Germany Will Protect Circumcision

    Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, right, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, gestures next to Rabbi Avichai Appel, left, a board member of the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany, during a news conference in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, July 12, 2012. The Conference of European Rabbis has called an emergency meeting in Berlin this week to discuss a German court ruling that circumcising young boys for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm even if parents agree to it. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

    Gero Breloer / AP Photo

    Religious groups breathed a sigh of relief on Friday as Germany's government promised to protect the ritual circumcision of young boys. The controversy was sparked this summer by a court in Cologne, which ruled against parents seeking to perform the ancient ritual on their babies. A child's "fundamental right to physical integrity" was more important, the court said. The president of the Conference of European Rabbis called the decision the "worst attack on Jewish life since the Holocaust." By pledging to protect the practice, Angela Merkel's government is sending a message: "We want Jewish and Muslim religious life in Germany," said her spokesman.

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