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German court rules religious circumcision on boys an assault

It's always been my opinion that circumcision is indeed an assault. Now we know how practicing religious Jews will line up on this issue, it tramples on their "religious right" to harm their children in the name of superstition. Of course.

But I'm curious about the mostly liberal "cultural" Jews' stance on this new ruling.

From AFP:

Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision that the Jewish community said trampled on parents' religious rights.

The regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled that the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed thefundamental rights of the parents", a judgement that is expected to set a legal precedent.

"The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to becircumcised," the court added.

The case was brought against a doctor in Cologne who had circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy on his parents' wishes.

A few days after the operation, his parents took him to hospital as he was bleeding heavily. Prosecutors then charged the doctor with grievous bodily harm.

The doctor was acquitted by a lower court that judged he had acted within the law as the parents had given their consent.

On appeal, the regional court also acquitted the doctor but for different reasons.

The regional court upheld the original charge of grievous bodily harm but also ruled that the doctor was innocent as there was too much confusion on the legal situation around circumcision.

The court came down firmly against parents' right to have the ritual performed on young children.

"The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision," the court said. "This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs."

The decision caused outrage in Germany's Jewish community.

The head of the Central Committee of Jews, Dieter Graumann, said the ruling was "an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in the right of religious communities to self-determination."

The judgement was an "outrageous and insensitive act. Circumcision of newborn boys is a fixed part of the Jewish religion and has been practiced worldwide for centuries," added Graumann.

"This religious right is respected in every country in the world."

Holm Putzke, a criminal law expert at the University of Passau, told the Financial Times Deutschland that the ruling was "enormously important for doctors because for the first time they have legal certainty."

"Unlike many politicians, the court has not allowed itself to be scared off by charges of anti-Semitism or religious intolerance," added Putzke.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that nearly one in three males 15 or over is circumcised. In the United States, the operation is often performed for hygiene reasons on infants.

Thousands of young boys are circumcised every year in Germany, especially in the country's large Jewish and Muslim communities.

The court specified that circumcision was not illegal if carried out for medical reasons.

(LINK on Yahoo News)


From Wikipedia where someone compiled the various rationales behind the practice across the world and across history:

  • As a religious sacrifice
  • As a rite of passage marking a boy's entrance into adulthood
  • As a form of sympathetic magic to ensure virility or fertility
  • As a means of enhancing sexual pleasure
  • As an aid to hygiene where regular bathing was impractical
  • As a means of marking those of higher social status
  • As a means of humiliating enemies and slaves by symbolic castration
  • As a means of differentiating a circumcising group from their non-circumcising neighbors
  • As a means of discouraging masturbation or other socially proscribed sexual behaviors
  • As a means of removing "excess" pleasure
  • As a means of increasing a man's attractiveness to women
  • As a demonstration of one's ability to endure pain
  • As a male counterpart to menstruation or the breaking of the hymen
  • To copy the rare natural occurrence of a missing foreskin of an important leader

However long you stretch that list, circumcision - while less consequent for the victim than clitoridectomy - remains a barbaric assault on the most helpless of helpless beings, a practice rooted in antiquated principles that is perpetuated because it's always been done before and that attacks the integrity of someone else's body. 

Just imagine if we discovered a sect that believed the number five unholy and had its clergy amputate both middle fingers and middle toes of all its newborns. It wouldn't go down very well, right?

Yet 30% of human males are circumcised today...

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Circumcision seems to be the default in the USA for health reasons.  I know when our two boys were born we were not even given an option, of i missed the option.

Health reasons? This is now highly disputed.
I think the real reason is Jesus.

Hell, Circumcision is the Catholic holiday celebrated on January 1st!

Perhaps the fireworks are to distract the baby when you perform body modifications on him.

You are given the option in usa....

My two boys are circumcised :'(

I mean what can I do?! That's what their dad wants.

-> No, that's what Islam wants! :(

 ~Stupid Islam stole that practice from Judaism.~

I think that male circumcision is something that must be done here in my culture.. You can say that it's just like a law. That all muslim boys must circumcised..

No one can say; No, I don't wanna be circumcised!

Islam and male circumcision

Muslims are still the largest single religious group to circumcise boys. In Islam circumcision is also known as tahara, meaning purification.

Circumcision is not mentioned in the Qur'an but it is highlighted in the Sunnah (the Prophet Muhammad's recorded words and actions). In the Sunnah, Muhammad stated that circumcision was a "law for men and a preservation of honour for women."

The main reason given for the ritual is cleanliness. It is essential that every Muslim washes before praying. It is important that no urine is left on the body.

Muslims believe the removal of the foreksin makes it easier to keep the penis clean because urine can't get trapped there.

Supporters of circumcision also argue that excrements may collect under the foreskin which may lead to fatal diseases such as cancer.

Some Muslims see circumcision as a preventive measure against infection and diseases.


For the majority of Muslims, circumcision is seen as an introduction to the Islamic faith and a sign of belonging.

In Islam there is no fixed age for circumcision. The age at which it is performed varies depending on family, region and country.

The preferred age is often seven although some Muslims are circumcised as early as the seventh day after birth and as late as puberty.

There is no equivalent of a Jewish 'mohel' in Islam. Circumcisions are usually carried out in a clinic or hospital. The circumciser is not required to be a Muslim but he must be medically trained.

In some Islamic countries circumcision is performed after Muslim boys have recited the whole of the Qur'an from start to finish.

In Malaysia, for example, the operation is a puberty rite that separates the boy from childhood and introduces him to adulthood.

An essential practice

Circumcision is not compulsory in Islam but it is an important ritual aimed at improving cleanliness. It is strongly encouraged but not enforced.

The ritual dates back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. According to tradition Muhammad was born without a foreskin (aposthetic). Some Muslims who practise circumcision see it as a way of being like him.

Circumcision was also practised by past prophets.

Dr Bashir Quereshi, author of Transcultural Medicine, explains: "Every Muslim is expected to follow the way and the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, all Muslims - devouts, liberals or seculars - observe this ritual. Muslim are obliged to follow not only Allah's message in the Holy Qur'an but also what the Prophet said or did, as proof of their dedication to Islam."

Traditionally, adult converts to Islam were encouraged to undergo the operation but this practice is not universally endorsed, particularly if the procedure poses a health risk.

# I myself don't think that there are health benefits for circumcision!

-Im sorry to hear that, well, choose your battles wisely and if push comes to shove allow yourself to break down into tears. The less often you do so the more effective it is, my mother broke into tears once when I decided to follow the family tradition and go straight into the armed services, it ended with me apologizing and going to university.

Though I understand the ruling, and agree, doone has a point.

Circumcision is the removal of the male foreskin, exposing the tip of the penis. Research shows that circumcision can have several medical benefits, including reducing the risk of contracting the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Most importantly, circumcision has been shown to reduce the risk associated with high-risk subtypes of HPV, those associated with cervical, penile, and other cancers, says Anna R. Giuliano, PhD, program leader of the risk assessment, detection, and intervention program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Fla.

Three large studies were conducted in Africa and published within the last few years. “One was in Uganda, one in Kenya, and one in South Africa, and all three showed the same benefits: a 50 to 60 percent reduction in HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and a significant reduction in HPV infections,” Giuliano says. “It really does look like circumcision is protective, not only against HIV infection, but also against HPV.”

It would seem the science is not quite settled at this point, specially in the Human Papiloma virus dept.:

Sexually transmitted diseases

Evidence has been found to be strong that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men in populations that are at high risk.[15][74][75] Evidence among heterosexual men in sub-Saharan Africa shows a decreased risk of between 38 percent and 66 percent over two years[15] and in this population studies rate it cost effective.[76] There is little or no evidence that it protects against male-to-female HIV transmission[77][78], and whether it is of benefit in developed countries and among men who have sex with men is undetermined.[79][80][81]

Human immunodeficiency virus

Over forty observational studies have been conducted to investigate the relationship between circumcision and HIV infection.[82] Reviews of these studies have reached differing conclusions about whether circumcision could be used as a prevention method against HIV.[83][84][85][86]

Experimental evidence was needed to establish a causal relationship between lack of circumcision and HIV, so three randomized controlled trials were commissioned as a means to reduce the effect of any confounding factors.[86] Trials took place in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda.[15] All three trials were stopped early by their monitoring boards on ethical grounds, because those in the circumcised group had a lower rate of HIV contraction than the control group.[15] The results showed that circumcision reduced vaginal-to-penile transmission of HIV by 60%, 53%, and 51%, respectively.[15] A meta-analysis of the African randomised controlled trials found that the risk in circumcised males was 0.44 times that in uncircumcised males, and that 72 circumcisions would need to be performed to prevent one HIV infection. The authors also stated that using circumcision as a means to reduce HIV infection would, on a national level, require consistently safe sexual practices to maintain the protective benefit.[87]

As a result of these findings, the WHO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) stated that male circumcision is an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention but should be carried out by well trained medical professionals and under conditions of informed consent.[9][88][17] Both the WHO and CDC indicate that circumcision may not reduce HIV transmission from men to women, and that data are lacking for the transmission rate of men who engage in anal sex with a female partner.[88][89] The joint WHO/UNAIDS recommendation also notes that circumcision only provides partial protection from HIV and should never replace known methods of HIV prevention. The Male Circumcision Clearinghouse website was formed by WHO, UNAIDS, FHI and AVAC to provide current evidence-based guidance, information and resources to support the delivery of safe male circumcision services in countries that choose to scale up male circumcision as one component of comprehensive HIV prevention services. [90][91]

Circumcision has been judged to be a cost-effective method to reduce the spread of HIV in a population,[9][92] though not necessarily more cost-effective than condoms.[9][93] Some have challenged the validity of the African randomized controlled trials, prompting a number of researchers to question the effectiveness of circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy.[94][95]

In addition to the studies which provided information about female-to-male transmission, some studies have addressed other transmission routes. A randomised controlled trial in Uganda found that male circumcision did not reduce male to female transmission of HIV. The authors could not rule out the possibility of higher risk of transmission from men who did not wait for the wound to fully heal before engaging in intercourse.[96] A meta-analysis of data from fifteen observational studies of men who have sex with men found "insufficient evidence that male circumcision protects against HIV infection or other STIs."[97]

Human papilloma virus

A 2007 meta-analysis of eight observational studies found no protective effect against human papillomavirus (HPV);[98] critics reported that reanalysis of the same data showed a protective effect.[99] A later analysis of 14 studies, by Bosch et al, found a protective effect.[100] In 2011, a meta-analysis of 23 studies (including both randomised controlled trials and observational studies) found reduced risk of prevalent HPV and (though the evidence was less strong) some evidence of reduced risk of new HPV infections.[101] In another analysis, in which 21 studies were included, there was a statistically significant reduction in prevalence of HPV, but no statistically significant association with new acquisitions was observed.[102]

A 2009 meta-analysis of multiple studies found a significant association between genital warts and HPV and the presence of a foreskin, as well as HPV alone. While circumcision was associated with a lesser risk of genital warts alone, the association did not reach statistical significance.[100] However, later analyses found no association between circumcision and penile warts.[101][102]

Other sexually transmitted infections

Studies evaluating the effect of circumcision on the incidence of other sexually transmitted infections have reached conflicting conclusions. A 2006 meta-analysis of observational data from twenty-six studies found that circumcision was associated with lower rates of syphilischancroid and possibly genital herpes.[103] More recently, a 2010 review of clinical trial data found that circumcision reduced the incidence of HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus, type 2) infections by 28%. The researchers found mixed results for protection against Trichomonas vaginalis and Chlamydia trachomatis, and no evidence of protection against gonorrhoea or syphilis.[104] Among men who have sex with men, reviews have found insufficient evidence of an effect against sexually transmitted infections other than HIV,[105][106] with the possible exception of syphilis.[106]

the evidence is strongly contradictory, too many variables,

based on that why do america with high rate of circumcission does not have less rate of stds and the countries with less circumcission have higher rates of the same.


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