US lawmakers urge Iceland to back down on circumcision ban

Senior Republican and Democrat congressmen team up to take on Iceland's proposed ban on circumcision.

JTA,

Ed Royce
Ed Royce
Reuters

JTA - The leading Republican and Democrat in the House on foreign policy joined to urge Iceland to stand down from a proposed bill to ban circumcision.

“While Jewish and Muslim populations in Iceland may be small, your country’s ban could be exploited by those who stoke xenophobia and anti-Semitism in countries with more diverse populations,” said the letter sent April 5 to the embassy of Iceland in Washington, D.C., by Reps. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., its top Democrat.

“As a partner nation, we urge your government to stop this intolerant bill from advancing any further,” said the letter, which was released to the public on Thursday by the Orthodox Union, a group that has spoken out against the proposed ban.

“While Iceland’s Jewish community may be one of the smallest in the world, the legislation to ban male circumcision looms as a large assault upon Jewish – and Muslim – religious freedom and practice,” Nathan Diament, the OU’s Washington director, said in a statement.

A bill that would ban circumcision is moving through Iceland’s parliament and has broad popular support.




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