Thursday, July 19, 2012

German circumcision ruling now in English

There's been much talk about a recent ruling in which a German court outlawed the circumcision of a male child.
Indeed, word is that Germany legislators already are moving to pass a law that would nullify the ruling. (credit for photo of Reichstag in Berlin, seat of the legislature)
Given the interest not only among policymakers but also among scholars and others in civil society, it's welcome news that an English translation of that decision is now available.
Undertaking the project was the Islam, Law and Modernity unit at Durham Law School in England. The unit's director is our colleague, Professor Michael Bohlander, who holds the Chair in Comparative and International Criminal Law at Durham Law. He sent the following notice:
Cologne courthouse (credit)
'The District Court of Cologne (Germany) held on 7 May 2012 that the circumcision of a Muslim boy of the age of four constituted an unlawful offence of causing actual bodily harm and could not be justified by the consent of the boy's parents. The doctor performing the circumcision was acquitted, however, because the court conceded that he had acted under an unavoidable mistake of law due to the lack of unanimous opinion in the case law and literature at the time. The judgment is final. The decision has created an outrage among German Jewish and Muslim communities and will be debated for some time.'
Translator for this English translation, accompanied by explanatory notes, is Alexander Aumüller, a former student at Durham Law; Bohlander served as editor.

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