Young children should not be circumcised until they are old enough to decide for themselves, a judge has suggested as she prevented a Muslim father from forcing his sons to have the procedure.
Top female Family Division judge Mrs Justice Roberts agreed with their mother to leave it for the boys aged six and four to make up their minds when they are older whether they wish to have it done.
The 36-year-old Algerian born dad who is separated from the 34-year-old mother, who grew up in Devon, told the judge that circumcision went to the very core of his identity as a Muslim.
“There is no guarantee that these boys will wish to continue to observe the Muslim faith”
He said all his family were circumcised and would feel "devastated" if his application were not granted.
He said "circumcision had both a religious and a social importance which overrode any slight risk which the procedure carried."
The couple met in 2006 and lived together in a North London flat . They went through an Islamic ceremony of marriage in 2009 before the boys were born. But then in July 2012 the mother fled the flat with the boys following violent attacks on her by the father.
The judge said the father who came to England in 2001 on false documents had now been given British passport.
She said: "Just as the father is passionate in his cause and the reasons for circumcision , the mother is resolutely opposed to it at this point."
She added: "First and foremost, this is a once and for all, irreversible procedure. There is no guarantee that these boys will wish to continue to observe the Muslim faith with the devotion demonstrated by their father although that may very well be their choice.
"They are still very young and there is no way of anticipating at this stage how the different influences in their respective parental homes will shape and guide their development over the coming years. There are risks, albeit small, associated with the surgery regardless of the expertise with which the operation is performed.
"There must be clear benefits which outweigh these risks which point towards circumcision at this point in time being in their best interests before I can sanction it as an appropriate course at this stage of their young lives."
She added: "Taking all these matters into account, my conclusion is that it would be better for the children that the court make no order at this stage in relation to circumcision."
“I am simply deferring that decision to the point where each of the boys themselves will make their individual choices”
She said she was not saying they should develop into adulthood as uncircumcised Muslim males.
"I am simply deferring that decision to the point where each of the boys themselves will make their individual choices once they have the maturity and insight to appreciate the consequences and longer term effects of the decisions which they reach.
"Part of that consideration will be any increase in the risks of surgery by the time they have reached puberty. I do not regard the delay between now and that point in time significantly to increase those risks. The safest point in time to have carried out the procedure has long since passed."The judge was giving her judgment in London following a hearing in Exeter earlier this month, and said the identities of the parents and the boys must remain secret.
Court Judgement Circumcision choice should be left until children are old enough to decide for themselves
Keyword: Court Judgement Circumcision choice