German Parliament Should Act To Protect Circumcision As Religious Practice

New York, NY, June 26, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed strong support for the call by the Jewish community in Germany for parliament to quickly pass legislation specifically protecting circumcision as a religious practice following a court ruling that circumcising young boys is a crime that causes "grievous bodily harm."  The League noted that circumcision of newborn male infants is a "core religious rite of Judaism."

A regional court in Cologne ruled that the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Circumcision of newborn male children is a core religious rite of Judaism, practiced by Jews around the world.  The decision by a district court in Cologne, Germany, to deem non-medical circumcision a crime places an intolerable burden on the free exercise of religion by Jews and also by Muslims who practice male circumcision as part of their religious faith.

We support the call by the Central Council of Jews in Germany for the German parliament to quickly pass legislation specifically protecting circumcision as a religious practice.  Germany's commitment to religious freedom requires nothing less.

We hope and believe the German parliament will have the political will to do so.  Germany has dedicated itself to re-building Jewish life, and the consequences of a ban on circumcision would be a devastating blow to the future of the Jewish community.  While the ruling by the court in Cologne does not appear to have anti-Semitic intent, its effect is to say "Jews are not welcome."

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.