Exclusive: Denmark – Is there to be another assault on Jewish life? has frequently covered worrying developments in Denmark as part of its unique global approach. In April we reported on an Anti-Semitic attack on a Jewish deli. Back in February we questioned why 500 Muslim sympathizers decided to attend the funeral of 22-year-old Palestinian-born Omar EL-Hussein who carried out terror attacks on the streets of Copenhagen in Denmark, killing two innocent Danes.

In the latest disturbing twist there appears to be a growing momentum towards another attack on Jewish life, namely circumcision of boys.

Leading politicians having been adding their name against the religious practice. In September 2013, the then Deputy Prime Minister, Margrethe Vestager (from the Social Liberal Party), stated she was opposed to the circumcision of boys. However, in 2014 Camilla Hersom, the Group Secretary of Parliamentary Group on Health explained the party had agreed to follow a ‘middle ground’ policy:

“We are against the boy circumcision undertaken for cultural or religious reasons. We therefore urge the communities who practice it, to leave it. But we are not prepared to impose a ban. We believe that a ban at this stage would do more harm than good.”

Yet other Danish politicians have continued to press for a ban. Ida Auken, Member of Parliament and former Minister for the Environment (she also describes herself as a, “Young Global Leader”), has recently reignited the debate when she said, “Personally, I believe that it is difficult to argue that one should cut healthy male children.” There are other Danish parties, Unity List and the Liberal Alliance, who similarly call for a ban as part of their manifestos.

One of the potential attractions for politicians to jump on this bandwagon is that it appears to have significant public backing. In October 2014, the Danish publication Metro Express reported that a YouGov poll had found nearly three out of four Danes were in favour of a ban on the circumcision of boys.

74% supported a complete or partial ban when it is not for medical reasons, where only 10% were in favour of circumcision.

Naturally, a ban on circumcision for non-medical reasons would not only impact the Danish Jewish community but other religious groups who have it as part of their culture, including Muslims.

Danish community Rabbi Jair Melchior, in response to the YouGov poll, suggested, “The problem is that there are so many claims in the debate on circumcision of boys. If it was a health hazard, we would in the Jewish community be the first to stop. But it is not, he says.”

Another former Danish Government Minister Hans Chr. Schmidt perhaps best epitomises the concern has on this matter when he said, “We’re going to deal with this issue politically within a few years.” Namely, they are simply biding their time!


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