The European Jewish Congress has called on the German government to stand against a regional court decision to criminalize circumcision, known as “brit mila” in Hebrew, sealing of the Biblical Covenant with G-d in the flesh.
The ritual is a practice that exists at the very bedrock of the Jewish and Muslim faiths.
The court, located in Cologne, ruled last Tuesday that non-medical circumcision as practiced by most Jews and Muslims causes “bodily harm” and therefore is a crime.
This has led to hospitals in Germany canceling planned circumcisions, causing great distress in the Jewish community, said EJC President Moshe Kantor, who called the move an “intolerable assault on established religious practices.”
In a statement to media, the EJC added its support to that of the Zentralrat, the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
“After recent attempts to ban shechitah (Jewish ritual kosher slaughter) in various parts of Europe, another Jewish religious practice is being targeted,” Kantor said. “If any of these attempts succeed, they could quickly spread to other parts of Europe and severely impact on Jewish life on our continent.”
Dr. Kantor added, “We would hope that in Germany of all places, where there is a high level of sensitivity to such freedoms, Jewish life would be allowed to flourish without restriction. We hope and call on the German government to exercise its authority and take a clear stand against this ruling and in line with the Germany constitution, which guarantees religious freedom.
“We need to remind people that our practices, completely in line with modern science and safety precautions, are thousands of years old and above all, are protected by the European Convention of Human Rights on the basis of freedom of religion,” he added.