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Statement on Brit Milah for Iceland

To: The Honourable Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, Speaker of Althingi

From: Rabbi Dr. Rene Pfertzel, Chair, European Rabbinic Assembly

Date: 1 May 2018

RE: Referal of Proposed ban on ritual circumcision to Cabinet

The European Rabbinic Assembly (ERA), serving 170 Progressive Jewish communities in 17 European countries expresses its appreciation to Iceland’s legislature for dismissing the proposed ban on ritual circumcision, not bringing it to a floor vote.

We note the many Jewish and Muslim leaders and organisations that have spoken out against the bill, including the Icelandic Church and the Catholic Church in the European Union.

ERA applauds this decision which upholds the guarantees of the free and unfettered practice of religion enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, European Charter of Fundamental Rights and the laws of most European nations.

By refusing to consider the ban, preserving the right of Jews and Muslims to perform ritual circumcision, one of Jewish tradition’s most widely observed practices, Iceland sends a message of tolerance and protection of the rights of minorities.

We also appreciate the support of parents’ right of to decide what is in their child’s best interests, including taking into account deeply held religious and cultural values.

With appreciation,

Rabbi Dr. René Pfertzel

Chair, European Rabbinic Assembly

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