[JURIST] A German court ruled [press release, in German] Tuesday that circumcising young boys based on religious traditions is prohibited even if the parents consent to the procedure. The Cologne state court [official website, in German] addressed the issue of whether to criminalize the circumcision of Muslim and Jewish children and reasoned that a child’s right to physical integrity is above the freedom of religion and parents’ rights. The case involved a doctor who carried out a circumcision on a four-year-old Muslim boy on his parents’ request. The operation had some complications and after the state’s prosecution was notified of the incident, it brought a lawsuit against the doctor. The court, however, dismissed the claim against the doctor reasoning that he was not aware of the procedure’s illegality at the time of circumcision. The court’s judgment was criticized by religious groups stating that it is infringing upon the right to freedom of religion.
Circumcision remains a controversial throughout the world. In October California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will prevent local governments from banning [JURIST report] male circumcision. The law was written in response to a ballot measure proposed in San Francisco that would have made male circumcision illegal if the recipient was under the age of 18, with perpetrators penalized by a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment.