Saturday, 19 Oct 2019 - 20 of Tishri, 5780

Brit Milah threatened in Sweden by call to ban non-medical circumcision

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The Centre party has voted in favour of banning circumcision of boys in the absence of a medical reason, during the party’s annual meeting in Karlstad. Despite being unanimously rejected by the party board, the rejection was overturned by party commissioners who voted in favour of the ban by 314 to 166 votes.

STOCKHOLM—“I am very surprised and very disappointed. This means, if the proposal becomes reality, that it will be completely impossible to live as a Jew or a Muslim in Sweden,” said Aron Verstandig, chairman of the Council of Swedish Jewish communities in reaction to a vote by the country’s Centre party to work for a ban on non-medical circumcision.

The party voted in favour of banning circumcision of boys in the absence of a medical reason, during the party’s annual meeting in Karlstad at the weekend. Despite being unanimously rejected by the party board, the rejection was overturned by party commissioners who voted in favour of the ban by 314 to 166 votes.

The Centre Party leader Annie Lööf said she “regrets” the outcome.

The party is not currently in the government but it is part of a four-party deal, along with the Liberal Party, which allows the centre-left Social Democrats and Green Party to govern.

The party Vice Chairman, Anders W Jonsson, told the Swedish press: “This was not a decision that the party leadership wanted.” He said that those who called for a ban on circumcision were focused on child rights and that the debate had not been related to religion.

“This isn’t something we plan to write a motion on,” said Lööf.

According to political observers, even if the party did end up submitting a motion to ban circumcision, it’s unlikely it would get far. In the lead-up to 2018’s election, both the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) and the Left Party told Sweden’s Jewish magazine Judisk Krönika they were in favour of an 18-year age limit on the procedure. No other party said it would support such a policy or any other kind of ban or restriction, although the Green Party described male circumcision as “problematic”.

round 20,000 Jews live in Sweden.

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