World Bulletin / News Desk
Berlin's senate said doctors could legally circumcise infant boys for religious reasons in its region, given certain conditions, ending months of legal uncertainty after a court banned the practice this year.
The ruling in June by a district court in Cologne outraged Muslims and Jews and sparked an emotional debate in the country.
Although the ban applied only to the Cologne region, doctors across the country refused to carry out operations because of what they saw as a risk of legal action.
Berlin became the first of Germany's states to protect the practice while the national government works on a new law to legalise the operation across the country and overrule the Cologne decision.
Thomas Heilmann, Berlin's senator for justice, said in a statement on Wednesday circumcision could not be prosecuted in Berlin if both parents had given their permission and been informed about the risks of the operation.
The parents had to prove their affiliation to a religious group and a doctor had to perform the circumcision.
"We explicitly welcome Jewish and Muslim life in Berlin. This applies also to the practice of their religions," said Heilmann.
Around 4 million Muslims, many of whom are from Turkey are registered as living in Germany along with about 120,000 Jews.
The Cologne court ruling triggered a highly charged debate in Germany over infants' and parents' rights, religious freedom and the practice of circumcision itself. The row has barely abated since then.
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