Washington – Representative Henry A. Waxman, Representative Nita M. Lowey, and Representative Howard Berman, sent a letter to the German government signed by twenty members of Congress expressing concern about a recent German court decision effectively banning the practice of ritual circumcision on minor male children.
The letter, which was sent to German Ambassador to the United States Peter Ammon, objects to a June 26, 2012 decision in the District Court of Cologne as an affront to religious freedom because Jews and Muslims consider circumcision a fundamental rite of passage and affirmation of faith. The members also recognize the strong statements by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and Bundestag leaders pledging to take up legislation to address the uncertainty created by the ruling.
“Europe has experienced a troubling uptick in measures that violate religious freedom by undermining core religious tenets, such as the Dutch initiative to ban ritual slaughter and this new effort in Germany to outlaw ritual circumcision,” said Rep. Waxman. “We must ensure that Germany follows through on its commitment to resolve this controversy.”
“A not so veiled assault on tenets central to religious expression is underway in Europe’s courts and legislatures,” added Rep. Berman. “We must let it be known to our friends in a clear and unequivocal voice that such measures are harmful assaults on religious freedom and should not continue.”
The full text of the letter is available online here.