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Rabbis Call Emergency Meeting to Address German Circumcision Ruling

Faith

"The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision..."

BERLIN (The Blaze/AP) -- The Conference of European Rabbis says it's calling an emergency meeting in Berlin to discuss a regional court ruling that circumcising young boys for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm even if parents agree to it.

(Related: German Court: Child‘s ’Fundamental Right‘ to ’Bodily Integrity‘ Outweighs Parents’ Right to Circumcise)

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

Conference president Pinchas Goldschmidt said in a statement Monday the Cologne court ruling last month "utterly failed to consider how fundamental" ritual circumcision is to the Jewish faith and identity.

The Tuesday through Thursday meeting seeks to produce a strategy for addressing the issue.

Following the initial court ruling, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, called the ruling “unprecedented and insensitive,” urging the country’s parliament to clarify the legal situation “to protect religious freedom against attacks.”

Graumann said the circumcision of newborn Jews has been practiced for thousands of years and “every country in the world respects this religious right.”

There's no law prohibiting the procedure but the ruling sets a precedent that could be taken into account by other courts.

The Cologne case involved a doctor who carried out a circumcision on a 4-year-old that led to medical complications.

Germany's government has offered assurances that religious traditions remain protected.

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