German Foreign Minister Supports Circumcision to Allow 'Jewish Life' in Germany
The German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, has told a crowd of Jews at a rabbinic ordination ceremony in Cologne that he supports the Jewish community's right to circumcision. Mr Westerwelle said that "those who do not allow the circumcision of boys in Germany do not allow Jewish life in Germany." The comments are likely to be music to the ears of German Jews who faced a recent legal challenge over the ancient practice. President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder: "We argue among ourselves enough about what is right and what is wrong. We don't need anyone else to argue with us. The hallmark of a free country is that it respects minorities and protects their rights. Therefore I ask Germany: choose freedom, choose tolerance, choose respect and let us be Jewish here." A Cologne court ruled in June that circumcision on religious grounds amounted to bodily harm, following complications with the practice on a Muslim boy. Since then the state of Berlin formally legalized the practice, while the federal government is likely to legislate on the issue in due course.