Iceland may become the very first country in Europe to enforce a ban on male circumcision.
A bill which is currently being put before Icelandic parliament is proposing a six year prison sentence for any person who conducts a circumcision for non medical purposes.
This bill has compared male circumcision to female genital mutilation (FGM), which is widely outlawed in Europe. FGM was banned in Iceland as of 2005.
Those wishing to pass the bill assert how the practice violates the rights of children in accordance with ‘Article 12. UN Convention on the Rights of Children to Affect Your Own Life.’
Furthermore, the bill argues how male circumcision can endanger a child’s health, making the following statement:
[Male circumcision often takes place] in homes that are not sterile, and not by doctors but by religious leaders.
There is a high risk of infections under such conditions that may lead to death.
The rights of the child should always be above religious freedom…
— mr mr Donk (@tomtomisthebest) February 18, 2018
IMO there are some basic human rights that take precedent over any religious rights. We are, first and foremost, human beings. Our religious existence, if we have one, is secondary.
— NotGodZOD (@notgodzod) February 18, 2018
Totally agree. If you choose this as an adult…go for it. Otherwise this is mutilation without consent.
— Phil Jackson (@feeleep) February 18, 2018
However, this bill has also proved to be controversial; sparking a debate over religious freedom.
Muslim and Jewish leaders have spoken out over fears of such a ban inciting antisemitism and Islamophobia; as well as making life unsustainable for those living in Iceland who follow such faiths.
According to ynetnews, The European Conference of Rabbis have made the following statement:
Circumcision is a critical part of Jewish life and no authority in the world can forbid Jews from carrying out this commandment.
The European Conference of Rabbis’ president Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt has said:
Although the Icelandic Jewish community is small, we cannot ignore the dangerous precedent that this law can set and the consequences that such legislation can cause in other countries.
We call on lawmakers to immediately rescind this miserable piece of legislation and continue supporting Jewish life without limits.
Benefits: Reduced risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men. Protection against penile cancer and a reduced risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners. Prevention of inflammation of the glans and foreskin. It’s about choice.
— Ary Prasetyo (@arytp) February 18, 2018
They should only regulate, putting medical supervision as a condition. Would be enough. Respect religions, even if you are not religious.
— Jose Higuera (@josmarhiguera) February 18, 2018
The Icelandic male circumcision bill is reported to have cross-party backing and strong support from members of the public.
If the bill passes the first reading, it will then enter the committee stage for several months before it is made law.