Hot on the heels of uniting Germany's Jewish and Muslim communities under one common cause, Cologne's circumcision ban has found another enemy—the German government. "Circumcision carried out in a responsible manner must be possible without punishment," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Stephen Seibert in a statement picked up by The BBC today. "It is clear this cannot be put on the back burner. Freedom to practise religion is a cherished legal principle," he said. Seibert's and the German government's comments come a day after a number of Germany's Jewish and Muslim leaders signed a joint statement denouncing a Cologne's court ruling that circumcision was bodily harm and that families should wait until their boys are older for the procedure. As Reuters' Elisa Oddone reports, Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders will still be meeting next week to discuss how to fight the ban.