German Draft Bill to Make Circumcision Legal after Cologne Court's 'Bodily Harm' Ruling
The German government has approved a bill which will clarify the legality of circumcision, explicitly stating that the ancient religious practice will be allowed. Jews and Muslims have been practicing the ritual for centuries following references to traditional scriptures. The draft bill states that the practice can be performed by Jewish mohels, who receive special medical training, and are designated by the parents to undertake the procedure. Former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knoblock said she was 'relieved that Germany has not become the first and only country in the world in which Jews can no longer practice their religion.' The issue has been at forefront of the political debate due to a Cologne court ruling in June, which stated that parents could be liable for causing grievous bodily harm following the ritual, even if they did so in reverence to biblical scriptures. The issue also worried many Jewish leaders in Germany, who feared a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the country. The German Bundestag will now have to approve the bill, which is expected to pass due to widespread cross-party support for the legislation. However, the American Jewish Committee is concerned that ambivalence and opposition exists within both parliament and the general public.