The Bundestag will have to solve Germany’s crisis in freedom of religion,
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said on Wednesday, after a court in Cologne ruled
to ban circumcision.
Rivlin and MK Ya’acov Edri (Kadima) met with
Bundestag President Norbert Lammert in Germany, where they discussed Monday’s
controversial ruling, in which circumcision was called “illegal and severe
intervention in the body of the child.”
“This is a clash between the law
and freedom of religion, but I’m not worried,” Lammert said. “The German court
has yet to say its final word on this matter.”
Rivlin responded that the
Bundestag can solve the problem, because the court behaves according to the laws
passed by parliament.
“The German parliament understands the
repercussions of this matter. At the moment, it is a local court decision, but
without a doubt the Bundestag will have to deal with this subject that affects
Muslims and Jews. This is an intervention in freedom of religion and worship,”
the Knesset speaker stated.
From a democratic and constitutional
standpoint, it is problematic to say that someone cannot act according to his
religion, he added.
The ruling in Cologne on Monday was in the case of a
four-year-old who bled for days after his circumcision.
Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday expressed strong support for the call by the
Jewish community in Germany for parliament to quickly pass legislation
specifically protecting circumcision as a religious practice. The ADL noted that
circumcision of newborn male infants is a “core religious rite of
The court ruled that the “fundamental right of the child to
bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director, issued the following
statement: “Circumcision of newborn male children is a core religious rite of
Judaism, practiced by Jews around the world. The decision by a district court in
Cologne, Germany, to deem non-medical circumcision a crime places an intolerable
burden on the free exercise of religion by Jews and also by Muslims who practice
male circumcision as part of their religious faith.
“We support the call
by the Central Council of Jews in Germany for the German parliament to quickly
pass legislation specifically protecting circumcision as a religious practice.
Germany’s commitment to religious freedom requires nothing less.”