July 13, 2012
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Promises Freedom For Circumcision To Germany's Jewish And Muslim CommunitiesBy Stephen Brown
(Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman promised Germany's Jewish and Muslim communities on Friday they would be free to carry out circumcision on young boys despite a court ban which has provoked concerns about religious freedom.
[Not a ban, an age-restriction.]
In a country that is especially sensitive to allegations of intolerance because of the Nazis' slaughter of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, the government said it would find a way around the Cologne court ban in June as a matter of urgency.
[German's Basic Law (~Constitution) is strong on human rights precisely because of the Holocaust.]
"For everyone in the government it is absolutely clear that we want to have Jewish and Muslim religious life in Germany," said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert. "Circumcision carried out in a responsible manner must be possible in this country without punishment."
"It is well know that in the Jewish religion early circumcision carries great meaning, so it is a matter of urgency that this right be restored," said Seibert, adding that Merkel's own office would be involved in efforts to resolve the problem.
"We know a quick decision is needed and that this cannot be put off. Freedom of religious practice is a very important legal right for us," he said.
[More important than individuals' rights to undisturbed possession of their genitals?]