The Icelandic lawmaker who proposed a controversial ban on circumcision told The Algemeiner in an interview this week that her bill does not violate religious freedom.
Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir of the Progressive party recently introduced the legislation in the Icelandic Parliament, where it is currently being debated. It proposes a blanket ban on milah on the basis that it violates the rights of children. Violators of the law could receive up to six years in prison.
The bill has been widely condemned and opposed by Jewish groups across Europe.
Defending the bill, Gunnarsdóttir said, “The individual right of the child to choose, is taken away. Those procedures are unnecessary, done without their informed consent, non-reversible and can cause all kinds of severe complications, disfigurations, and even death. Thankfully, many do not have any complications, but some do and one is too many if the procedure is unnecessary.”
In response to this statement, Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt — the president of the Conference of European Rabbis — said, “It is clear from the words of this member of parliament that she has not comprehended the ramifications of her proposal.”
Circumcision, Goldschmidt stated, “is a core principle in Jewish life. Proposing a ban is an affront to Jewish people who will have no other option but to leave the country in which they are legally prohibited from religious practice. … It is clear as day that once circumcision will be outlawed in Iceland, it will become impossible for young parents to stay in this country.”
“We call on Iceland’s lawmakers to fully comprehend the implication of this law,” he added.
Goldschmidt related the proposed ban to the overall rise of antisemitism and political extremism in Europe. “While open antisemitism has become politically incorrect in our time, we witness covert initiatives to rid countries of its Jewish population,” he said. “This another strain of populism, which threatens to disintegrate the very fabric and values which hold countries ascribing to Western civilization together.”
(C) 2017 . The Algemeiner . Benjamin Kerstein