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.
Prisoners told the Journal Sentinel that Thomas spent the last days of his life in agony, begging for water, in vain.
The opposition urged protesters to march on central Caracas, a pro-Maduro bastion where the seat of government is located.
The leaders of the other 27 EU nations will meet on April 29 to set down the bloc's red lines, though the talks will not begin until June.
Rather than efforts to keep the peace, the conflict is escalating in the war-ravaged country, said head of UN mission
US District Judge William Orrick says executive order unconstitutional, lawsuits likely to succeed
Ankara does not recognize monitoring decision, stands ready to reconsider EU accession, Turkish president says
The four were among nine men arrested in a vast operation targeting suspected extremists that was carried out in the northeastern region of Catalonia in conjunction with Belgian police, Catalan police said in a statement.
The incident occurred on Monday night, with the traditional flat-bottomed boat overturning off Bettenty, an island area just north of The Gambia, with 72 on board.
The police in Parana state displayed a haul of dollars and other currencies in plastic bags, as well as a powerful automatic rifle.
Ostensibly meant to guarantee freedoms, opposition blasts raft of amendments as ‘oppressive’
Turkish Red Crescent, Turkey Diyanet Foundation, and IHH help drought-stricken Horn of Africa nation
Ivanka has been accused in the United States of benefiting from nepotism, and was ridiculed on the "Saturday Night Live" comedy show for being "complicit" in promoting Trump's divisive policies.
President Donald Trump, who took office in January, spent much of his campaign blasting the NAFTA agreement and stating that he would renegotiate it to get a better deal.
Macron and Le Pen were the top two finishers in the first round of voting on Sunday, moving on to the second-round run-off on May 7.
A four-month joint Europol and Interpol operation involving 61 countries has uncovered millions of dollars worth of fake food
The North African country has faced mounting calls from rights groups and civil society to reform the law.