German Federal Parliament approves ritual circumcision

Dec 12


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.


Circumcisions in Berlin remain exempt from punishment

September 5


Religious motivated circumcisions will be exempt from punishment, at least under certain conditions. The Senator for Justice, Thomas Heilmann, declared that the General Office of the District Attorney would not persecute religiously motivated circumcisions under three conditions:


–          The parents sign an agreement after an sufficient amount of information about risks for health

–          It must be religiously motivated

–          Medical standards including sterilization must be guaranteed


Yet, other German States have not decided how to proceed and whether to legalize circumcisions.