Germans Protest 'Bodily Harm' Circumcision Ruling in Berlin: Rabbi Yitzhak Ehrenberg Defies Ban
Around 300 protesters have gathered in the German capital of Berlin to show their anger at a regional court ruling that unnecessary circumcision on young boys is tantamount to grievous bodily harm. The ruling in a court in Cologne earlier this summer came after a young Muslim boy was admitted into hospital with medical complications following the procedure. The decision sparked an outcry from many of the country's Jews and Muslims, who see circumcision as a central tenet of their faith and identity. The former head of Berlin's Jewish community, Lala Suesskind, said that she was working alongside Turkish community leaders to put a stop to "ignorant and intolerant chitchat". Meanwhile Rabbi Yitzhak Ehrenberg, whose outspoken promise to continue performing the operation caused Berlin police to make a complaint against him, vowed to "carry on" the struggle. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also criticized the move, saying it made the country a "laughing stock" and attacked freedom of religion. Some have called for rabbis to be given appropriate medical training to carry out the procedure in an effort to find a compromise for the contentious issue.