Berlin rules circumcision ritual legal for religious reasons
BERLIN – Infant male circumcision for religious reasons is legal in Berlin, a top state official said Wednesday, making the capital the first of Germany's 16 states to specify that the ritual followed by Jews and Muslims shouldn't be considered a crime.
State Justice minister Thomas Heilmann's announcement came after Berlin's Jewish Hospital asked for clarification following a June ruling by a regional court in Cologne.
That ruling said circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to bodily harm even if parents consent to the procedure. The court decision didn't amount to a ban on the procedure and wasn't binding for other courts, but it raised fears among Jews and Muslims of possible prosecutions.