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Artículo Human rights win or attack on religious freedom? Iceland to outlaw male circumcision Religion


Human rights win or attack on religious freedom? Iceland to outlaw male circumcision



A new bill says involuntary male circumcision strips children of their human rights

Anna Freeman

19 Febrero 2018 17:15

Iceland will become the first European country to outlaw male circumcision, perhaps signalling the ritual - common to both Judaism and Islam - could become a contentious push and pull over religious freedom and children’s human rights.

A bill before Icelandic parliament proposes a penalty of up to six years in prison for carrying out a circumcision other than for medical reasons. However, critics have been quick to argue the move would make life for Jews and Muslims in Iceland unsustainable.

Many Jews and Muslims fear the issue of circumcision has the potential to become shorthand for anti semitism and Islamophobia, citing other examples like religious dress and the ritual slaughter of animals.

Leaders in Islam and Judaism attacked the proposal, and Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the Catholic Church in the European Union, said the bill was a ‘dangerous attack’ on religious freedom. ‘The criminalisation of circumcision is a very grave measure that raises deep concern,’ he said.

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

It makes steps to acknowledge that while parents have the right to give religious guidance to their children, ‘such a right can never exceed the rights of the child’. Boys who wish to be circumcised for religious or cultural reasons can choose when they reach an age at which they ‘understand what is involved in such an action.’