Baby undergoes circumcision R 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The government of Norway will not ban the ritual circumcision of newborns,
Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende assured the Simon Wiesenthal Center in a
letter sent last week.
“The Norwegian government recognizes the
importance of ritual male circumcision for the Jewish community in Norway...
[and] it will not propose a ban on ritual circumcision,” the letter
Norway has sent mixed signals on the issue of circumcision in the
past, with Health Minister Bent Hoie announcing earlier this month that new
legislation on non-medical circumcision of boys under 18 will be introduced
before April 20.
Hoie’s announcement followed renewed calls by Norwegian
Children’s Ombudswoman Anne Lindboe to ban non-medical circumcision of minors
without their consent, which she said violates their rights.
Lindboe continued her anti-circumcision campaign, telling the Aftenposten
newspaper that Jews and Muslims would stop circumcising children if they learned
more about the risks and pain involved in the procedure.
information about risk, pain and lack of health benefits of the intervention, I
think parents from minorities would voluntarily abstain from circumcising
children,” she surmised.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center commended the
foreign minister for his statement, saying it hoped the letter would send “a
clear message to Dr. Anne Lindboe, Norway’s children’s ombudswoman and other
Norwegian figures who continue to publicly express their opposition to brit
While circumcision is still legal, ritual slaughter for the
purposes of producing kosher meat has been banned in Norway for years, the Simon
Wiesenthal Center noted in a statement regarding the Brende letter.
resolution passed by the by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
last month called male ritual circumcision a “violation of the physical
integrity of children,” prompting widespread condemnation from Jewish