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My Take: Jews and Muslims should unite against Germany circumcision ban
Arsalan Iftikhar says the debate on circumcision is really about religious freedom.
July 17th, 2012
07:41 AM ET

My Take: Jews and Muslims should unite against Germany circumcision ban

Editor's note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and author of the book "Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era."

By Arsalan Iftikhar, Special to CNN

(CNN)–According to recent reports, a German court's ban on circumcising baby boys has provoked a rare show of unity between Jews, Muslims and Christians who see it as a threat to religious freedom, while doctors warn it could increase health risks by forcing the practice underground. This recent ruling has global media commentators on all sides of the political aisle debating whether this issue is an affront to religious freedom or a victory to protect the foreskins of young male babies around the world.

Several prominent writers, including Michael Gerson of the Washington Post, rightfully challenged this recent legal decision by a local German court in Cologne, which would effectively criminalize ritual circumcision for infant males as an exercise of religious freedom for minority religious communities in the country.

Gerson and others have been highlighting this most recent issue vis-à-vis Europe’s infamous history of anti-Semitism, which has long been a sociopolitical stain of xenophobia across European lands.

However, it is quite interesting to note that most of these same commentators are not even adequately addressing the fact that the German case in question actually involved a Muslim family, not a Jewish one.

Basically, many of these commentators are citing a legal ruling against a Muslim family in Germany to fashion entire columns devoted to prejudice vis-a-vis the Jewish community, with barely a reference to the original case involving Muslims or rising tide of Islamophobia in Europe, which exists alongside anti-Semitism on the spectrum of xenophobia and must be eradicated.

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Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel ignored the Muslim origins of this controversy when she recently told her party members that Germany risked becoming a "laughingstock" and that her country should not be "the only country in the world in which Jews cannot practice their [religious] rites".

This entire meta-narrative is even more perplexing since most estimates find that Germany is home to approximately 120,000 Jews and more than 4 million Muslims.

On the other side of the Germany circumcision debate, noted journalist Andrew Sullivan recently wrote about the topic and asked, "[Can] parents permanently mutilate a child's genitals to pursue their own religious goals?"

Although Sullivan clearly states that he "veers on the side of permissiveness" in this case in Germany, he does anchor his position on the belief that the religious practice of infant circumcision is tantamount to male genital mutilation. "At some point, one can only hope this barbarism disappears," writes Sullivan. "And it will have nothing to do with anti-Semitism or Islamophobia; it will be about defending the religious liberty of Jewish and Muslim male [babies] to choose their religion, and not have it permanently marked as scar tissue on their [genitals]."

Although I usually agree with much of his writing on most subjects, I would be curious to see if  Sullivan would also consider parents who pierce the ears of their baby daughters to be committing "earlobe mutilation"?

Probably not.

Having said that, this is yet another instance of a "teachable moment" where Jews, Muslims and people of all faiths (or no faith) can unite to promote religious freedom for all people around the world. Since we tend to live in tribalistic circles where Muslim people tend to focus only on Islamophobia and Jewish people tend to focus only on anti-Semitism, we need to instill a new culture where Jewish people speak against Islamophobia and Muslim people speak against anti-Semitism across the globe.

Similarly, as an international human rights lawyer, it would behoove me to highlight the importance for the global community to protect the legal and political rights of all religious minorities in every part of the world.

In the case of the German circumcision ban, people of conscience should stand with both Muslim and Jewish communities in Germany to help ensure that anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are equally challenged, especially since we are seeing right-wing xenophobic political parties continue to rise to prominence in many part of the European Union.

Similarly, we should also speak up for disenfranchised religious minorities in other parts of the world, whether it is Coptic Christians in Egypt, the Baha'i community in Iran, the Rohingya Muslims in Burma (now known as Myanmar) or the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan.

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Even though we do not yet live in a world where many Jewish and Muslim people agree on many geopolitical matters, the concept of  religious freedom should be something that people of all faiths (or no faith) should be able to agree upon wholesale.

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

Basically, at a time where the world seems to become even more polarized on a daily basis, this latest Germany circumcision debate should be used by Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities to stand in solidarity and unite in an essence of true Abrahamic camaraderie, regardless of whether we are circumcised or not.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Arsalan Iftikhar.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Germany • Islam • Judaism

soundoff (1,235 Responses)
  1. JCR

    I think the ban is silly health-wise, but I don't think religion should have any say in health.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  2. jony

    Never trust an author whose name you can't pronounce

    July 22, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • danieldemol

      For some anti-intellectual types that would limit the journalist profession to people with 3 letter names or who were known by their initials.

      Wouldn't it be smarter to decide if a journalist is trustworthy on the basis of the extent to which they practise telling the truth?

      Kind regards,
      ~Dan

      July 23, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • granny25

      LOL...............good one!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  3. PraiseTheLard

    It would probably be more useful to have every baby given an appendectomy instead...

    July 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • sense

      Except, like every other body part, the appendix has value. It stores good bacteria for the digestive system. We can live without it (mine was removed), but it's better to keep it.

      July 21, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  4. chrispark

    Your freedom of religion does not include the freedom to cut your baby boy's foreskin off! Let HIM decide when he is old enough to do so. It never ceases to amaze me that religious people feel persecuted when someone takes away their ability to force their beliefs on others.

    July 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!'

      July 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • alphabatt1

      Yet Religion explains nothing.

      July 22, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  6. BFC

    I would be curious to see if Sullivan would also consider parents who pierce the ears of their baby daughters to be committing "earlobe mutilation"?

    Probably not.

    That's because earlobe piercings heal over time. My foreskin that was stolen from me as an infant will never grow back. It's as much a permanent mutilation as if my parents had cut my arm off as a child.

    July 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Why do you think you need two arms?

      July 21, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  7. t-bone

    How many males have died from this procedure?
    How many males over the age of 18 are upset that they had the procedure?

    None and None.
    Mind your own business, its not like anyone is going door to door cutting tips off.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      incorrect on both counts t-bone.
      I suppose you did your due diligance before posting your opinion as if it were fact....of course you didn't.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  8. t-bone

    Here is a question only a man can answer.
    Everytime you go to the bathroom, how many times have you slid it back into your pants to find one single little stray drop get away into your shorts?
    It happens all the time.
    Now, if your not cut, where does that droplet go?
    Yep all over the flap of skin.
    Nasty, enjoy that ladies.
    I'll be grateful my folks snipped the end into a nice little soldier.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • sense

      t-bone, do you imagine women leave the restroom completely "dry"? Honestly, you think this is a major issue for us? I don't mean this to insult you – it's not your fault this was done to you as an infant. But, really, it's better when it's a complete instrument. Better for the woman, and according to men who had it done as adults, it's better for the men to be unmutilated as well.

      July 20, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • boulderbubblemomblog

      Yes, we do, it's called "toilet paper"

      July 29, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  9. t-bone

    How sad that there are people out there that believe they should have the right to ban others from making decisions for their own families.
    Mind your own freaking business.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      And if some religion decides that left-handedness is evil and proceeds to cut off the left hands of babies, you'd be OK with that?

      July 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • jeru0455

      How sad is it that parents think they can make decisions for their infant children who have no say in the matter?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  10. Reality

    One more time:

    "The AMA states that "virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circu-mcision, and support the provision of accurate and unbiased information to parents to inform their choice.".[48] Specifically, major medical societies in the USA,[56] Britain,[57] Canada,[58] Australia and New Zealand[3][dead link] do not recommend routine non-thera-peutic infant circu-mcision. The AAP advises that "Physicians counseling families concerning this decision should assist the parents by explaining the potential benefits and risks and by ensuring that they understand that circ-umcision is an elective procedure."

    July 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • t-bone

      of course its elective.
      At least until the Liberal mob get their way and tell you how you will live.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  11. Louise

    "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." EVERYONE includes the child who has a right to decide his/her religious preferences when s/he reaches the age of majority. Until that time NO ONE has the right to impose a religious practice that alters their anatomy to confirm to the parents religious beliefs!

    July 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Andy R

      Well said Louise!

      July 23, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  12. Sam

    What's the difference between this and the painful procedure of "female circ.umcision" that is almost universally seen as wrong?

    July 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Mickey1313

      Not much except the female version is not suported by judeo christianity. They believe there theistic views superceed childs rights, they are of course wrong.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Stan

      They are functionally different. Trying to say this in a way that won't flag the filters...

      Female version = removes a part that is integral to the enjoyment of "the act"
      Male version = removes a skin flap that doesn't impact performance or enjoyment (at least not for the male; some females prefer when that flap is there)

      July 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • sense

      Stan, from what I've heard or read from men who had the procedure done as adults, removing the skin DOES reduce enjoyment for the men. By a lot.

      July 20, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • granny25

      Theres a HUGE difference – google FGM.............

      July 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • JCR

      I have to assume you have no idea what "female circomcision" actually is.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  13. JustNotToday

    It's crazy how missed informed people are about the male's foreskin and it's function. The United States of America went crazy in the 1940-1990 over this "fashion" trend, and yes I will call it that. Majority of males around the world are uncirc-umcised, and this is in 1st world nations. The Majority of 3rd world nation circ-umcise males,and females, it's madness that the US is one of the only 1st world nation that still perform this "medical" practice. Us males are born with the fore-skin and I fell as if this is something that should stay with us.

    This boils down to misinformation, if people take the time and learn the function of the fore-skin then this would become a different debate, but for now cutting off the fore-skin is a fashion statement in the US.

    I feel that Jews and Muslims can still do this practice for it's a part of their religion, but for a common medical practice I don't think it's truly justified( do the research, and look at the research out of Europe). And at the end of the day this should be a decision made by the male in his life.

    Just remember if you cut the fore-skin off..it's okay, but if you do the same practice to a female it's mutational...I say this is a double standard.

    People just need to better inform themselves and the truth about male circ-umcision is a victim of misinformation.

    Also, look at art...100% of all great art from the Greeks to the Romans , and the Renaissance movement the naked male body and his pen-is has a foreskin. The human body is art and when we are born we are a work of art...

    July 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • EasyTiger

      Please don't misinterpret this, but there has been a lot of very questionable medical research done in Europe. That is not to say there aren't many very fine medical professionals in Europe or that all US studies are done impeccably. But you do have to care as much about the manner in which a study was conducted as you do about the results regardless of where or who published the study. As Leslie, and others who are just trying to present both sides of the equation here have pointed out – the facts are that there is no reasonable evidence which suggests this procedure has any long-term ill effects. There are risks associated with electing not to circ. Medical professionals do not generally characterize the procedure as cosmetic. I believe parents need to make the best and most appropriate decision for their sons and I would not support the notion of making this decision (as again it is a legitimate procedure) the government's. But I'm very American in that way.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Michael

      EasyTiger

      The harm is self-evident in that healthy tissue is removed from the infant or young boy.

      No studies would need to be conducted to somehow prove that removing the inner labia from infant girls is harmful.

      Studies certainly help to fully capture the harmful effects of a procedure, but removing healthy tissue from a human body is mutilation.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Michael

      Easy Tiger

      Regarding harmful long-term effects of the procedure, please read this:

      Sorrells, Morris L., et al. “Fine-touch Pressure Thresholds in the Adult Penis.” British Journal of Urology, International Edition 99 (2007): 864-869

      July 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Michael

      Easy Tiger

      1. Penile cancer is EXCEEDINGLY RARE (AAP)

      2. The rate of urinary tract infections among intact boys is at most 1% (AAP) and they can be treated successfully with antibiotics, the same way young girls are treated when they develop urinary tract infections.

      3. There is a vaccine for HPV. The vaccine is not perfect, but it is highly effective and much less invasive than amputating healthy penile tissue.

      4. Condoms provide greater protection against HIV transmission than does removal of the foreskin from men.

      5. Balanoposthitis can often be treated successfully with steroid creams. Most industrialized countries view removal of the foreskin as a last resort intervention for that condition.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Stan

      Lots of European countries don't see the value in showering daily either...

      July 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • t-bone

      justnottoday.
      You are wrong.
      Period.
      All of Europe has both cut and uncut.
      And i know this is hard for you to understand but, its really not your place to decide how a family raises their child.
      You worry about you and yours and i will care for mine.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  14. Leslie4Obama

    Michael I am well aware of that study. I am also aware of the many papers and findings before and after that have shown results contrary to those findings. Later In 2007 Montreal's McGill University released a peer review study that refuted those claims by Sorrells, Morris L. I have provided a whole myriad of diseases and ailments that effect uncircu-mcised male infants and adults. Hence the medical reasons. I am assuming you have never seen an infant inflicted with balanoposthitis or urinary tract infection. Call a few local urologists and ask them how many male infants to toddlers come in for medical treatment due to not being circ-umcised vs those who have to come in because of their circ-umcision. If that does not convince you of the medical purpose then nothing will. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink. You seem set on being a Zealot.

    July 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Michael

      Please read the policy statement of the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) on the practice. Search Google for it and please read it. You will see how a properly educated and ethical medical association views the practice.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  15. EasyTiger

    I understand why some out there discourage the practice or think it unnecessary. What I don't understand is how is a safe medical procedure with known benefits is at all equitable with child abuse? The fact of the matter is that no medical professional will tell you that the risks of circ are greater than non-circ. While there are rare complications with the procedure, there are also known risks and complications of not having the procedure done. I can't justify comparing it with abuse. Maybe, since I'm a woman, I'm just not well-informed enough about the long-standing suffering of a circ'd man, but from the outside it seems ludicrous to compare a child who endures physical, emotional, or se ual abuse and an infant that was circ'd. Am I out of line? How is it a logical comparison? Maybe because I've seen kids that have really suffered and a circ on an infant (which again is a perfectly legal, safe, and medically valid option) and I just would never have thought of one being equivalent to the other.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Mickey1313

      There is no credable evidence of problems with non circu msision, if people take proper hygene. If it were a credible problem how did the greeks, romans, chinese, indians, both types, survive with out this form of mutalation

      July 18, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  16. Leslie4Obama

    The old adage if you repeat a lie enough times, people will begin to believe it. The only thing that annoys me more than a religious zealot is the anti religious zealots who hate any practice that has a religious connection without considering its benefits. There are many practices that we all can benefit by, which have religious roots. To name a few yoga, meditation, vegetarianism, ect.. During the black plague and other plagues Jewish communities in Europe were virtually untouched by the epidemics because of religious customs that kept them clean. Ignorance also was prevalent and the unwashed masses contributed their health to supersti tions. They fell for the lies perpetrated by hateful people and tried to prevent them from practicing their religion and customs just as many here have been tricked in believing lies about circu-mcisions. I have spent time in places such as Africa and seen first hand the consequences of an uncircu-mcised male population. STD’s are decimating the population. Several Studies in Africa have shown that simple male Circu-mcission considerably reduces the spread of STD’s such as HIV and it has an expediential effect on the reduction. It will not eliminate the spread but is already saving tens of thousands. In Uganda the research is conclusive that it is was one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of HIV. Also there was a study in Uganda in which several thousand men were surveyed that had adult circu-mcisions and it was conclusive that there was no loss of se-xual pleasure after the procedure but some actually stated an increase in pleasure. Will these facts which can also be found on the CDCdotGOV website dissuade the anti circ-umcision zealots? I doubt it? The CDC also found that heteros-exual men who were not circ-umcised where 3.5 times likely to contract HIV and that hom-ose-xual men who were un circu-mcised where 2 times more likely to contract the disease. The Facts speak for themselves. So I ask who in their right mind would be for the elimination/reduction of circ-umcision and what is their agenda? This is not about religion this is about fighting diseases that kill people. A large retrospective study of circ-umcision in nearly 15,000 infants found neonatal circ-umcision to be highly cost-effective, considering the estimated number of averted cases of infant urinary tract infection and lifetime incidence of HIV infection, penile cancer, balanoposthitis, and phimosis. The cost of postneonatal circu-mcision was 10-fold the cost of neonatal circu-mcision. Mandy on page 17 brought up some valid points. I do not know if I would call it a war on women but in regards to public health it is the sensible choice.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Ed.

      Leslie4Obama,

      Paragraphs are our friends. My eyes, they bleed.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Leslie4Obama

      Sorry this came from my phone. 😉

      July 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • EasyTiger

      Watch out Leslie – you are making sense. Seems like a lot of people on this board can't handle things like logic and research. Medical professionals who don't agree with them are 'broadly overstating' the benefits of a safe, nearly risk-free medical procedure.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Michael

      Simple hypothetical for you to consider:

      If removing the inner labia of women was shown to have the same types of health benefits that have been associated with removing the foreskin of men, would you consider it ethical for doctors to routinely remove the inner labia from infant girls?

      July 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Leslie4Obama

      Exactly tiger. Tell the child who lost their parent to HIV that could have been prevented by this procedure that it is 'broadly overstating'. Tell it to the millions of people who this has saved them from contracting deadly and non deadly diseases that the facts are 'broadly overstated'. I hate to see the further if we continue on this insane path. While where at it lets get rid of child vaccinations because there are complications and side effects oh and deaths too. The MMR vaccine can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death in some. But we as society have decided that this is a risk we will take. Interesting enough Circ-umcissions are not nearly as risky as an MMR but we are to believe it is abuse but vaccines are not.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Leslie4Obama

      Well Michael since we are speaking hypothetically. In this imaginary world you have created would the removal of the labia not have the side effects that it would have in the real world just as male circu-mcisions do not have the side effects as the removal of the labia would? And that women would not show any reduction of pleasure and no ill side effects at all just as studies have shown male circ-umcisions have no ill side effects. Also would this procedure prevent tens if not hundreds of millions from contracting deadly diseases? Your comparison is like equating the removal of a tooth cavity to the removal of an organ. If the Labia had the same characteristics, purpose, function, and sensitivity as the foreskin it would not be the labia as we know it and your argument would be relegated to this imaginary world you live in.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Michael

      Since the male and female genitalia are different, an exact comparison is impossible. However, removal of the foreskin from men is very much at least within the same general realm of harm as is removing the inner labia from women.

      For excellent information concerning the foreskin, please read this peer reviewed article:

      Sorrells, Morris L., et al. “Fine-touch Pressure Thresholds in the Adult Penis.” British Journal of Urology, International Edition 99 (2007): 864-869

      You should be able to search the citation in Google and access it for free.

      In the United States, the genitals of a female minor can only be altered when there is a medical necessity to do so. Male minors should receive the same protection.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Leslie4Obama

      Michael I am well aware of that study. I am also aware of the many papers and findings before and after that have shown results contrary to those findings. Later In 2007 Montreal's McGill University released a peer review study that refuted those claims by Sorrells, Morris L. I have provided a whole myriad of diseases and ailments that effect uncircu-mcised male infants and adults. Hence the medical reasons. I am assuming you have never seen an infant inflicted with balanoposthitis or urinary tract infection. Call a few local urologists and ask them how many male infants to toddlers come in for medical treatment due to not being circ-umcised vs those who have to come in because of their circ-umcision. If that does not convince you of the medical purpose then nothing will. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink. You seem set on being a Zealot.

      July 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Michael

      Regarding the health benefits you keep mentioning:

      1. Penile cancer is EXCEEDINGLY RARE (AAP)

      2. The rate of urinary tract infections among intact boys is at most 1% (AAP) and they can be treated successfully with antibiotics, the same way young girls are treated when they develop urinary tract infections.

      3. There is a vaccine for HPV. The vaccine is not perfect, but it is highly effective and much less invasive than amputating healthy penile tissue.

      4. Condoms provide greater protection against HIV transmission than does removal of the foreskin from men.

      5. Balanoposthitis can often be treated successfully with steroid creams. Most industrialized countries view removal of the foreskin as a last resort intervention for that condition.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Michael

      One of the main points of the Sorrells, Morris L., et al. article is to show that the foreskin itself is rife with nerve endings.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  17. Voice of Reason

    Why in the world would a country ban a medical procedure? Because? Because it's not the right thing to do? Because? Because the recipient doesn't have a choice in the matter? Because? Because they just hate religion? Because? Because anyone in their right mind can understand the ban is justified? Because?

    Why in the world would a country not ban a medical procedure? Because? Because the religious are fanatic idiots? Because? Because they want children to suffer through pain and trauma? Because? Because the medical procedure makes a ton of cash? Because?

    July 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  18. Eric G

    @Who invited me?: Now, you are attempting to shift the burden of proof inherent to your claim of fact. I did not say what defines or does not define life, you did. All claims of fact carry the responsibility of their burden of proof. As you are the one making the claim, you must satisfy the burden of proof. I cannot satisfy your burden of proof for you.

    On a side note, why do you keep making the as-sumption that I disagree with your position? All I have stated is that you have made claims of fact without evidence. Why are you so sensitive to the verifiaction process?

    I warned you that you were not going to win this argument. What you just cannot grasp is that this is not an argument because I have not taken the other side. It has been fun rattling your cage, but seriously dude, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  19. Paul

    It is a sadistic practice regardless of faith. In any other context this mutalation would be criminal, this should be too.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  20. Boytjie

    I have not seen it mention that botched procedures can lead to partial amputation of the penis. I read about a case where the boy had the procedure, it was botched and the doctor and parents opted to amputate the penis and then attempted to raise him as a girl. Rare situation, yes, but is it really worth taking that risk?

    July 18, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Mickey1313

      To the ignorant faithful is.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Leslie4Obama

      The risk of an infant getting balanoposthitis from an uncirc-umcised penis that can lead to erosive balanoposthitis gangrene causing penile amputation is much more likely than what you’re suggesting. Also Penile cancer is greatly reduced when a man was circu-mcised as a baby. Research also shows that adult circu-mcision does not prevent penile cancer so it must be done as a baby for that benefit. Penile cancer also often time leads to men having penile amputation. It is much more risky if you do not have your baby boy circu-mcised because by the time they are old enough to make the decision it is too late in some cases.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.