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German draft law permits religious circumcision

    Jews and Muslims in Germany have welcomed a new government proposal to secure their right to perform ritual circumcisions on boys.

    The proposal follows a May ruling in Cologne that criminalised non-medical circumcision of minors in that district. It comes up for approval by the parliament this autumn.

    The German Ministry of Justice wants to amend an existing law in order to allow religious circumcisions when performed by a practitioner who is medically certified, under the strongest permitted anaesthetic and with parental approval.

    “In our view this is a step in the right direction,” said Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. He said it was important that the legislation placed circumcision under “family law” rather than criminal law and that “mohels are still able to perform circumcisions”.

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