German court ruling on circumcision
The Board of Deputies is surprised and concerned that a regional court in Cologne has made comments suggesting that circumcision is an infringement of the rights of the child. These comments were unnecessary for the decision, which in fact acquitted the doctor who performed the procedure on a Muslim child at his parents’ wishes, and upheld the acquittal by a lower court.
The court's comments were ill-informed and unjustified in any event. They failed to attach proper weight to the freedom of religion enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and the right of parents to decide what is in their child’s best interests, including taking into account deeply held religious and cultural values. Moreover, the German Judges' claim that circumcision causes bodily harm is patently false.
The Board understands that the decision will be appealed to a higher court and is confident that the ruling will be overturned.
In this country detailed guidance given by the General Medical Council and British Medical Association makes it clear that circumcision is lawful when it is competently conducted and in the parents’ view is in the best interests of the child. The Board does not expect this to change.
The Board will vigorously defend any attack on Brit Milah and will continue to protect and defend our community against all attempts that threaten its rights to practice Jewish religious tradition and customs. This is a matter on which all sections of our community are united.
On Sunday 1 July the Board's Vice President, Jonathan Arkush, appeared on the BBC's Sunday Morning Live programme discussing this issue - Jonathan's contribution can be found here from twenty minutes onwards.
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I've just listened to Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 where this topic was discussed I suggest someone catches up with it on iplayer this may help Jonathan Arkush with his counter arguments when he appears on TV on Sunday