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Germans evenly split over circumcision law

The Local · 19 Jul 2012, 08:54

Published: 19 Jul 2012 08:54 GMT+02:00

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The survey published on Thursday shows 45 percent supported a ban on circumcision, in line with a recent court ruling which said the conducting the operation was inflicting bodily harm.

But 42 percent said they disagreed, telling pollsters from the YouGov firm they thought the ritual carried out by Muslims and Jews on young boys and babies, should be allowed.

Parliament is set to vote for a resolution on Thursday which would call on the government to lay out a law which would explicitly legalise circumcision. It is expected to be supported by all the major parties.

Chancellor Angela Merkel warned early this week that Germany risked becoming a joke if it could not organise its law to enable circumcision.

The resolution will call on the government to legalise, “a medically professional circumcision of boys without unnecessary pain.” The legal rights of the child must be considered, as should their physical integrity, but also freedom of religion and the right of parents to raise their children as they see fit.

The survey also suggested that 83 percent of Germans feel religions should move with the times and not cling to old traditions at all price. Only nine percent of those asked said they did not think modernisation of religious practices were necessary.

Global anger at the Cologne district court’s decision from last month has damaged Germany’s standing in the world, said 33 percent of those questioned, while 55 percent disagreed.

Story continues below…

DPA/DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:55 July 19, 2012 by ramses25
OK, for instance... an obsure religion calls for the cutting off a thumb of all boys when my religion calls for this.........should this be allowed? Silly and destructive religious beliefs should be left in the dark ages where they were dremt up by uneducated men. Modern society should be embraced by these backward thinking people.. Why does a child have less rights after birth than before birth?
10:57 July 19, 2012 by simski
The court ruling was a big step towards an advanced, more civilized culture that does not mutilate its offspring in accordance with laws passed down over thousands of years in the name of some imaginary, all powerful father figure.

So of course we get a law to take that step back. While we're at it, we should probably abolish women's right to vote and reinstate slavery.
11:26 July 19, 2012 by SynJyn Tweer
There seems to be no move to stop religious organizations from manipulating babies minds which could have more serious implications than cutting of a piece of skin. Look how quick churches are to force their doctrine on a baby without their consent [baptism]. It is the same system used by dictators ¦quot;get to the children before they can express right from wrong¦quot;.
11:33 July 19, 2012 by MydogMax
Makes you Mad to hear religious leaders use a pretext of faith to carry out such an act of what can only be described as barbaric with no medical benefits.

I am circumcised my parents where Jehovah Witness, i am no longer and they refuse to speak to me or any member of the faith I was raised iup with. I don't believe in that faith and as a adult I made that decision and I can live with the fact they dis fellowship and excommunicated me. I also don't have any issues with my dick but what I do have issues with is they made the chose for me without my consent .

I ask you if God is all knowing and insightful why didn't he just do it himself from the start if it was so unhygienic..

WISE UP @ ! and Get your hand off it

End Rant :-)
14:12 July 19, 2012 by Slimtots
I find it strange when people say religions force their doctrines on children before they can decide for themselves. In my opinion, every parent raises his child following a certain way of life, and that is quite normal. It's a different thing if you complain that a child is raised to be a killer, etc. Such extremes of course should be stopped whenever they are known. However, teaching a child about prayer, faith, hope, love, etc is the parent's choice and responsibility, same as teaching a child a certain culture (clothing, eating habits, respecting elders, being polite, etc.). It comes with the package of belonging to a home, a family. It is part of one's identity which is passed on to the child. If the child becomes and adult and decides to choose a different way of life, then that's fine. But don't tell a parent not to raise his/her child the way she believes is right.

On the topic of circumcision, I can only say that if the law declares it bodily harm then it's something to be looked into. I wonder though, why abortion is not regarded as bodily harm either?
14:58 July 19, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Ramses 25 - I am thinking you weren't considering abortion when you suggested an unborn child had more rights than a born child?

Billions of men on this planet are circumcised. We are all fine except the handful who have a rant like MyDog :)

I do fondly remember my good American friend who married a German girl from Nurnberg. When it came time to circumcise their son as most Americans do the German father-in-law, former SS, threatened to kill my friend since "only jews were circumcised." We were laughing and in hysterics, but not my friend. Alas his son was NOT circumcised.
15:49 July 19, 2012 by cheeba

I doubt your figure that billions of men are circumcised, probably more like hundreds of millions, and many are not happy about it.

If 83% can agree the practice should be modernised, then why not adjust the timing and have it take place at 16, so the bou is able to give his concent, or decline it?

The truth is that there are billions of men on this planet who are NOT circumcised, and virtually none of them make the choice to do it when they are of age.

And BTW, the percentage of Americans being circumcised is falling rapidly, and will soon be in line with European norms.
16:15 July 19, 2012 by Münsterklaus
The discussion is easy: nobody has the right to mutilate children for fun. Parents don't own their children.

Just wait for -at least- the age of consent and ask them what they want to do with their penises. I believe they will do as most of the men of this planet do: keep their penis as they are.

To cut down a piece of your boy because your god commands it... it's sick. Even worst to do it because it is more hygienic (this is not the dessert and your son is not a goatherd) or because, wait for it, 'it looks nicer' LOL.
16:30 July 19, 2012 by OC83
People please do your homework! Here is an interesting article on the medical benefits of male circumcised. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1104451. It is from the Journal of American Medicine!
17:32 July 19, 2012 by ITAMAR

"To cut down a piece of your boy because your god commands it... it's sick"

That is the way you see it, hunder of millions of people around the globe do not condivid the same opinion,


where I live I have not met many people who were sorry for their circumcision or not happy about it


17:39 July 19, 2012 by ebbelwoiguy
OC83: Please do your own homework! Here's an interesting article on staying intact:


Full medical references!

ITAMAR: this custom thrives on ignorance and on normalizing it.
17:56 July 19, 2012 by cheeba

We all know there is well meaning medical research supporting both sides on this issue. Much of it is peer reviewed. Unfortunately, with the issue being so emotionally charged, each side hotly contests the research supported by the other side.


I can understand if you come from a culture where this is practiced for cultural and religious reasons people could be very reluctant to publicly oppose the practice, that said I have troulbe getting past the fact that of the billions of men who did not have this procedure when they were too young to consent, virtually none of them choose later in life to have it done.

Why would anyone have a problem with delaying the procedure until the mid teens, when the subject can agree or decline?
19:34 July 19, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
My french doctor, head of internal medicine for a hospital, told me just a few years ago to have my sons c-cised because I was. It would be important for them to identify with the their father.

That was all the advice I needed.

Obviously, it has hygenic and disease reduction benefits in places like Africa since you do not have (whatever) between the head and foreskin sitting there for hours, days...

Now, all you folks worried about us who are c-cised and getting our sons c-cised, do yourself a favor, get married, and have some children and stop worrying about others' children. Maybe when you have a home, wife, children, etc. you will be to busy to bomb us with your ethical platitudes.
20:29 July 19, 2012 by JustMeSaying
This is so... funny!!!

Accepting abortion (for whatsoever reasons) without being chocked and getting mad and upset at and about circumcision.

Which of these two acts is harming the baby's / child right or inflicting whatsoever to the "victims" more than the other?

What about piercing lil girls' ear? where they asked? And tattoos imposed by some parents (yes, i saw that already)?

People, grow up and deal with real issues. Just saying!!!
20:33 July 19, 2012 by ITAMAR

I do agree that your are right by your logical approach, delay could be a solution, but it must come from the people will,from the religion leaders supported by the believers ,it can not be forced from out side by laws and police just because this is 4000 years tradition
08:09 July 20, 2012 by MydogMax
Sorry about the ran beforet :) just to expand in relation to Slimtots " I find it strange when people say religions force their doctrines on children before they can decide for themselves."

I am not saying Parents shouldn't raise there children to the religious values they hold or believe. What I am saying is it shouldn't come before the family unit, if you do some research on JW and cults and other sources of fundamentalism might find it interesting.

By the way I like both sides of the debate, I enjoy the comment boards more than the articles its nice to read other peoples point of views.

Thanks :)
09:06 July 20, 2012 by Alanm
Muslims are two sects, Sunnis and Shiaas. Only the Sunnis (Salafists are Sunnis) do male circumcision.
13:56 July 20, 2012 by Slimtots
@MydogMax, I wrote that in reference to SynJyn Tweer's comment, and other similar comments I have seen on some forums
13:16 July 21, 2012 by ebbelwoiguy
SchwabHall: Your doctor advised circumcision on sons because dad is? What other body parts does this principle apply to? Does the same principle extend to females?

The doctor takes his Hippocratic Oath quite lightly. Send a healthy, functional part of son's genitals to the biowaste on the basis of tradition and urban myths. Here are some of the advantages they'll never have, backed up by medical references not confined to the US:

16:36 July 21, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
It is very pleasing to see, that some European countries (for example switzerland), are waking up to the fact, that many primitive religious rituals are breaking the international agreements covering human ­ rights.

Perhaps also the UN could step in, to defend these helpless children against irreversible injury, until such time as they are able to choose for themselves..
01:31 July 22, 2012 by Katinkaxx
"Only the Sunnis [...] do male circumcision. "

07:56 August 23, 2012 by OllO
4000 years of this. Nobody injured. Quick, somebody call it torture!
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