Jews demonstrate over threat to circumcision in Germany

By Jennifer Lipman, September 10, 2012

German Jews were joined by Christians and Muslims on Sunday evening for a demonstration calling for circumcision to remain legal.

Around 500 people attended the rally, which was held in Bebelplatz in Berlin, a public square notorious as the site of book-burning ceremonies by the Nazis and their supporters in May 1933.

Some of the demonstrators wore traditional Orthodox Jewish clothing, while others waved Israeli flags or signs stating: "Foreskin? No thank you!"

The rally took place in the wake of uncertainty among Germany's Jewish and Muslim community about the future of religious circumcision. In May a Cologne court ruled the religious practice to be a criminal act.

Since then a mohel has been charged with causing bodily harm for carrying out a circumcision, while last week in Berlin new rules were laid out for circumcision as a medical procedure, which the Jewish community roundly rejected as "a "flagrant intervention in the over-3,000-year tradition of Judaism".

In a magazine interview, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said it was "completely incomprehensible that Jewish families in Germany might not be able to have their young boys circumcised".

Last updated: 9:38am, September 10 2012