Last week the German court in Cologne ruled that circumcision by parents of sons is an unlawful act. This ruling will be enforced even if performed by a qualified doctor, making them liable to prosecution.
Is this a landmark ruling to remove religious liberty or an insidious return of anti-semiticism and a rise of Islamophobia in Europe? These are the questions that need to be answered by our leaders and senior lawmakers.
Approximately one-sixth to one-third of males worldwide are circumcised. In Judaism, where circumcision has been a tradition for over 40 centuries, it is considered a commandment from God. In Islam, it is widely practiced and in the Sunnah, Muhammad stated that circumcision was a "law for men and a preservation of honour for women" though it is not mentioned in the Koran. Muslims are currently the largest single religious group to practice circumcision.
Could it be possible that judges in Cologne didn't know what happened the last time Germany went down this road? One of Hitler's first enactments was to outlaw the Jewish method of slaughter.
The other was to ban circumcision.
Jews and Europe go back a long way. The struggle of Jews in Europe has added several words to the human vocabulary - words like expulsion,final solution, inquisition, blood libel, mass genocide, systematic killing, ghetto, pogrom and holocaust.
This case - like the banning of the kosher slaughtering of animals by the Dutch parliament, which has been reversed- illustrates the difficulty Jews are facing in Europe today. Both cases initially had nothing to do with Jews but were directed predominantly against Muslims, whose population vastly out numbers that of Jews in every country in Europe. They are part of the backlash against the misguided policy of multiculturalism, adopted by most European countries in the 1970s.
By ruling that Jews and Muslims performing one of their most ancient sacred rituals are abusing the rights of the child, the German court has banned something that is fundamental to each of these two ancient religions.
Instead of Muslims fighting Jews and Jews fighting Muslims - perhaps they can finally come together and fight to defend their basic right to religious freedom.
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