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September 11 2012 09:30 | Dom Armie Kino Hall

Freedom of religion as a crucial example of minority right



Kotel Da-Don


Chief Rabbi of Croatia

Religous minorities in Europe and outside find themselves confronted with a new challenges these days -- globalization. From time to time we are facing tendency to violate the freedom of religion inside and outside of the EU. The main examples I would like to emphesise are banns on the Kosher slougtering/Shchita and circumcision. 

Kosher slougtering/Shchita
Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as New Zealand have banned Jewish and Muslim slaughtering of animals for meat. Furthermore, there is one political group in Switzerland that even wants to ban the import of kosher meat.  Recently this year in the Netherland it almost came to a Ban.

Circumcision
Another example is the attack on ritual circumcision; it is a direct attack on Jewish and Muslim religious observance to come out of Europe.
There have been attempts to ban religiously motivated circumcision. Recently we followed the court's decision in Cologne, Germany against circumcision. It was a dangerous precedent which raised a storm among Jews around the world. The Cologne case was of a Muslim child who was injured during an circumcision operation after which he was transported to the hospital because the bleeding has not stopped for two days. In its decision, the German court ruled that circumcision is inappropriate interventions that threaten the body and health of the newborn. The consequences of this decision could have been far reaching both in Germany and in Europe, since it aroused great concern among Jewish and Muslim communities alike. This decision indeed is contrary to the Human Rights of the European Union, which obliges the German legal system, and undermines the basic right of freedom of religion under the Constitution of Germany.
The threat of this ban disappeared after a quick intervention of lawmakers took place in Germany. The issued a joint resolution 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, "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.
Such words of the German Court Decision : "inappropriate intervention that threatens the health of the newborn body" is a serious danger to future interference with freedom of religion, as such arguments forbit practice of a religion.
The court decision medically was unfounded and certainly contrary to Jewish religious laws. Furthermore, the fact is that millions of Jews who, as infants went through circumcision throughout history, have grown as healthy people physically and spiritually can be seen in their contribution to humanity in all areas.
I believe that the most important thing is that no Judges nor Parliaments can patronize minorities and their freedom of religion by telling them what is good for them, since in this way we will simply empty the content of a religion or a culture of a minority.

 

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI

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Sarajevo 2012