Circumcision came under assault earlier this year when a regional German court in Cologne ruled that ritual circumcisions were unlawful. The attempts to proscribe Jewish circumcision spread to neighbouring countries like Austria and Switzerland and has since arisen in other European countries, including Scandinavia.

Most recently, the Finnish political party, the True Finns, have expressed their intention to present a bill to parliament that would make ritual circumcision a criminal offense.

In his letter, Kantor wrote that these assaults on our religion are causing untold anxiety to Jewish communities across Europe who are successfully balancing their adherence to European law and principles of their Jewish faith..

“The basic right of freedom of religious expression is not only enshrined in the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the European Convention of Human Rights but is also heavily protected by national legislation in member states,” he added.

The best way to stem the assault is through dialogue, Kantor said, citing the model of the mutual agreement between the Dutch Government and the Jewish community over attempts to proscribe kosher slaughter in Holland.

The letter was sent to European national leaders as well as senior European leaders, including, European Parliament President, Martin Schulz, President of the European Commission, JosŽManuel Barroso, President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy and Secretary General of the Council of Europe, ThorbjŸrn Jagland.

“In the highest spirit of European tolerance and conciliation we are happy to discuss these issues further with you and express our concerns in a more detailed manner in the hope that we can secure a resolution to allow for the full freedom to continue practicing our religion” Kantor wrote.