EJC concerned by attempt to ban circumcision in Finland

A senior legislator from Finland’s largest opposition party has called for a ban on ritual circumcision of minors.

Vesa-Matti Sarrakkala of the populist True Finns party told parliament that he would submit a bill to this effect since”the Finnish constitution guarantees everyone the right to personal integrity.”

The True Finns, socially conservative but with leftist positions on economic issues, are the third largest political party in the parliament with 39 seats in the 200 member lower house of parliament.

The move to bring in a bill to outlaw circumcision came as an international conference against ritual circumcision took place in Helsinki on September 30.

Gideon Bolotowsky of the Central Council of Jewish Communities in Finland and a member of the EJC executive said he did not envisage parliament passing legislation to ban circumcision on the near future.

“Those trying to ban circumcision are hard pressed to present scientific evidence that circumcision in harmful,” he said.

The move to submit the bill in Finland come amid a wide public debate on the issue in other European states which has seen attempts to restrict circumcision in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in recent months.

In a letter to the three European Union presidents and to heads of government in member states, EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor wrote that the basic right of freedom of religious expression was enshrined in the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the European Convention of Human Rights.

“We call upon you to give the Jewish community and its established practices your full support and urge the full and unequivocal adherence to national and European law which permits the freedom to practice the Jewish religion and its traditions,” Dr. Kantor wrote.

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