DIANE MAGNAY: Male circumcision is standard practice for Germany's 4 million Muslims, just as it is for Muslims and Jews the world over. But last week a judge in Cologne (ph) ruled after complications arose in a case involving a four year old Muslim boy that religions circumcision amounted, in effect, to grievous bodily harm against a child with no say in the matter. That his right to physical integrity outweighed his parents' wish to have him circumcised.
Though the ruling applies just to one jurisdiction in Cologne, it has left doctors across Germany fearing prosecution. Jewish Hospital in Berlin has stopped all circumcisions until the legal situation is clarified, though they're worried about the consequences.
Brit Milah, which is the Jewish circumcision ceremony, traditionally takes place on the eighth day of a baby's life, at the hands of a specially trained practitioner called a mohel.
Mohel Mordechai Tzvi tells me this ruling won't stop him from carrying out what he believes is his mission in life.
MORDECHAI TZVI, MOHEL: I will continue doing it, in any case, whether -- whatever it means, because I know that it's important and, for me, it is so to say the most important thing in life.
MAGNAY: But Jewish leaders make clear that in the country that orchestrated the holocaust, they feel this is a serious assault on their faith.
RABBI YEHUDA TIECHTEL: This is not just some other custom. This is the basis of what we are. And therefore it is absolutely of enormous importance that as quickly as possible that the German government comes out with a clear statement and creates a situation, a law, a clear law that circumcision is respected and accepted as part of religious freedom.
MAGNAY: Despite statements from the foreign minister that the world should be in no doubt that Germany does protect religious freedoms, many of its citizens don't feel so sure.