it is carried out in the US, Britain and in Germany.

After much deliberation, it concluded that a circumcision, “even when done properly by a doctor with the permission of the parents, should be considered as bodily harm if it is carried out on a boy unable to give his own consent.”

Image: The German flag, via Shutterstock.

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  1. by Lydia Beiler

    On June 28, 2012 at 8:57 am

    This is ridiculous! Next we won’t be able to do anything for our children because it might not be what they want.

  2. by Rina

    On June 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    What about all those vaccines that we gave to the babies?

    My baby definitely hollered after he got each one. Should we ban those too since babies could not give their own consent to it?

    More and more stupid laws in Europe, and then they force third world countries for freedom of religion and speech.


  3. by Panzzer

    On June 29, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Genital mutilation is never a good thing.

  4. by jim

    On June 30, 2012 at 2:56 am

    there is a strong spiritual battle going on. parents are being striped of their rights. jews have been doing circumcisions for centuries. i guess that hitler is coming back to life.

  5. by alice

    On June 30, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Male circumcision should be required. Many medical studies have proven that circumcised penises are much more likely to contract and spread aids than uncircumcised ones

  6. by Megan

    On June 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Oh Alice, many medical studies have NOT PROVEN that a cut or altered penis is more likely to transmit aids, nor more likely to contract it. SINCE THE DAWN OF MAN, men have been BORN WITH A FORESKIN!!
    In the Bible, men got clipped, (meaning a little off the top, NOT a high and tight like they do now) When God instituted circumcision, it was as a symbol of the Old Covenant (sacrifice of one’s son, shedding of innocent blood, etc.), and as a prelude to the coming of the Sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus Christ Himself. Relatively speaking, God waited til shortly before the advent of the Messiah to begin this practice that foreshadowed the meaning of Christ’s sacrificial atonement. God wanted to make sure people understood very well the purpose of the Old Covenant before the New Covenant took its place. While the Old Covenant was symbolically pictured through animal sacrifice and infant circumcision, both were forever made obsolete (and abhorrent) by the dawn of the New Covenant. That is why the Scripture says that to shed the blood of a baby boy or an animal now, after Christ shed His own innocent blood once for all, would be blasphemous and mock our Lord’s sacrifice.


  7. by Summer

    On July 3, 2012 at 3:16 am

    Alice you are SO wrong. Praise Germany for stepping in and protecting babies!! I am a mother of two sons both whom I opted out of this procedure for, contrary to the bible although I am too Christian. I made the determination that once they became older; I would save the money and allow them to make the decision on their own after taking into consideration all factors. My first son was born emergency C-section, when I was approached about the circumcision I asked 1. Is this medically necessary? Come to find out that NO it is absolutely NOT a benefit to them, it is more likely to create a different shape, decreased sensitivity, issues with urination and it was not anesthetized nor would the healing process be, which the Dr., thankfully, honestly, said would be quite uncomfortable on my new infant. I decided that since his sensory experiences and traumas as a baby were so important to keep at a minimum that I would not for COSMETIC purposes place him under a knife. I am glad I made that decision and I am so glad that someone else is finally giving a voice to this issue. Mutilating children is far different than making decisions for them that are beneficial. Circumcision benefits no one but “religious” parents.

  8. by Dee

    On July 6, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Hmmm, this is very interesting. You CAN’T mutilate a neonate because it might violate his wishes to remain in tact, not experience pain, grow up to be non-religious, etc….But I wonder if Cologne permits abortion, and if they do, how they mold that logic around such a philosophy, considering that in a first trimester abortion you are slicing an unborn,sometimes neurologicaly sentient, child who has a clear and proven inborn will to live and avoid pain. This would make an interesting debate. I would definitely sit back and ask to pass the popcorn on this one.

  9. by Zac

    On July 11, 2012 at 3:10 am

    Female circumcision should be required. Many medical studies have proven that female with a circumcised clitoris is much more likely to deter underage and unwed pregnancies, as well as lowering the rate which a female attempts to pleasure herself than a female with an uncircumcised clitoris.

    To be clear, I’m being extremely sarcastic. It helps to provide me with some satisfaction in the absence of that very special and very missing part of my body that was stolen from me when I was too young to say no. If only my government could have protected me while I was so young and unable to protect myself from such a painful and quite permanent procedure.

  10. by Harry Orwell

    On July 12, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Alice, First you said circumcision should be required,Then you say circumcised Penises spread aids more then uncut ones,so why require circumcisions,get your head on straight cos what you said did not make sense. Hey Zac do you remember that painful procedure? Well I DON’T. Boys(men) who have circumcised Penises (like Me)get more pleasure because The Glands Penis or (head)as it is also known is exposed and able to feel more sitmulus of the vagina then the Foreskin. Also a circumcised penis is easer to keep clean then uncut ones.

  11. by Zac

    On July 14, 2012 at 5:10 am

    I knew as I typed painful I would regret it. You point out the most pointless thing I say as your grounds to argue with me (although some would say one doesnt need to remember painful memories to have negative effects from them – but I won’t go there). There you make some claim about stimulation but I wish you would provide reference material. All I know is that sensitive skin is removed. This would typically make something less sensitive but that makes to much sense to be true. And for your final comment you speak of the cleanliness of your penis but I must say, if you need a surgical procedure to keep your penis clean than well… [insert joke here].

    Now, besides all of that, you must remember, no one is arguing with your right to cut the skin off your penis, get piercings or have it surgically removed all together. You have your whole life to make those fascinating yet personal decisions. All anyone arguing against circumcision is saying is… Why the rush?

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