The Icelandic parliament is currently considering a measure that would prohibit parents from having their male children circumcised. Noting that Iceland is not the first Western country to consider such a measure, Melanie Philips comments:
The Icelandic bill is drawing on increasing hostility within Europe to the practice [of circumcision]. In Britain, a survey by the National Secular Society indicates that some 62 percent want Britain to follow Iceland’s example. Nor is this the only attack on religious rites. There are also bans on ritual slaughter [of animals for food] in Denmark, New Zealand, Switzerland, and other European countries and jurisdictions.
Although these are attacks on Islam as well as on Judaism, they threaten Jewish religious life most of all. . . . Muslims are more flexible over ritual slaughter by allowing a measure of animal stunning which Jews cannot permit. Circumcision bans are most threatening of all to Jewish life because the circumcision of eight-day-old boys . . . is absolutely fundamental to Judaism. . . .
The secularists deny that their campaign against circumcision is anti-Jewish. Yet as one British commentator has observed, “some of the most virulent anti-Semitism on Twitter is obsessed with foreskins and pictures of demonic rabbis holding knives.”
The self-delusion of such campaigners is remarkable. In 2013, the leading Norwegian daily Dagbladet published a caricature of what appeared to be Jews torturing a baby during a circumcision. The cartoonist, Tomas Drefvelin, said he meant no criticism of either a specific religion or a nation but a general criticism of religions. . . .
Resistance to Islamist extremism in Britain and Europe has fueled a general climate of intolerance toward religion in general. There is now a widespread and growing view that distinctive practices marking out religious ways of life are equally divisive, threatening, or abhorrent. Yet at the same time such critics deny their target is religion.
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