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Danish political parties seek to outlaw circumcision

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COPENHAGEN — Another Danish political party is seeking to outlaw ritual circumcision in Denmark.

The left-wing Social Liberal Party, a small coalition partner of Denmark’s ruling Social Democrats party, adopted the anti-circumcision stance last week following an internal vote by delegates during a party congress in Nyborg, 75 miles west of Copenhagen, according to the news site etik.dk.

A large majority of hundreds of delegates from the party — Denmark’s sixth largest with 17 out of 179 seats in parliament — passed the motion to oppose all non-medical circumcision of underage boys, the website reported.

The ban was necessary “because we do not protect those who cannot protect themselves, namely children,” said Christian Holm Donatzky, a local politician for the party from Helsingor, a city located 25 miles north of Copenhagen.

The left-leaning Social Liberal Party is one of several anti-circumcision parties in Scandinavia, where the custom has come under attack from left-wing secularists as well as right-wingers who fear the influence of immigration from Muslim countries.

Last year, Norway’s Centre Party also announced it opposed circumcision, as did Finland’s third-largest party, True Finns.

The announcements last year followed a ruling by a German court in Cologne that ritual circumcision amounted to a criminal act.

The ruling was overturned but triggered temporary bans in Austria and Switzerland.

Lene Rachel Andersen, a well-known Danish Jewish author and journalist, wrote an op-ed following the vote August 15, warning that a ban would mean the demise of Danish Jewry.

“Within two to three years, religious Jews will move away from Denmark.” This, she wrote for the website religion.dk, will mean “the heart of religious life would disappear.”

In 2003, Denmark’s Children’s Ombudsman, a government body, classified circumcision as a children’s rights violation — a position shared by its counterpart organizations in Finland and Norway.

The World Jewish Congress estimates that there are about 6,400 Jews living in Denmark.

 

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