After controversial debates about religious motivated circumcision, the German Federal Parliament approves circumcision. The circumcision must be executed by trained persons and must fulfill health and medical regulations.
A prior draft attempted to legalize the circumcision of boys with the minimum age of 14.
However, the majority of the parliament did not approve it.
Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) welcomed the decision of the Federal Parliament: “For decades, parents have not been penalized when accessing professional means to circumcise their sons.” Circumcision would remain legal.
Head of the party in parliament, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) criticized the decision of the district court in Cologne, which had forbidden circumcision, as an alienating act for the Jewish community. Minister of Justice in Berlins, Thomas Heilmann (CDU) interpreted the law as a welcoming signal for Muslims and Jews.
Muslims in Germany form a potential voting block that cannot to be ignored. According to a study by the Islam Conference last June, the total number of Muslims in Germany lies between 3.8 and 4.3 million, of which 1.84 million hold a German passport. The German Federal Statistics Office conservatively estimates that some 750,000 Muslims are eligible to vote in the country.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) would probably have mixed feelings when glancing at the results of this poll. The Social Democrats are in first place with 35.5 percent of the vote, but only two years ago, 52 percent of Muslims were willing to cast their ballots for the SPD. The party has primarily lost ground to non-voters. The Greens have increased their support by 3.6 percent to a current level of 18 percent. This is a clear result of choosing Cem Özdemir as their leader. The Left Party and FDP don’t even make it to 5 percent, the cut-off threshold for seats in the German Bundestag. The same holds true of the CDU, which only garnered 4 percent support.
Many of Germany’s 4 million Muslims feel forgotten and ill-inclined to vote in this month’s election, and even politicians acknowledge they have woken up too late to their ballot box potential.
In Duisburg in the industrial Ruhr region that is home to Germany’s biggest mosque, conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democrat (SPD) challenger Frank-Walter Steinmeier stir little interest, still less political passion. “I haven’t got a job, nor have my mates. Politicians don’t care,” said Ismet Akgul, 19, standing with friends outside an amusement arcade in the Marxloh suburb where about 60 percent of the population has immigrant, in most cases Turkish, roots. “Firms see a foreign name on an application form and chuck it in the bin,” he said. About one in five Germans has an immigrant background and the biggest single minority is Turkish. Of the roughly 2.8 million people with Turkish roots, only about 600,000 can vote, many failing to register or acquire citizenship. Only five lamakers out of 614 in the Bundestag lower house of parliament have Turkish origins. Some politicians argue that Turks, many with origins in the poorer, more religiously conservative areas of eastern Turkey, should make greater efforts to integrate and learn German. Madeline Chambers reports.