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BERLIN -- As the circumcision debate heats up around the world, Germany's controversial past makes room for an unlikely alliance in the present.
BERLIN — The rhythmic pounding of drums and a zurna pipe sound out over the rush-hour racket of a four-lane thoroughfare in Berlin's Schöneberg district. A colorfully dressed group of people moves to the beat in a large circle spanning the sidewalk, hands joined. Though the celebration is mistaken by many passersby for a wedding, it is actually part of a Turkish circumcision ritual.
The demonstrative ceremony is an integral part of life in Germany's Muslim communities, which make up roughly five percent of the population. But a decision announced by a Cologne court last June ruled the practice of circumcision illegal, asserting that it amounts to criminal assault. Following outcry from Jews and Muslims worldwide, community representatives in Berlin came together in protest over the issue last week.
The German Turkish community organization’s chairman Kenan Kolat received a kippah from his Jewish peers when he addressed the crowd of some 300 mostly-Jewish demonstrators on the subjects of religious rites and anti-Semitism among Muslims. But other community representatives say the question goes far beyond that of faith.
“A ban on circumcision in Germany wouldn't stop the practice, it would simply make it more dangerous," Deputy Federal Chairwoman for the German Turkish Community Organization Ayşe Demir told Smart Planet.
"What you'll see is a sort of ‘circumcision tourism' develop in poorer countries, outside of Germany, where hygiene standards are even less likely to hold up.”
The subject is frought with controversy, even among medical professionals. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had held its 1999 stance that the risks of circumcision outweighed the benefits until reversing the conclusion earlier this month, noting that, “the decision to circumcise is one best made by parents in consultation with their pediatrician, taking into account what is in the best interests of the child, including medical, religious, cultural, and ethnic traditions and personal beliefs.”
Widely-acknowledged benefits of circumcision include reduced risk of HIV, while the Economist reported that an AAP-appointed task force also found a decrease in risk of various illnesses and infections, including HPV, among circumcised men. The task force also reported no evidence that circumcision diminished sexual function or pleasure, according to the magazine.
But opponents of religious circumcision say the practice puts the religious rights of parents before the human rights of children on outdated grounds. German Green Party representative Memet Kilic told the country’s taznewspaper in July that his stance has changed since the court decision first fell.
“A few weeks ago, I would have said no [to the government’s right to institute a ban]. But the Cologne decision provoked some necessary debate: that which appears in holy texts must also hold to modern-day interpretations of decency and medical progress,” said Kilic.
“The state alone will never succeed in changing the religious rites and customs of its citizens — but it can question them and enter into a dialogue with religious community leaders.”
Kilic told the paper he believes all non-medical circumcisions should be postponed until 14 years of age, at which point a youth could decide for or against the practice himself.
But in a country with an infamously precarious relationship to both its Jewish and Muslim minority populations, top politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, were quick to condemn the attempts to curtail the religious custom:
"I don't want Germany to be the only country in the world where Jews are unable to practice their rites — we would be a joke,” she told Financial Times Deutschland, following accusations from ban opponents that Germany lacks respect for its minority faiths.
Representative Kilic reiterated his belief that the debate is complex, yet necessary:
“It’s clear that this kind of conversation will produce tones that may seem anti-Semetic or anti-Islamic. We have a responsibility to move sensitively, and not only because of the Holocaust. But Germany also signed the Children’s Rights Convention: the Cologne decision was simply logical for a secular society — and is better than it has been painted, because it considers various points.”
Justice Minister Thomas Heilmann announced September 5 that circumcisions would not be prosecutable as long as parents could "prove religious motivation and necessity", for instance with the official consent of their religious community, according to Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper.
Sep 19, 2012
^^ A ban on circumcision in Germany wouldnt stop the practice, it would simply make it more dangerous ^^ That argument didn't stop 94% of the world from outlawing female genital cutting. The "Widely-acknowledged benefits of circumcision" are also widely disputed. Most of the "benefits" the AAP cited acrue only to adults, who can be allowed to make their own choices. ALL the supposed benefits can be realized through other non-destructive means. Foreskin feels REALLY good. HIS body, HIS decision.
No-one complained when female circumcision was made illegal, even though some people regard it as their religious right or duty to cut their daughters. It's illegal to cut off a girl's prepuce, or to make any incision on a girl's genitals, even if no tissue is removed. Even a pinprick is banned. Why don't boys get the same protection? Except in very rare medical circumstances, everyone should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want parts of their genitals cut off. It's *their* body. The "widely-acknowledged benefits of circumcision" only seem to be apparent to the AAP btw. Other national medical organizations recommend against neonatal circumcision. It's really easy to find circumcised doctors who are against the practice, but surprisingly difficult to find male doctors in favor of circumcision who weren't cut themselves as children.
Wow big emotions! It's not really a body part, like a heart or lungs they are cutting. But, all the same, let's reduce the problem by emasculation. That would involve a body part; and eliminate jihadists and the same time.
This video will shock a mother's conscience to the core. Torture By Another Name: "Circumcision" http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=683_1347997320
Next they'll be complaining that piercing earlobes damages hearing. This is yet another attack by the secularists on religious people. Coming soon: mandatory health regulations for the Eucharist.
I do not know what all the arguments and fuss are about. No matter what the rulings and the courts say circumcision will be carried out on Jewish and Muslim babies as it has been for the past 1000âs of years in the case of the Jews. The only difference is the health and safety of the circumstances of where and when the procedure is carried out. Whether it is in a modern hospital or the basement of a disused building only the courts can decide by ruling against it and putting these childrenâs lives at risk and also losing the respect of the ethnic groups concerned. During world war two and other times of trouble in history Jews performed religious ceremonies under threat of death and as this is done for religious as well as medical reasons although great respecters of law and order I do not think a little thing like a court ruling will stop them. I do not know what other repercussions this would have on the country but from past experience Jews will put financial and legal pressures to bear and Muslims take to the streets in great number to show support. so it would be a good idea to leave things unchanged and avoid many problems this action would bring and maybe even loss of life were things to get out of control.
Maimonides was wrong about circumsion. In the only national probability sample in the United States to examine circumcision and sex, researchers found that circumcised men were less likely to experience sexual dysfunction than uncircumcised men. Another study involving several thousand men who were circumcised as adults found that circumcision did not impact sexual satisfaction or pain during or after intercourse. In another study which asked women about their male partners, 71% of women preferred circumcised penises to uncircumcised ones when it came to engaging in sexual activities. Circumcision is a time-honored practice, performed on many American males, and not only for religious reasons. The practice also helps promote cleanliness and sanitation, especially in warm and moist climes. Welcome to the new world, where the Supreme Authority holds sway over all forms of human endeavor. 18 ounces of soft drinks? NO! Cirumcison? NO? Drive the car of your choice? NO! Wear the clothes of your choice? NO! Eat the food of your choice? NO! Go to the school of your choice? NO! Choose to bear children? NO! Progressive do-gooders will never stop creating more laws to keep people from doing things they want to do, while forcing the same people to pay for things against their personal convictions and beliefs.
It looks so gentlemanly and friendly in the picture. It's the kid who later, behind closed doors, bleeds, and permanently loses a healthy body part. The circumcision tourism stuff, gee, I didn't see that prevent the US from passing a ban on female circumcision. The difference between male and female circumcision, socially, is sexism. Name another body part that you can remove half the skin from, that doesn't lose sensation. Do you trust the AAP, or your capacity for simple logic? Is the AAP making money off of circumcision? You bet. An estimated 1 billion a year is paid for circumcision in the US. If you don't want to believe me, I have no problem with that. Look up the description of circumcision by Maimonides, one of the most famous physicians of all time, and a mohel (Jewish circumciser). He stated that "Similarly with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible." and "The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened." It's too bad that the Germans don't have the guts to protect their kids from unnecessary and unhelpful surgery. They are so afraid of being labeled anti-Semitic, that they will sacrifice parts of their kids to avoid it. It's sad that the Americans protect only their girls, but advocate for it for their boys. Europeans who don't circumcise have lower rates of all the diseases American doctors say circumcision prevents. Our dogs and cats have more protection. Sick stuff. Generally, healthy kids are not born needing surgery.
Once, many years ago, my first son was born. I was getting into a gown, and washing up with disinfectant, to go see him for the first time. I heard a horrific scream. I honestly thought a baby was being murdered. I ran into the room. It was a circumcision. I had not realized until that moment that a human body was capable of making such a sound. I ran from the room with the hairs on the back of my neck standing up, as they do to this day, 39 years later, when I think of that sound. The nurse came in, and said, "It's a shame you got all suited up, it's time for his circumcision". I said, "No, it isn't", and ran to the room to protect him.
No, it's not a body part like a heart or lungs they are cutting - it's more like an eyelid. (And your comment is going to appear here: http://www.circumstitions.com/Absurd.html)
Moses didn't circumcise his son. When the Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years, they did not circumcise. Very, very few Russian Jews are circumcised. Circumcision is a Muslim tradition, but not part of the religion. As a result, about 10% of Saudi Arabians have their foreskins. So, you are advocating that a painful genital surgery on a child be continued as a common practice, because people might take to the streets?
...to have laws against doing things to other people - including your own kids. You can't seriously see this as being the same thing as being free to "eat the food of your choice". I'm not aware of any new law preventing you from circumcising yourself - it's chopping off bits of other people which is frowned-upon. As for this survey where 71% of women preferred circumcised men, I notice you don't give a reference to it and I find that suspicious. At the least, I suspect it was conducted within a society where circumcised men are the majority, so the women are simply preferring the familiar to the unfamiliar.
It's OK, to remove half the skin of your genitals, as long as either: 1. It is someone else who is losing that skin 2. You are too young to remember it, and have been conditioned to believe it is OK by the time you are an adult. Just ask any guy with a foreskin, if it is a spare part, or a necessary part.
Not only Maimonides, but everyone in non-circumcising cultures from Philo of Alexandria to J H Kellogg knew that the foreskin gives pleasure. This is forgotten only where men don't have them. I recognsie the studies you mention. The first (Laumann) only found the difference in old men; did not correct for ethnicity; relied on self-report of circumcision status; and later, using the same data found "...circumcision generally do[es] not result in increased odds of experiencing sexual dysfunction." The second (Krieger, Bailey, Moses et al.) was based on paid adult volunteers for circumcision, conducted by circumcision advocates. There was a striking decrease in sexual dysfunction in both circumcised and control groups, indicating something else was going on. The third (Williamson and Williamson) was based on 145 Iowa mothers (only 54% of those who were asked) of whom only 24 had experience of both, and at least one (who had had a daughter) was not invited to take part until she had said she would have circumcised a son. In other words, it was rigged. For the rest, http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/slippery-slope So Angela Merkel doesn't want Germany to be the only country where babies (boys and girls) are protected from having (the best) part of their genitals cut off? She should hold hands with Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland (and why not the whole EU?), and all do it together.
I held my sons for their circumscisions (Brit Milah) and just a year ago held my first grandson. Did the baby cry? Yes. Different from e.g., his first vaccination? No. Did I run screaming? No. Perhaps you are simply afraid of the sight of blood.
I handled my wife's episiotomy just fine. There was no shortage of blood then. She passed a 10 pound blood clot, when delivering our second kid. I was still OK. Maybe, because it is your culture, you expected the kid to cry, and he met your expectations. I had no expectations, because I had no idea what was happening. I didn't run screaming. It was the baby who was issuing the blood-curdling scream. Like the video referenced, nobody is ever going to convince me that removing half the skin of a child's unanesthetized penis is anything short of torture, whether you do it in G^d's name, or just for the heck of it. or because the AAP or Smart Planet told you it was a good idea.