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A German court has sparked a fierce debate by ruling religious circumcision of boys amounts to bodily harm – even if parents want the procedure.Rabbis and fellow detractors are gathering in Berlin later today for a three-day meeting to map out a plan to fight the ruling, Bloomberg reported this morning.
Conference leader Pinchas Goldschmidt called the ruling a “frontal attack on Jewish life in Europe.”
“We see this as part of a trend of mounting intolerance against religious practices in Europe,” Goldschmidt told Bloomberg.
Israeli leaders also vigorously opposed the ruling, even holding a parliamentary meeting yesterday to denounce the decision.
Male circumcision is nearly universal among Jews, with 110,000 currently living in Germany.
The ruling stems from a 2004 case, when a Muslim couple in Cologne asked a doctor to circumcise their young son, Bloomberg reported.
The boy, who was 4 years old at the time, had to be rushed to the hospital days after the procedure when the wound began bleeding.
The Cologne court eventually acquitted the doctor on May 7 but ruled male circumcision should be considered bodily harm if the boy isn’t able to give consent.
Circumcision goes “against the interests of a child to decide for himself later on to which religion he wishes to belong,” the court ruled, according to Bloomberg.
The Cologne decision isn’t legally binding outside this one case, but might give doctors pause in the future before circumsizing a boy who isn’t old enough to consent.
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