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Iceland law to outlaw male circumcision sparks row over non secular freedom

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Iceland is poised to emerge as the first European united states of America to outlaw male circumcision amid signs and symptoms that the ritual not unusual to both Judaism and Islam may be a new battleground over nonsecular freedom.

An invoice currently before the Icelandic parliament proposes a penalty of up to six years in prison for everyone carrying out a circumcision aside from for clinical reasons. Critics say the flow, which has sparked alarm amongst religious leaders throughout Europe, might make the life for Jews and Muslims in Iceland unsustainable.

One in 3 guys globally is the notion to be circumcised, the wide majority of non-secular or cultural motives. Many Jews and Muslims fear the difficulty of circumcision ought to end up a proxy for antisemitism and Islamophobia, pointing to comparable tensions over the spiritual dress and the ritual slaughter of animals for meat.

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Muslim and Jewish leaders attacked the proposal, whilst Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the Catholic Church in the European Union, stated the invoice become a “dangerous assault” on spiritual freedom. “The criminalization of circumcision is a totally grave measure that raises the deep difficulty.”

The Icelandic invoice says the circumcision of young boys violates their rights and is incompatible with the United Nations conference on the rights of the child. It draws a parallel with female genital mutilation, already outlawed in maximum European countries.

The invoice says circumcisions are done without anesthesia, and claims the process is often executed “in houses that are not sterile, and not through docs however with the aid of nonsecular leaders. There is a high hazard of infections beneath such conditions that can lead to loss of life.”

It acknowledges that even as dad and mom have the proper to give spiritual guidance to their youngsters, “the sort of proper can by no means exceed the rights of the kid”. Boys who want to be circumcised for spiritual or cultural reasons can do so once they attain an age at which they “apprehend what’s worried in such a movement”, it shows.

Iceland’s populace of about 336,000 includes tiny Jewish and Muslim groups. There are thought to be some 250 Jews and approximately 1,500 Muslims.

Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir of the center-right Progressive birthday party said she had proposed the invoice after realizing that there was no ban on male circumcision even though FGM has been outlawed in Iceland seeing that 2005. “If we’ve legal guidelines banning circumcision for women, then we ought to achieve this for boys,” she stated.

“We are speaking about kids’ rights, not about freedom of belief. Everyone has the right to agree with in what they want, however, the rights of children come above the right to belief.”

Nordic countries had properly-deserved reputations for selling human rights, she added. “If Iceland backs this, I think different international locations will follow.”

The trouble of circumcision has been raised in other European nations but none has outlawed it.

According to Milah UK, a Jewish campaign organization to shield the right to circumcision, the process is best finished by means of rather-trained and controlled practitioners, known as mohelim. Boys are normally circumcised at 8 days vintage.

A spokesperson for Milah UK stated: “Jewish male neonatal circumcision – known as brit milah – is a non-negotiable element of Jewish identity, not unusual to Jews from all backgrounds and respected in liberal democratic nations. For a rustic consisting of Iceland, that considers itself a liberal democracy to ban it, hence making sustainable Jewish existence within the united states impossible, is extraordinarily concerning.”

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Parallels with FGM have been unwarranted, Milah UK stated. The partial or complete removal of lady genitalia ought to make intercourse hard and painful and purpose extreme scientific headaches. In the assessment, circumcision became a minor system.

“There is no known long-time period negative effect on the child for the rest of his life. Millions of guys – Jews in addition to others – are circumcised around the arena, and are unaffected in their everyday lives via having passed through the procedure. Carrying out brit milah on new child boys is a primary requirement of Jewish law,” the spokesperson said.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, referred to as for respect for the values of openness and tolerance and added there was no evidence that circumcision becomes harmful.

“We can handiest assume that this attempt to ban a middle exercise of Jewish communities comes from lack of knowledge approximately the exercise and its effect on Jewish youngsters, in preference to to send a message that Jews are not welcome in Iceland,” he stated.

Ahmad Seddeeq, the imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland, said the invoice contravened religious freedom. “Circumcision has been practiced for centuries, it’s miles deeply rooted in cultural and nonsecular traditions,” he said.

A meeting of nonsecular corporations in Iceland become referred to as in advance this month to talk about the invoice, and that they were hoping to the difficulty a statement of opposition, he introduced.

Muslims in Iceland were already journeying to neighboring nations to have the process done on babies because of the reluctance of local docs. But, Seddeeq stated, “the [medical] benefits of this practice ways exceed the risks”.

Jewish and Muslim groups warn that if circumcision is outlawed, the exercise will pass underground or religious minorities will tour or relocate to nations where it’s far authorized.

In Germany, a 2012 regulation allows simplest trained practitioners to perform circumcisions. It accompanied an arguably German court ruling which stated circumcision “permanently and irreparably modified” a baby’s frame, and took away the man or woman’s proper to “make his personal decision on his spiritual association”.

The following year, the Council of Europe exceeded a resolution calling on 47 member states to regulate practices concerning ritual circumcision, “to conquer some of the prevailing traditional methods, which do no longer think about the excellent interest of the child and the state-of-the-art state of clinical artwork”. Israel stated the resolution fostered “hate and racist tendencies in Europe”.

Two years ago, a decide sitting in a British family court docket stated that young kids should not be circumcised till they are old enough to determine for themselves. NHS advice is that “the risks associated with circumcisions when done by using qualified and experienced medical doctors are small”.

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The Icelandic invoice comes in opposition to a backdrop of some of the European countries prohibiting Islamic nonsecular get dressed, together with the niqab or burka. This spring the Danish parliament will debate an invoice banning complete-face veils in public.

Last 12 months Belgium voted to prohibit halal and kosher meat, citing animal rights. Poland’s authorities have proposed a law prohibiting kosher slaughter, in a flow vehemently hostile by the Jewish community.

The Icelandic bill on circumcision has move-birthday party backing and wide public support, Gunnarsdóttir stated. If it passes its first reading, the bill will go into committee level for numerous months before it is able to grow to be law.