Posts Tagged ‘pop culture’

Hello everyone 🙂

We’re getting close to our departure date, so stay tuned for more frequent posts during the month of July including…a packing list!

If you have a little time now that finals are over, this is an interesting article to check out.  Like the French headscarf ruling that had the world watching closely a few years ago, this German decision on male circumcision has many people very upset (and others very happy– as controversies go).  A fascinating look into religion in the public sphere in one of the countries we’ll be visiting…

German Ruling Against Circumcising Boys Draws Criticism

By 
Published: June 26, 2012
BERLIN — A German court in Cologne ruled on Tuesday that circumcising young boys represents grievous bodily harm, a decision that could have significant repercussions for religious groups.Follow@nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines.

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany condemned the decision as “an unprecedented and dramatic intrusion on the self-determination of religious communities” and called on the German Parliament to pass legislation protecting circumcision as a religious practice.

The case centered on a 4-year-old boy whose Muslim parents had him circumcised by a doctor, which led to medical complications. Although both Muslims and Jews circumcise infant boys as a religious practice and many other people do so for health reasons, the court found that the child’s “fundamental right to bodily integrity” was more important than the parents’ rights.

According to the court, the religious freedom “would not be unduly impaired” because the child could later decide whether to have the circumcision.

Millions of Muslims call Germany home, as do more than 100,000 Jews, as part of a community that has enjoyed a significant resurgence here. Since World War II, many Germans have been careful to consider Jewish sensitivities as a result of the horrible crimes committed against Jews during the Holocaust in the name of the German Reich.

Jewish leaders reacted furiously to Tuesday’s decision. The central council’s president, Dieter Graumann, called it “outrageous and insensitive,” saying in a statement that circumcision had been practiced worldwide for thousands of years. “In every country in the world this religious right is respected,” Mr. Graumann said.

Germany has no law against male circumcision, as there is against female genital cutting. Experts said that the decision would not be enforceable in other jurisdictions. But the legal uncertainty and threat of possible prosecution could lead doctors to decline to perform the procedure.

The central council said the national Parliament, the Bundestag, should “create legal certainty and thereby protect religious freedom from attacks.”

The decision by the court “places an intolerable burden on the free exercise of religion by Jews and also by Muslims who practice male circumcision as part of their religious faith,” Abraham H. Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director in New York, said in a statement.

While the ruling did not appear to have specific anti-Semitic intent, Mr. Foxman said, “its effect is to say, ‘Jews are not welcome.’ ”

Holm Putzke, a criminal law expert at the University of Passau, told the German news agency DPA that the ruling was not binding for other courts, but could send a welcome signal.

“After the knee-jerk outrage has faded away, hopefully a discussion will begin about how much religiously motivated violence against children a society is ready to tolerate,” he said.

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Hey there folks!  The applications are in and the group is set.  I’ll be contacting all of you shortly to do a brief introduction and get the ball rolling on communal activities (more group interaction with the blog, etc) but until I do that (most likely tomorrow) here is a “this week in history” to keep you busy!

May 10…

1940: The German invasion of the Low Countries (usually referring to either just the Netherlands or Benelux as a whole [Benelux = Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg]) begins, using a new military doctrine called ‘blitzkrieg.’

1994: Former political prisoner Nelson Mandela is sworn in as the first black president of South Africa.

May 11…

330 CE: Constantine dedicates his new capitol, Constantinople, formally shifting Roman power away from Rome.

1559: Religious reformer John Knox ignites the Scottish Reformation with a sermon at Perth, Scotland.

May 12…

1949: Soviet forces lift the blockade of Berlin, during which the Berlin Airlift made 278,228 supply flights.

May 13…

1943: The Allies secure victory in North Africa with the surrender of 250,000 German and Italian troops.

May 14…

1948: The British mandate for Palestine ends and the state of Israel is proclaimed by Jewish groups.

1955: The Soviet-dominated states of eastern Europe sign the Warsaw Pact military alliance in response to NATO.

May 15…

1252 CE: Use of torture in the inquisition of heretics is authorized by Innocent IV in his bull ‘Ad exstirpanda.’

May 16…

1943: The Warsaw Ghetto uprising is crushed by German troops and 60,000 Jewish people are shot or deported.

May 17…

1900: The British garrison at Mafeking, South Africa, under Robert Baden-Powell, is relieved after a Boer siege of 215 days.

May 20…

325 CE: Roman emperor Constantine calls the Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical Christian council.

1940: A concentration camp is established at Auschwitz, Poland, under SS commandant Rudolph Hoess.

May 22…

1939: Hitler and Mussolini create the Axis with a ‘Pact of Steel,’ a 10 year pact of friendship and alliance.

2006: The break-up of Yugoslavia is completed when Montenegro narrowly votes for independence from Serbia.

 

And finally, since we’re hearing so much about Constantinople (and should be on the lookout for–questionable–portrayals or stereotypes of people in pop culture), we’ll end with some Tiny Toons in Turkey: