Norwegian political party backs circumcision ban

Norway’s Progress Party backed an initiative to ban circumcision of children under the age of 16, arguing that it violates their human rights. 

Norway’s Progress Party voted over the weekend to back legislation that would prohibit circumcision of children under the age of 16, thus banning the Jewish ritual of circumcising a baby male eight days after his birth, barring medical issues.

Proponents of the bill, which introduced the proposal at the party’s national conference over the weekend, contend that circumcision causes mental and physical harm to children and would therefore be in violation of their human rights.

Progress is the country’s third-largest political party (29 out of 169 seats in parliament) and a focal coalition partner in Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s government. As expected, the party’s proposal has led to outrage in the Jewish community.

“They must know they won’t get a majority for this in Parliament,” Norwegian Jewish community leader Ervin Kohn told Aftenposten newspaper. “It seems like they want to send a signal that we are unwelcome in the country.”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director-general of the European Jewish Association, has already called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to collaborate with Jewish organizations in Europe in order to halt the trend of proposed legislation that would place restrictions on various Jewish practices.

“I have no doubt that the State of Israel – the state of the Jewish people – cannot remain indifferent to it, and I call on you to exert all your political influence in order to prevent the exclusion of Jews from life in various European countries,” he wrote to Netanyahu in a letter.

The Progress Party, which also proposed the banning of hijabs, the traditional Muslim scarves worn by women, welcomed the initiative on circumcision a day after the environment committee of Belgium’s Parliament of Wallonia voted to place a general ban on ritual slaughter and male circumcision.

Most recently, defeated French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen proposed a ban on the religious slaughtering of animals.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News