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Circumcision Makes Strange Bedfellows

Jews and Muslims on the same side of a protest?

By Petrarch  |  September 13, 2012

As far back as history records, the Jews have had problems with their non-Jewish neighbors.  This was often because of the peculiar and non-negotiable religious practices of Judaism.  One of the reasons that tolerance of the Jews is a major hallmark of Western civilization is because Judaism is the archetype of an odd but harmless religion: Jewish tradition requires nothing harmful or even inconveniencing to non-Jews, but as can be seen regularly on the streets of New York, traditionally devout Jews stick out as weird!

So do Muslims - even more so, as unlike Jews, their religion requires that members of other religions be oppressed where feasible, to push them into conversion.  Since the days when the Koran was written, Jews and Muslims have been bitter enemies.  Indeed, the main feature of the Islamic final Day of God's Judgement is a massacre of Jews:

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews , when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.

 - Sahih Muslim, 41:6985

To a non-Jewish, non-Muslim observer, Judaism and Islam seem to have notable similarities.  They both wear funny clothes and are given to loud chanting in foreign languages.  They both are finicky about what they'll eat, and in mostly the same ways.  And they both demand circumcision of all male children or devotees.

Nein danke!

The Enemy of My Enemy?

Germany of the 1930s didn't have many Muslims, but millions of Jews suffered under Hitler's depravity.  One notorious disadvantage of a hiding male Jew was that, unlike virtually any other German males at the time, the Jew would be circumcised.  A simple check at the hands of the SS and the Jew would stand revealed.

With this history, it's not surprising that circumcision is a touchy subject in Germany to this day.  Thus, news that a German court had declared circumcision to be child abuse sent up rockets of warning:

The court in the western city of Cologne handed down the decision on Tuesday in the case of a doctor prosecuted for circumcising a four-year-old Muslim boy who had to be treated two days later for post-operative bleeding.

It ruled involuntary religious circumcision should be made illegal because it could inflict serious bodily harm on people who had not consented to it.

The judges didn't outlaw circumcision per se, they merely required consent beforehand.  However, both Muslim and Jewish scriptures require the procedure to be performed on infants who can't consent.  In effect, the court tried to outlaw this millennia-old religious practice by fiat.

Local Jewish and Muslim leaders were equally horrified and made their protests known.  This is no more than we expected.

What we didn't expect to see, though, was a joint protest by these two sworn enemies:

Around 500 mainly Jewish but some Christian and Muslim protesters gathered in Berlin on Sunday to demand the right to circumcision after a disputed court ruling in Germany outlawing the rite.

The article goes on to say that the Jews wore orthodox dress and waved Israeli flags, which might normally expect to bring on violence from Muslims who outnumber them in Germany by more than 20 to 1.  Not this time; a common cause brought about a temporary peace.

We'd prefer to see a more permanent peace between Muslims and Jews, though after examining the Koran, we won't be holding our breath.  But hey, it's a start.  Even so, those German jurists should be ashamed of themselves.