August 23, 2012
Peres to German president: End circumcision rowBy Benjamin Weithal
German Ethics Council conditionally supports the ritual, following an anti-circumcision ruling in Cologne.
President Shimon Peres called on German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday to resolve the German legal issues around circumcision, Army Radio reported.
The controversy follows a criminal complaint filed this week by a physician in Germany against Rabbi David Goldberg, a mohel based in Hof Saale, Bavaria, for performing brit mila.
Germany's Ethics Council came out in conditional support of circumcision, its chairwoman Christiane Woopen said Thursday following a council meeting.
[So how did it address the statement in the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) that
Additionally, the procedure should be carried out by medical professional. [...like the one who botched the Muslim boy in Cologne....]
The members of the ethics council recommended a committee consisting of Jews, Muslims, parent groups and doctors from various disciplines to participate in clarifying Germany's position on the issue. According to reports, members of the Ethics council had differing views on the ritual's place in Germany.
Hamburg-based legal expert Reinhard Merkel stressed at the meeting that he considers circumcision without anesthesia to be" legally and ethically not acceptable." He added this should not be allowed to take place.
The deputy representative of the ethics council, the evangelical theologian, Peter Dabrock, advocated for "proven effective pain therapy measures" for the procedure.
However, the Cologne legal expert, Wolfram Höfling, said it is necessary to have a "recognition of circumcision as a parental right." He conditioned his advocacy of circumcision on the avoidance of pain during the process.
Leo Latasch, a Jewish physician on the council, suggested he was amenable to a local anesthesia. He said anesthesia is already a customary method in Germany. Latasch flatly rejected that circumcision of young boys is comparable with genital mutilation of young girls.According to Latasch, medical complications take place in less than 0.2 percent of the cases by circumcision and there is no proof that the procedure results in traumatic after effects.
The Muslim medical ethicist Ilhan Ilkiliç called for a "factual" debate. He warned of operations in back rooms without supervision and a "circumcision tourism" if lawmakers do not react to the Cologne decision criminalizing circumcision.
[The fear of backroom cutting has never deterred bans on FGC - except briefly, in AAP policy.]
According to the DPA news service, the authorities in Bavaria are examining the complaint for "criminal relevancy."
However, following the Cologne ruling Bavarian authorities said that they would not enforce the decision in their state.
August 25, 2012
Circumcision debatedGermany's national Ethics Council (Ethikrat) has recommended authorising circumcision if safeguards are in place. ...
But the recommendation was made after a robust debate. A legal scholar, Reinhard Merkel, said that it was "bizarre" that religious communities could be allowed to define when and how a human body could be injured. If a child's right to bodily integrity had to be weighed against religious requirements, this was a "legal policy crisis". However, he squared the circle by invoking an "indebtedness" to Jews which called for a "special law". [Would this "indebtedness" apply outside Germany? And would the special law include Muslims?] Constitutional law expert Wolfram Höfling, on the other hand, argued that parental rights were paramount. If they believed that the ritual was in the best interests of the child then this should be respected, especially since millions of circumcisions have occurred without complications. [Complications are not the only issue.]