The German government sought to reassure Jewish and Muslim parents Friday that they will continue to be able to circumcise their sons according to religious tradition, despite a local court's ruling that the practice amounts to bodily harm.
Muslim and Jewish leaders had protested the Cologne court decision in the case of a 4-year-old boy who suffered medical complications after the procedure. The head of the German Medical Association recommended this week that doctors cease performing circumcisions for religious reasons until the law can be clarified.
"We want Jewish, we want Muslim religious life in Germany," said German government spokesman Steffen Seibert. "Circumcision carried out responsibly must be possible in this country without legal punishment," he told reporters in Berlin.
Officials said the government was examining various legal options and seeking a quick solution to resolve the issue. Jewish tradition requires that boys be circumcised eight days after birth.
Germany is sensitive to criticism about its treatment of religious communities due to the country's history of persecuting Jews that reached a climax during Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.