The German government says Jewish and Muslim communities should be able to continue the practice of circumcision, after a regional court ruled it amounted to bodily harm.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said it was a case of protecting religious freedom.
Steffen Seibert said: “Circumcision carried out in a responsible manner must be possible without punishment.”
European Jewish and Muslim groups had criticized the Cologne court ruling.
The case involved a doctor who carried out a circumcision on a four-year-old that led to medical complications.
The court said that a child’s right to physical integrity trumped religious and parental rights.
But Mr Seibert said: “For everyone in the government it is absolutely clear that we want to have Jewish and Muslim religious life in Germany.” Read more in BBC.
World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS announced recommendations from expert consultation on male circumcision for HIV prevention in March 2007:
In response to the urgent need to reduce the number of new HIV infections globally, WHO and the UNAIDS Secretariat convened an international expert consultation to determine whether male circumcision should be recommended for the prevention of HIV infection.Based on the evidence presented, which was considered to be compelling, experts attending the consultation recommended that male circumcision now be recognized as an additional important intervention to reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men. The international consultation, which was held 6-8 March 2007 in Montreux, Switzerland, was attended by participants representing a wide range of stakeholders, including governments, civil society, researchers, human rights and women’s health advocates, young people, funding agencies and implementing partners.“The recommendations represent a significant step forward in HIV prevention,” said Dr Kevin De Cock, Director, HIV/AIDS Department in WHO. “Countries with high rates of heterosexual HIV infection and low rates of male circumcision now have an additional intervention which can reduce the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men. Scaling up male circumcision in such countries will result in immediate benefit to individuals. However, it will be a number of years before we can expect to see an impact on the epidemic from such investment.”There is now strong evidence from three randomized controlled trials undertaken in Kisumu, Kenya; Rakai District, Uganda (funded by the US National Institutes of Health); and Orange Farm, South Africa (funded by the French National Agency for Research on AIDS) that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. This evidence supports the findings of numerous observational studies that have also suggested that the geographical correlation long described between lower HIV prevalence and high rates of male circumcision in some countries in Africa, and more recently elsewhere, is, at least in part, a causal association. Currently, 665 million men, or 30 % of men worldwide, are estimated to be circumcised. Read further.
Given Chancellor Angela Merkel’s religious freedom and tolerance, the Muslim Times is taking the liberty, to suggest her some reading materials. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, wrote about the utilitarian teachings of Islam and the Holy Quran:
When I reflect upon the Holy Word of God, it becomes clear to me how He bestows on man, through His teachings, rules for the reform of his natural condition and then gradually lifts him upwards and desires to raise him to the highest spiritual state, I realize that the principle of profound spiritual insight [underlying the following Divine Scheme] is that first God desires to teach man the rules of social behavior like sitting, standing, eating, drinking, talking etc., and thus to deliver him from a state of barbarism and distinguish him from the animals and thus bestow upon him an elementary moral state which might be described as social culture. He then desires to regulate his elementary moral habits so that they should acquire the character of high moral qualities. Both these methods are part of the same process as they are related to the reform of man’s natural condition. There is between them a difference only of degree. The All-Wise One has so arranged the moral system that man should be able to rise from a low to a high moral condition.