A key German Muslim association on Wednesday sharply criticised a court ruling that said circumcising boys on religious grounds amounted to grievous bodily harm.
"The Cologne ruling is a serious attack on religious freedom," the Council of the Coordination of Muslims in Germany said in a statement on Tuesday's judgment.
"The ruling does not take everything into account, religious practice concerning circumcision of young Muslims and Jews has been carried out over the millenia on a global level," said Ali Kizilkaya, a spokesman of the council which counts some 4 million members.
The group said that Germany was "criminalising" Islamic and Jewish customs with that ruling.
The regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled that the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents."
"The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised," the court added.
The case was brought against a doctor in Cologne who had circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy on his parents' wishes.
Top Christian clerics also voiced opposition.
The Roman Catholic archbishop of Aachen Heinrich Mussinghoff said the ruling was "very surprising", as the contradiction between "basic rights on freedom of religion and the well-being of the child brought up by the judges is not convincing in this very case."
The head of the Protestant Church in Germany, Hans Ulrich Anke, said the ruling should be appealed as it did not "sufficiently" take into account the religious significance of the rite.