Non-medical circumcision is a "serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body,” a German court ruled this week. An article in Germany's Financial Times said that the ruling renders religious circumcisions performed by Jews and Muslims a crime.
According to the article, which was quoted on the German English-language news website The Local, German doctors performing circumcisions that are not medically necessary have until now operated in a grey legal area. Until now they could claim that they were unaware that performing a circumcision is a crime.
The Cologne District Court addressed the issue after a Muslim doctor performed a circumcision on a four-year-old boy. Two days later the boy's mother brought the child to the emergency room because he was bleeding.
Circumcision in San Francisco (Photo: AP)
Charges were subsequently brought against the doctor, who was found not guilty in the first instance, but the prosecutor appealed.
"The ruling is enormously important above all for doctors because it's the first time that they have a legal certainty," Holm Putzke of the University of Passau told the Financial Times.
“The court has, in contrast to many politicians, not allowed itself to be scared by the fear of being criticized as anti-Semitic or opposed to religion,” Putzke said.
"This decision could not only affect future legal rulings but in the best case it could lead to a change of consciousness among the affected religions when it comes to respecting the basic rights of children."