German minister moves to calm circumcision fears
BERLIN — Germany's foreign minister on Sunday offered assurances that Germany protects religious traditions after a court ruled that circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to bodily harm even if parents consent.
Last week, a state court in Cologne ruled that the child's right to physical integrity trumps freedom of religion and parents' rights. The ruling was strongly criticized by the head of Germany's Central Council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, who urged Parliament to clarify the legal situation to protect religious freedom. Muslim leaders also expressed concern.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that a legal debate "must not lead to doubts arising internationally about religious tolerance in Germany."
"The free exercise of religion is protected in Germany. That includes religious traditions," Westerwelle said in a statement. "All our partners in the world should know that." (...)