Iceland plans to ban circumcision

Iceland plans to ban circumcision

Circumcision instruments: a knife and a foreskin guard © dpa

Representatives of faith communities have called for respect for religious rituals in Europe. The reason is a possible circumcision ban in Iceland. The bill is "a dangerous attack on religious freedom," Cardinal Marx said.

The secretary general of the EU bishops' commission COMECE, Olivier Poquillon, also stressed that the planned circumcision ban in Iceland was a "danger" to fundamental rights. Cardinal Reinhard Marx had already criticized the planned ban on circumcision in February.

Circumcision is an "important element" of Judaism, the director of the European Jewish Community Center (EJCC), Avi Tawil, stressed in the EU Parliament on Tuesday. Its prohibition would be tantamount to a ban on Jewish tradition.

The co-chairman of the Christian Democrats' working group in the EU Parliament on intercultural activities and religious dialogue, Jan Olbrycht, stressed that the freedom to have one's own rituals is part of religions.

Violation faces prison sentence

Icelandic MPs from five different parties had presented a draft law banning the circumcision of boys earlier this year. It provides for a prison sentence of up to six years for anyone who causes physical harm or other health impairment to a child through "the removal of sexual organs in whole or in part".

Parliament has yet to pass the bill. Iceland would be first country in Europe to ban circumcision of boys if bill passes.

In Germany, boy circumcision is permitted for Jews and Muslims for religious reasons.

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