NEW YORK — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Wednesday commended the German parliament for passing a law to preserve the religious freedom of those who practice ritual circumcision.
In May, a regional court in Cologne ruled that the practice was illegal because it constituted “bodily harm,” generating legal uncertainty about circumcision throughout Germany and causing great trepidation among the German Jewish community.
The outcry prompted Germany's center-right government and opposition parties to draw up legislation confirming the practice was legal — overruling the court's decision..
Passed by an overwhelming majority of 434 to 100 votes in parliament's lower house Wednesday, the law allows for circumcision by a trained professional, as long as parents are warned of the possibility of health risks.
“Circumcision of newborn male infants is a core religious rite of Judaism,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This vote marks a milestone in Germany’s commitment to re-building Jewish life and to religious freedom.”
In a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, ADL expressed appreciation for the vote in the Bundestag and voiced hope the legislation will provide an example to other countries where religious freedom has come under threat.
“We look forward to holding up Germany as a model to be followed,” Foxman wrote.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice, and bigotry.
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