World Bulletin / News Desk
Germany's lower house of parliament passed a resolution on Thursday to protect the religious circumcision of infant boys after a district court ban on the practice outraged Muslims and Jews and sparked an emotional debate in the country.
The main political parties have criticised the ruling by a Cologne court and Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has promised a new law to make clear doctors or families will not be punished for carrying out the procedure.
The speed with which lawmakers agreed on the terms of the motion underscored sensitivity to charges of intolerance in a country haunted by its Nazi past.
The resolution, jointly filed by Merkel's conservatives, their liberal coalition ally (FDP) and the opposition Social Democrats (SPD), demanded that "the government present a draft law in the autumn ... that guarantees that the circumcision of boys, carried out with medical expertise and without unnecessary pain, is permitted".
The new law would overrule the Cologne court decision.
Lawmakers noted in the resolution that the court ruling had deeply unsettled Muslims and Jews in Germany, as they feared the practice would now be outlawed, while doctors were alarmed at the threat of prosecution if they performed operations.
"Jewish and Muslim religious life must continue to be possible in Germany. Circumcision has a central religious significance for Jews and Muslims," the resolution stated.
Merkel has said Germany risked becoming a "laughing stock" if Jews were not allowed to practise their rituals.
Around 4 million Muslims, many of whom are from Turkey which has also criticised the court ruling live in Germany that also about 120,000 Jews are registered as living.
Germany's Central Council of Jews described the Cologne ruling as an "unprecedented and dramatic intrusion" on religious freedom and the Central Council of Muslims in Germany called it a "blatant and inadmissible interference" in parents' rights.
An overwhelming majority of lawmakers voted in favour of the resolution, although the small opposition Left party opposed it, suggesting that infant boys could have a "symbolic circumcision" then undergo the actual operation when older.
Christian Democrat Guenter Krings, who supported the resolution, said: "We do not want to give any endorsement ... to the practice of circumcision with this resolution. It is important that there is a debate on the practice within religious communities and also within society, but this debate must not take place under the Damoclean sword of prosecution."
Although it is the world's most commonly practiced surgical procedure, he said, it could lead to complications and must be viewed as a significant procedure.
The Cologne court, ruling in the case of a Muslim boy who suffered bleeding after circumcision, said the practice inflicted bodily harm and should not be carried out on young boys, although it could be practised on older males with consent.
This is not acceptable under Jewish religious practice, which requires boys to be circumcised from eight days old, nor for many Muslims, for whom the age of circumcision varies according to family, country and tradition.
The bill was rushed through in the same sitting as a vote on aid to Spain for which lawmakers were recalled from their holidays.
Voters in KRG-held areas vote in a controversial referendum on whether to secede from Iraq
Chief imam in the commercial hub of Lago since 2000, Sheikh Garba Akinola-Ibrahim died after a protracted illness
On eve of vote, Haider al-Abadi says Baghdad will not recognize results of controversial Kurdish region referendum
One day before Kurdish region’s independence referendum, KRG's Masoud Barzani reiterates that polls will not be postponed
Conservatives projected to win 33 pct of votes, far-right AfD wins 13.3 pct, set to enter parliament as 3rd-largest party
When the ceasefire was announced in September, President Juan Manuel Santos, also gave the later date. After that, Santos said, it would be extended in line with progress in peace negotiations.
A resident raised the alarm at around 10:30 pm and the bomb squad was on site in the suburb of Lambersart as a precaution.
In the end, her conservatives may be forced into torturous coalition haggling, possibly with their biggest campaign rivals, to stay in power and secure Merkel a fourth term.
Transport for London said the conduct of Uber, which has around 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers in the British capital, had raised safety concerns.
Police were called late Saturday to the Stratford Centre near London's Olympic Stadium after a noxious substance was sprayed during an argument between two groups of males.
The protest began on Friday and swelled over the weekend after fruitless negotiations between activists, city authorities and new artistic director Chris Dercon, the former head of London's Tate Modern.
The Times quoted a "Brussels source" in their story on Saturday, but Davis told BBC television that "they sort of made that up."
Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence
Before the start of the conflict between Moscow-backed rebels and Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine in 2014, the factory used to employ about 1,500 workers.
The number of EU nationals leaving Britain, most of them from central Europe, rose by 33,000 to 122,000 people during the 12 months to March, according to the latest data following last year's Brexit referendum.
Yet authorities were still listening to anguished families who insisted that painstaking rescue operations continue at a handful of sites.