The German cabinet has approved proposals that will make circumcision explicitly legal for male children, providing it is carried out by trained experts. The decision ends months of uncertainty over the legality of ritual circumcision.
Following a debate in the German Parliament on a proposal to allow circumcision of male children to be legalized as a protected procedure, the BBC reported the proposal was approved by the cabinet. The new law is expected to be passed before the end of the year.
There has been uncertainty over the legality of male circumcision in Germany since June, when a Cologne district court ruled that a botched circumcision on a four-year-old Muslim boy constituted "bodily harm." The ruling provoked a national debate, infuriating the country's Jews and Muslims who wanted to be assured of their legal right to continue to practice ritual circumcisions. According to Haaretz Germany is home to some 100,000 Jews and four million Muslims.
Al Jazeera reported Steffen Seibert, German government spokesman, said: "It was always our intention to lift this ruling." The new law is supported by Chancellor Angela Merkel who said "the country risked becoming a laughing stock if Jews were not allowed to practise their rituals."
Under the new law parents must be advised of the medical risks and the procedure must be carried out by trained experts.