BERLIN - European Orthodox rabbis say religious freedom is threatened by a German court's decision that ritual circumcision amounts to criminal bodily harm even if parents consent to the procedure.
The ruling has prompted widespread criticism from Jewish and Muslim groups alike, despite German government attempts to allay fears that it could lead to a national ban on circumcisions. The president of the German Medical Association this week recommended that doctors cease performing circumcisions that are done for religious reasons until the law can be clarified.
Following an emergency meeting in the German capital of some 40 rabbis from across Europe to discuss the issue, the head of the Conference of European Rabbis called circumcision "the foundation" of the Jewish faith.
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