Readers in Council,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
I oppose routine male circumcision because it is sanctioned genital mutilation. That is why I was delighted with the Cologne regional court’s decision in June to ban religious circumcision in Germany (“Circumcision is assault, court rules,” June 29) on the grounds that it is bodily harm. That hits the nail right on the head. At least one province in Austriawas similarly correct when it followed suit (“Religious circumcision gets the chop at Austria hospitals,” July 26). Naturally the decision was quickly targeted (“German circumcision ban slammed,”July 11) and German officials had to do some quick damage control (“German panel backs circumcision,” August 25). Political lobbying being what it is in liberal democracies it seems inconceivable that this little bit of child-abusing, genital mutilating criminal assault can ever be suppressed.
What I want to hear from Jews, Muslims and other circumcision advocates in this debate is not how important the surgery is as a religious or social custom, or how antiquity imbues it with its own sovereign nobility, or how, unlike female circumcision, it does not rob the victim of sexual satisfaction in due time, but rather how it is NOT genital mutilation in the first place. Excision of the foreskin is a mutilation. Boys are robbed of their full complement of equipment. Circumcised men are less that complete males, and it seems ridiculous to listen to them boast about their diminished condition.