Meanwhile, European rabbis, outraged at the ruling, have called for a two-day conference beginning Tuesday in Berlin to discuss how to deal with the ruling.
In a statement issued on Monday, Conference President Pinchas Goldschmidt, said the Cologne court "utterly failed to consider how fundamental" circumcision is to the Jewish community.
German Green Party leaders Renate Künast and Volker Beck wrote in the Berliner Zeitung newspaper on Monday that circumcision should not automatically be considered a criminal offense, and the Cologne ruling needs to be reviewed in light of religious freedom. They called for a "differentiated view" of the practice.
Ruling Unlikely To Lead To Prosecutions
Muslims, Jews, Catholics and Protestants alike have criticized the ruling. The Coordinating Council of Muslims in Germany called the ruling a "massive intrusion on religious freedom and on parents' rights." Meanwhile, the Central Council of Jews in Germany warned the ruling "would make Jewish life in Germany practically impossible." The Torah explicitly states that all Jewish boys should be circumcised by the eighth day after their birth.
It is estimated that at least 15 percent of German men are circumcised, with around 50,000 circumcisions performed each year. Among Jews and Muslims, an uncircumcised penis is considered to be a blemish, but the procedure is also undertaken in other countries for non-religious reasons. In the United States, around 70 percent of all men are circumcised.
In its ruling late last month, the court held that circumcision represents minor "bodily harm" to children. Here, that terminology is legally important, because public prosecutors are not required to pursue cases of minor bodily harm. A case would only be opened if an injured person or that injured person's parent files charges. It is not expected that many cases will ensure as a result of the court ruling.
A German Justice Ministry spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity according to government regulations, told the A.P. that legislative action might be needed to protect religious traditions in Germany. "It's being examined whether there needs to be a change to the laws and if so, in which form," she said.
Intellpuke: This article is a compilation of reporting by Spiegel journalists and various news agencies; you can read it in context here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/international-criticism-of-german-court-s-circumcision-ruling-mounts-a-843453.html