Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle weighed in Friday on a controversial German court ruling on circumcision, saying the country protected religious freedom and traditions.
"The ruling on circumcision has provoked annoyance internationally," Westerwelle wrote on his official Twitter account.
"We have to be clear: religious traditions are protected in Germany," he added.
A regional court in Cologne ruled this week that circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm in a judgement which triggered accusations that parents' rights were being trampled on.
The case, which could set a precedent, was brought against a doctor in Cologne who had circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy on his parents' wishes.
A few days after the operation, his parents took him to hospital as he was bleeding heavily and prosecutors charged the doctor.
The court later acquitted the doctor himself of causing harm.
Muslim and Jewish groups along with top Christian clerics have voiced opposition to the ruling.
Westerwelle was also quoted in the Bild's online edition Thursday saying that Germany "is an open and tolerant country where religious freedom is well established and where religious traditions like circumcision as an expression of religious diversity are protected."