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      European Council Calls for Circumcision Ban

      The European Council calls circumcision of children a violation of human rights, calls for legal ban until age 15.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 10/3/2013, 11:18 AM

      "Brit Milah" Jewish circumcision ceremony
      "Brit Milah" Jewish circumcision ceremony
      Flash 90

      The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a pan-European group, has passed a resolution condemning circumcision of children as a violation of human rights, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports.

      The resolution passed with 78 in favor to just 13 against. Fifteen people abstained from the vote.

      Representatives called to ban “certain operations and practices…before a child is old enough to be consulted.” The age suggested for allowing circumcision was 15.

      The legal ban proposed would seriously impact Jewish communities, which practice circumcision of male infants at the age of eight days. Muslim communities, too, have the practice of circumcising boys, usually before the age of 10.

      Male circumcision is one of Judaism's most fundamental laws.

      The council did not issue an outright call to ban child circumcision completely, but called on European states to “initiate a public debate, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, aimed at reaching a large consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity according to human rights standards.”

      It called to clearly define “medical, sanitary and other conditions” to be insured during circumcision.

      The resolution covered not only the circumcision of young boys, but female genital mutilation, body piercing involving young children, and corporal punishment as well.

      According to the JTA, amendments were raised trying to remove references to male circumcision from the bill, but all were rejected. An amendment to remove a reference to “religious rights of parents and families” from the original resolution was accepted.

      A German court banned circumcision in 2012, leading to a joint Muslim-Jewish campaign to keep the practice legal.

      In May 2013, a Norwegian paper published an offensive cartoon comparing circumcision to child torture. The motifs used in the cartoon led to charges of anti-Semitism.

      Jews and Muslims in Europe have also faced campaigns against animal slaughter done in accordance with religious tradition. Poland has banned kosher slaughter,  and slaughter has come under attack in France and Holland as well.