The court ruled that involuntary religious circumcision should be made illegal because it could inflict serious bodily harm on people who had not consented to it. Male circumcision is part of Jewish and Muslim religious tradition.
The ruling said boys who consciously decided to be circumcised could have the operation. No age restriction was given, or any more specific details.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany called the ruling an “unprecedented and dramatic intrusion” of the right to religious freedom and an “outrageous and insensitive” act.
“Circumcision for young boys is a solid component of the Jewish religion and has been practiced worldwide for millennia. This religious right is respected in every country around the world,” President Dieter Graumann said in a statement.
Children are not property; they are people who deserve to have their rights respected. Non-consensual circumcision of infants and children tramples on those children’s rights to bodily autonomy and to choose a religion (and how to participate in that religion) for themselves when they are old enough.
A child born to Jewish parents and left intact may grow up and choose to be circumcised, but a child forcibly mutilated at birth can never have the choice to not be circumcised for religious reasons if they disagree with their parents’ faith.