German court rules religious circumcision on boys an assault

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Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision that the Jewish community said trampled on parents’ religious rights.


The regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents”, a judgement that is expected to set a legal precedent.

“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 court added.

The case was brought against a doctor in Cologne who had circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy on his parents’ wishes.

A few days after the operation, his parents took him to hospital as he was bleeding heavily. Prosecutors then charged the doctor with grievous bodily harm.

The doctor was acquitted by a lower court that judged he had acted within the law as the parents had given their consent.

On appeal, the regional court also acquitted the doctor but for different reasons.

The regional court upheld the original charge of grievous bodily harm but also ruled that the doctor was innocent as there was too much confusion on the legal situation around circumcision.

The court came down firmly against parents’ right to have the ritual performed on young children.

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continue to source article at medicalxpress.com

18 COMMENTS

  1. This is an excellent decision.  In a secular democracy, religious freedom is extremely important.  But that doesn’t mean religious freedom trumps all other rights, e.g. the right of a child to determine for himself whether to alter his body irreversibly.  Too often, people think that if they have a right, that right must be absolute.  These people are wrong; sometimes rights have to be weighed against one another.  Good on the German court for recognising that, in this case, the rights of the child outweigh religious freedom.  Hopefully the decision survives appeal, if there is one.

  2. To me it seems to be the exact same article, with the exact same text, only from adifferent source. Possibly something from a wire service. I see no difference at all in the body of the article.

  3. This is the same article as previously posted,just from a medical journal.It is a real triumph and if properly handled could be another nail in the coffin of religious mutilation.Of course there will be ‘outrage’ within the religions where this is common practice but the courts simply MUST uphold the rights of the child to an intact body.Personal preference should prevail when the child reaches majority.Next must come prosecution for for the barbarous horror of so-called ‘female circumcision’! 

  4. Well done to the German courts. A proper decision for the welfare of children and making the necessary distinction for medical situations. Something practiced for centuries isn’t hallowed by anything but time. 

  5. About time. This should be good, watching the prosecutions roll in for the sexual mutilators who just can’t help themselves and need to keep doing it. Now that they recognize it, I hope they support people who want to take down their parents for doing it in the past. Retro that law.

  6.  Religious freedom isn’t important at all, in fact, shouldn’t even be mentioned. Freedom of belief, OK. But why segregate religion?

    Not all belief systems include religion and freedom of religion does not say freedom from religion. Freedom from crime, would do.

  7. Um…I’m pretty sure re-unification did not oblitereate the points of the compass. There May not be a “West Germany”, but the unified Germany still has a western region. (Note the lowercase “W”)

  8. “Hooray! Germans may not suck so much, after all”

    Oh but do their politicians and religious leaders ever: (in German) http://www.spiegel.de/panorama

    Foreign minister Guido Westerwelle (FDP) and Green Party chief Claudia Roth.have already come out against the ruling (whoring for the muslim vote again are we?)

    But may it be consolation, however scant, that almost without exception the readers (presumably Germans all) responses to this article constitute a perfect storm of derision.

  9. So they argue religious freedom gives them the right to curtail the religious freedom of their own children by determining their religious affiliation for them. Did someone make the eleventh commandment ‘Thou shalt not get irony’ while I wasn’t looking?

  10. This item of good news may help in the UK:- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-1

      . Child abuse legal ‘loophole’ is closed

    A legal loophole which
    has allowed hundreds of child abusers to escape prosecution has been
    closed, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has said.

    From Monday anyone who deliberately causes or allows serious
    physical harm to a child or vulnerable adult faces up to 10 years in
    prison.

    Taking effect in England and Wales, it also enables prosecutions of people who stay silent or blame someone else.

    The justice secretary said the move was a boost to child protection.

    “All the people with an interest in protecting vulnerable
    people will agree that we have closed an obvious gap in the law and from
    now on if you fail to take steps to stop a child being killed you’re
    equally responsible,” he said.

    The new offence, the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012, is due to come into force on Monday.

    There should be interesting implications for the RCC etc.!

     

  11. There isn’t even a non-religious justification for circumcision, in my opinion. It’s a basic violation of the rights of the child to cut off some part of his/her body without consent.

  12. Circumcision, when carried out by untrained people using inappropriate equipment, can be VERY dangeous and have serious medical consequences.

    I have seen no proof that circumcision, when done by trained doctors in a medical facility, has any negative consequences.

    Banning the practice won’t stop it, it’ll just drive it underground with tragic results. Is that what we want?

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