Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 09 May |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Alexandru Rusu
home iconNews
line break icon

Christians, Jews and Muslims speak out against Iceland’s proposed circumcision ban

BÉBÉ GARÇON

© Shutterstock

Zelda Caldwell - published on 03/15/18

Parents would face six years in prison for having their infant sons circumcised for religious reasons.

A proposal before Iceland’s parliament to ban non-medically indicated circumcision of male children has drawn protests from Christian, Jewish and Muslim organizations who say that outlawing the procedure would be tantamount to banning the practice of their faith.

If passed, parents who arrange for a religious circumcision on a male child would face up to six years in prison.

Male circumcision is considered a fundamental feature of the practice of Judaism, Islam, and some Christian traditions such as the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences said, “The Catholic Church is particularly committed to defending the child’s right, which also includes the right — the duty of the family — to educate their children according to their own religious convictions. This initiative is against religious freedom and the principles of democracy proper to a civil society.”

Albert Guigui, Chief Rabbi of Brussels and Permanent Representative of the Conference of European Rabbis to the European Institutions, concurred that a circumcision ban would be an infringement on religious liberty.

“Prohibiting circumcision in a given country amounts to that very country publicly declaring that no Jewish community is welcome on its territory any longer,” said Guigui.

Chief Imam Razawi, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society, also said that, “Forbidding a religious rite in this way would amount to banning the ability to practice faith for Muslims.”

Silja Dogg Gunnarsdottir of the centrist Progressive Party, one of the four parties that introduced the bill, compared it to a 2005 Icelandic law banning female genital mutilation.

While many children do not have complications from circumcision, she told the New York Times, “One is too many if the procedure is unnecessary.”

A statement released by the Council of European Bishops’ Conference, said that the proposed ban could legitimize xenophobia in Iceland and across Europe:

“This law would render a xenophobic image of Iceland in a religiously and culturally diverse world. Should this proposal go through it also risks inspiring similar initiatives in other European countries and beyond.”

“In a climate of growing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia this could encourage such tendencies elsewhere, increasing the pressure on often already vulnerable communities,” the statement read.

While Iceland has only about 250 Jewish citizens and 2,000 Muslims, religious leaders worry that if passed, a similar measure could gain traction in Denmark and other parts of Scandinavia, where there are hundreds and thousands of Muslims.

In 2013, representatives from Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Greenland signed a resolution urging their governments to ban religious circumcision. In 2016, the Danish Medical Association issued a recommendation opposing the practice on boys under the age of 18.

While very few circumsisions take place in Europe, about 58% of boys born in American hospitals are circumcised. The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012 issued a statement saying that the health benefits of the practice outweighed the risks.

Tags:
EuropeReligious Freedom
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
2
MOTHER OF ASIA - TOWER OF PEACE
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
3
FIRST LOOK
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
4
OUR LADY OF FATIMA,SUN
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for healing and strength
5
CHURCH
Philip Kosloski
What are the 4 different parts of the Mass?
6
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
7
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.